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On Living in One of the World’s Happiest Cities and Waiting for More Feet to Wash Ashore

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

Locals react to Vancouver being ranked one of world’s ‘happiest cities’. Hey, maybe it’s true. Maybe we’ve officially transitioned into a yuppie tech-bro utopia where everyone makes six figures, has a cabin in Robert’s Creek and a time-share in Sayulita. Maybe we’ve finally scrubbed the city of dirtbag hipsters whose only “job” is to play shitty music in East Van dive bars. Maybe everyone followed Grimes’ lead and got surgery to block out blue light. Maybe everyone’s happy because they’ve been stuck inside watching Rupaul’s Drag Race and haven’t had to actually interact with other Vancouverites. How else do you explain that only 3 years ago we were the unhappiest city in Canada unless we spiked the Capilano reservoir with molly?

Obviously, a huge reason everyone is so happy is that the price to buy a 2 bedroom apartment downtown is $312,076: Vancouver shockingly ranked world’s best city for young adults to buy property. It’s pretty funny when Daily Hive runs the same story but then quickly realizes that the survey probably got confused between us and Vancouver, Washington, never mind the fact that CIA Landlord is an insurance company for landowners.

Obviously, the sign of a healthy and happy city is robbing 10 year olds: Woman arrested for robbing and assaulting 10-year-old girl from Mexico for breakfast money in Vancouver’s Chinatown. These crimes of necessity are not only sensationalized by the media but so blatantly a symptom of acute inequality. If rents for most SROs hover around $900/mo and disability gives you $375/mo for rent, where do you think the other money is going to come from?

Vancouver is the happiest city in the world. Just don’t set up a tent outside the mayor’s apartment: Homeless tent quickly cleared from sidewalk in front of Vancouver mayor’s apartment. Ugh, don’t they know they are supposed to go to Camp KT in Strathcona Park, which isn’t supposed to be there either because it’s supposed to be at Crab Park, which isn’t supposed to be there either because the drumming upsets the condo owners on Water Street? Good god.

Nah, but it’s cool. We’re setting up tents throughout the city so dancers can spread “love and joy”. ‘Dance bubbles’ featured in downtown Vancouver through March. This is the future liberals want. It’s funny, I just wrote an adaptation of the Minority Report for my Dystopian Fiction class where Vancouver adopts the Precrime Program and the DTES is a Running Man-style murder zone to remind everyone why we must sacrifice our right to privacy and free will, and this is still more dystopian than anything I could imagine.

Vancouver is the happiest city, except when those damn uppity Indians start blocking our streets and we accidentally flash the Sieg Heil: Man who flashed Nazi salute at Indigenous protestors ‘truly sorry’. If your knee-jerk reaction is a nazi salute you were already a racist. But why is Bob protecting his identity? Surely Vancouverites would want to know if a man as reactionary as this was their neighbour. This is the power of insidious and internalized white supremacy. “Trust us, he emailed us and said he was sorry”. He should have to spend a fucking year in a reserve without running water with a $9.6 billion pipeline of the dirtiest oil in the world running through it while a Man Camp operates next to where his sisters and cousins keep disappearing.

This is us: Sikh doctor subjected to racist comments following B.C. newscast says it’s a ‘reality check’. “I am not sharing them because I am sad or upset. Unfortunately, we are conditioned to expect these. It has been part of my training since I started working in Australia and here. I just don’t want anyone to naively believe that Canada doesn’t have its problems…”

This is also Canada. Cops kick in your door. Chuck in flashbang grenades and blow up your Charter rights: Botched no-knock raids prompt calls to limit police tactic. Add “dynamic entry” to the list of Orwellian neologisms. For me, a dynamic entry is walking into a party wearing a Nutrl bucket hat carrying a bag of Golden Teachers and doing a death drop. Bam!

Most Black and Indigenous Students Want Police Out of Schools, Report Finds. One of the two cops that murdered Tony Du, within 30 seconds of responding to the call, is a school liaison officer. Enough said.

Vancouver police balk at budget freeze, request review of city council decision. Garth Mullins of Crackdown Podcast: “There’s no reforming police. Cops refuse democratic controls every time. Vancouver Police Board, acting on behalf of VPD, is seeking to overturn a budget, made by elected city council, with input from voters.”

Meanwhile, on average 5.3 people die from drug policy every day in BC and that number is increasing. Happiest city in the world, indeed! Record number of illicit drug overdoses in B.C. in January. You can’t talk about stigma without talking about policy:


Meanwhile: Money laundering whistleblower vanishes without a trace. How soon before another foot washes up on the beach?

Got ’em: Vancouver investment house suspends advisor charged with assault outside Kits pizza joint.

Satire of the day: OPINION: In retrospect Julie Payette was the perfect representative for the Royal Family.

Hockey of the day: How Nils Höglander’s jersey update saved the Canucks’ season.

Bonus: Adam Curtis Talks to Jacobin About Power, Politics, and His New Film.

There are 3 comments

  1. “crimes of necessity”? Wow. I read your columns because it’s better than reality TV — it’s hard to believe entitled people like you exist. Stop complaining and start making change happen. I don’t think you’d know where to start though.

  2. Re: Ross Alderson.
    You think he got a payoff or was he whacked? Or is it that the BC economy is so wholly dependent on illegal flows of money, that Anderson just moved back home because the Cullen Inquiry is just for show?

  3. As a side note, that Dystopian Fiction class is something I am gonna look into. Love me some of this here, Soft Dystopia.

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