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How to Piss Off a Vancouverite

by Kate Siobhan Mulligan Mar 19, 2013
Call us sore losers.

So, we have a history of rioting. You’re all thinking of losing the cup to Boston in 2011, when cars were flipped and lit aflame, and the downtown core looked like a scene from The Walking Dead. There were also incidents in 1972, 1994, and 2002. You know what? Inside scoop: Being the polite Canadian all the time is hard. And sometimes you just need to fuck some shit up.

Two points. #1, the majority of people involved came in from the suburban cities around Vancouver. They weren’t flipping their own cars or messing up their own city because they’re not from Vancouver (see below). They all got escorted back to their outlying municipalities, while most of us who live here looked out our windows and thought “…wtf?” Which leads me to #2, what didn’t make many papers was the 5,000+ people — people who actually live here — who turned up the next day, brooms in hand, to clean up the city and scrawl hopeful messages on the boarded-up windows. Now that’s Vancouver.

Call us bad hockey fans.

Ok, listen. When the Canucks let us down, we let them know. Some call it “bitter” or “flip-flopping” or ” shallow.” It’s a love-hate relationship. Much like real relationships, not only is every single one different — thereby playing by different rules and different values — but like other relationships in your life, if you’re not in it, it’s none of your business. You deal with your hockey team, and let us deal with ours.

Refer to yourself as a ‘hipster’ OR make fun of ‘hipsters’ when you are one.

Referring to yourself or identifying yourself as a hipster is the ultimate way to reveal that you are in no way a hipster, but a poser. Equally annoying is making of fun of, or complaining about, hipsters while looking, acting, dressing