2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot
Smoke Over Vancouver
Smoke billowing from fires in downtown Vancouver during the riot
Date June 15, 2011 (2011-06-15)
Time 7:45 p.m - 12:00 a.m. (PDT)[1]
Location Downtown Vancouver
Also known as Vancouver riots[2]
Reported injuries 140 (1 critically injured, 3 seriously)[3]
Reported death(s) 0
Reported property damage $5 million CAD (Estimated)[4]

The 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot was a public disturbance that broke out in the downtown core of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The riots happened immediately after the conclusion of the Boston Bruins' win over the Vancouver Canucks in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, which won the Stanley Cup for Boston. At least 140 people were reported as injured during the incident, one critically; at least four people were stabbed, nine police officers were injured, and 101 people were arrested that night, with 16 further arrests following the event.[3][5]


City organizers had set up a two-block long fan zone on six-lane Georgia Street near the Rogers Arena. Two big screen TVs were set up for fans to watch the game. Temporary fences and gates were set up to provide checkpoints where police could control access to the area and check for alcohol (which police generally poured out when found). Following recommendations stemming from the 1994 riot, all liquor stores in the area were closed earlier in the day. Crowds had been generally well-behaved in the fan zone for the previous six games, with roughly 70,000 attending each event. Similar though smaller events had been very successful during the 2010 Winter Olympics. For the final game, an estimated 100,000 people crowded into the area, and people found ways to enter the zone without being checked for alcohol. Planned corridors to allow movement of emergency vehicles became impassable.


Riot in Vancouver

A rioter cheers on while a car burns surrounded by a large crowd

The riot began to take shape as the game came to a close at 7:45 pm, with some spectators throwing bottles and other objects at the large screens in the viewing area.[1] Boston Bruins flags and Canuck jerseys were set afire, and soon some rioters overturned a vehicle in front of the main Canada Post headquarters.[1] According to one eyewitness, a group who was heard chanting "Let's go riot, let's go riot" as early as the first period of the game were among those responsible for flipping the first car.[6] Fist fights broke out when people standing on porta-potties fell when others tipped the porta-potties over. People began jumping on the car that had been first overturned, and then it was set afire. With a crowd of onlookers chanting "burn the truck", a second vehicle in the same area was lit. Firemen were able to put it out,[7] but the truck was again set afire after it was overturned. In a nearby parking lot, two Vancouver Police squad cars were later also set on fire.[8][9][10][11] In total, 17 cars were burned, including police cars. Windows were smashed in a bank and various businesses along the West Georgia corridor, some of which were also looted. Riot police eventually managed to push the rioters away from Georgia, onto Granville Street and Robson Street, where the rioters then caused further substantial damage, breaking the windows of several shops and looting, including a Future Shop, a Sears and a Chapters bookstore. One man was sent to hospital in critical condition after he attempted to jump from the Georgia Viaduct onto another platform and fell.[12] Several hundred theatergoers were attempting to leave after a showing of the Broadway musical Wicked but were trapped and remained inside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which was situated in the riot zone.[13][14] Transit authorities diverted or halted bus routes normally running through the affected area, and police closed bridge lanes into the city so that people could leave the area but further arrivals were restricted. By midnight, the majority of the crowd had dispersed. The Vancouver Police Department made 101 arrests during the riot. 85 people were arrested for breach of peace, eight for public intoxication and eight for breaking and entering, assault or theft.[15]


Riot aftermath Vancouver

A car overturned and set aflame on the street during the riot


Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson attributed the situation to "a small group of troublemakers".[16] Vancouver Police Department chief Jim Chu said that instigators appeared to be some of the same individuals involved in a protest on the opening day of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and that they came equipped with eye protection, gasoline and other tools. He called them "criminals and anarchists" who disguised themselves as fans.[16][17] The idea that anarchists were involved in the violence was rejected by UBC political science professor Glen Coulthard, and others in a Vancouver Sun article on June 24. "That this gets tagged as anarchist activity is just more of an assumption or bias that has been around for a long time," said Coulthard. "Anarchists are a convenient scapegoat for the police to deflect responsibility for what happened," said another commentator.[18] One critic indicated that authorities had made several mistakes in the planning for the crowd - among them allowing parked cars near the screens and leaving newspaper boxes nearby which could be used as projectiles.[19]


After the riot, thousands of volunteers had organized on social media sites such as Facebook to clean up the damage. The volunteers, many taking a day off work, had stated that they went downtown to clean up the damage to " that not all Canucks fans are like that".[20] Streets were reportedly clean by 10 am, with volunteers having shown up with brooms and dustpans to clean the city. Boarded up windows were covered in apologies and defences of the city's reputation. In response, the Hudson's Bay Company, a major retailer in the area, hosted a free pancake breakfast in thanks.

Criminal prosecutionEdit

An investigation team of thirty-plus VPD, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, special prosecutors and municipal officers was initially set up to investigate individuals of interest who had been seen looting stores, vandalizing buildings and setting fire to cars during the riot.[21] Several participants in the riots have turned themselves in to police after their faces were broadcast on TV,[21] including the person responsible for setting the first car afire. More than 1,000,000 photos and 1,200 - 1,600 hours of video recorded by citizens have been sent to the Vancouver Police Department as evidence.[22][23][24] As of September 2, 2011, no further arrests have been made, and no charges have been laid. [25][26]

Social mediaEdit

Many participants in the riot stood and posed for photographs, with some even posting the photos on their own social media accounts. Photos and videos were also taken by onlookers intent on documenting the riot. In the aftermath, those photos and videos were used by many local people outraged by the riot, in an effort to tag and identify rioters and looters on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites, and to provide additional information to police for prosecution.[27] Community participation in assisting police to identify the rioters has been described as unprecedented,[28] and police admitted to being overwhelmed by the amount of evidence provided.[29] While riot instigators were described by police as a small group of anarchists, the collected photographs and videos revealed that many participants were not connected and had never been arrested before.[5][30] Online shaming campaigns resulted in some riot participants being fired from their jobs and removed from athletic teams. In some cases, violence was threatened against those identified as rioters, prompting one family to flee its home,[31] and others to express concern about the potential of mob mentality online.[32] The Vancouver Police Department appealed to citizens, online and otherwise, not to engage in acts of vigilante justice.[33]

Financial lossesEdit

CBC News reported that the destruction caused by the rioters was worse than the riot that followed the Canucks loss in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, particularly the looting aspect. Early estimates suggested the losses due to vandalism, theft, and damage to property to far exceed $4 million.[4] Several large-scale stores including London Drugs, The Bay, Sears Canada and Future Shop were among many that were looted.[34]


A report released 1 September 2011 says that a major contributor to the riot was that Vancouver police underestimated the number of people who would attend the event in the downtown area. The number of people was estimated at 155,000. Once the crowd became unruly, the police's communications systems failed, leading to a loss of control of the situation by civil authorities.

Media coverageEdit

The riots sparked intense media coverage and attention on the local, national, and international level. Local media coverage of the riots began almost immediately after the game ended, with the local CBC, CTV and Global BC stations all running news coverage of the riots, with CTV and CBC doing so from studios located in downtown Vancouver itself.[35][36] CBC News Network started running live coverage in conjunction with its nationally broadcast evening news show The National, with one reporter calling in her reports from inside the riot.[37]

Prominent publications such as the The Atlantic, The Guardian, The New York Times and USA Today ran editorials critical of the riots and those who participated in them, as well as the city, marking the stark contrast between the Stanley Cup playoffs and the 2010 Winter Olympics.[38]

A photograph of a young couple kissing in the empty street between rioters and police quickly went viral and has become an iconic image of the riots.[39] While it was initially suspected the photo was staged, video and photo evidence revealed that the woman in the shot had been knocked down by police and her boyfriend was comforting her.[40]

See also Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 CTV British Columbia - From bad to brutal: Timeline of a riot - CTV News. (2007-12-31). Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  2. CBC – Fri, Jun 17, 2011. Vancouver riots' kissing duo are Australian, Canadian - Yahoo! News. Retrieved on 2011-06-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Posted: Jun 16, 2011 10:59 AM ET. "A tale of two riots Comparing the 1994 and 2011 Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver CBC June 16, 2011",, 1994-06-14. Retrieved on 2011-06-16. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bailey, Ian. "Bill for damages to be much higher than for the 1994 Vancouver riot", Globe and Mail, 2011-06-20. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 'Anarchists' not the only rioters: Vancouver police. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  6. Kennedy, Jennifer. "Who's to blame for the riots?", 2011-06-18, p. A25. Retrieved on 2011-06-18. 
  7. "Vancouver riots timeline", The Globe and Mail, 2011-06-16. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  8. "Downtown Vancouver rocked by Stanley Cup post-game riot", June 16, 2011. Retrieved on June 16, 2011. 
  9. "Angry Canucks fans set cars ablaze, fling bottles after loss", Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, June 16, 2011. Retrieved on June 16, 2011. 
  10. Meiszner, Peter (June 15, 2011). Chaos in downtown Vancouver after losing Stanley Cup. Global News. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  11. Austin, Ian; Cooper, Sam; Douziech, Sarah; Chan, Cheryl (June 15, 2011). Car flipped over and torched near Canada Post building. The Province. Retrieved on June 16, 2011.
  12. Fournier, Suzanne (2010-11-30). St. Paul's ER swamped by injured. Retrieved on 2011-06-18.
  13. Canada. "Bystanders share experiences of Vancouver riots after Stanley Cup loss", The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2011-06-17. 
  14. Gold, Kerry. "Singer Bublé launches ad campaign to identify rioters",, 2011-06-17. Retrieved on June 18, 2011. 
  15. "Vancouver police arrest more than 100 in riot Damage to shops and streets to cost millions", CBC News, 2011-06-16. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Vancouver police arrest nearly 100 in riot",, CBC News, 2011-06-16. Retrieved on June 16, 2011. 
  17. By the CNN Wire Staff. "Vancouver police blame Stanley Cup riots on anarchists CNN June 16, 2011",, 2011-06-17. Retrieved on 2011-06-16. 
  18. Law, Stephanie (June 24, 2011). Don't blame the anarchists, UBC professor says. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved on: 2011-07-04.
  19. Boesvald, Sarah (2011-06-18). Vancouver Riot: Police made mistakes, says author report on 1994 mayhem. Retrieved on June 18, 2011.
  20. Jenny Uechi (2011-05-27). Vancouver riot clean up brings locals and non-locals together. The Vancouver Observer. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Scallan, Niamh (2011-06-17). Six rioters turn themselves in, police upping investigation team. Retrieved on June 18, 2011.
  22. Posted: Jun 19, 2011 2:53 PM PT. "More than 1M riot photos sent to police - British Columbia - CBC News",, 2011-06-19. Retrieved on 2011-06-20. 
  23. Riot Investigation- Fact Sheet. Vancouver Police Department (2011-06-20). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  24. Stanley Cup riot charges may take another two months. Vancouver Courier (2011-07-11). Retrieved on 2011-07-11.
  25. No arrests in Vancouver riot sends 'bad message'. (2011-08-10). Retrieved on 2011-09-03.
  26. Associated Press, "Police radio problems, alcohol among factors in Vancouver riots: report", Japan Times, 3 September 2011, p. 6.
  27. Brenda Bouw. "Faces in the mob seek forgiveness after Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots", The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2011-06-20. 
  28. "Vancouver riots 2011: Crown to look at potential charges", Global News, 2011-06-20. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  29. ""Police overwhelmed by social media evidence"", CBC News, 2011-06-20. Retrieved on 2011-06-20. 
  30. Mason, Gary. "The sad, painful truth about the Vancouver rioters’ true identities", Globe and Mail, 2011-06-17. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  31. Dave Dormer. Family of high-profile rioter flees home. Toronto Sun. Retrieved on 2011-06-20.
  32. Ryan, Denise. "Rioting teen Nathan Kotylak and family face backlash, forced to leave home", Vancouver Sun, 2011-06-20. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  33. "VPD Statement", Vancouver Police Department, 2011-06-20. Retrieved on 2011-06-21. 
  34. Hager, Mike. Anatomy Of A Riot. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  35. "Cup proves to be ratings winner for CBC, NBC", The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2011-06-17. 
  36. Meiszner, Peter (2011-06-16). Chaos erupts in downtown Vancouver after losing Stanley Cup. Retrieved on June 18, 2011. “Several Global BC cameramen were injured in the riot, and camera equipment and vehicles were either damaged or destroyed.”
  37. Strachan, Alex (2011-06-16). Spin this, Vancouver! Riots after the Canucks's Wednesday-night loss exposed city's ugly underbelly. Retrieved on June 18, 2011.
  38. By Medha, Vancouver Sun June 17, 2011. Chaos attracts international attention, and leaves city with black eye. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  39. "Vancouver riots: A kiss amid the chaos?", BBC News, 2011-06-17. Retrieved on 2011-06-18. 
  40. Fond, Petti. "Woman in kissing couple photo was knocked down by police",, 2011-06-17. Retrieved on June 18, 2011. 

External links Edit

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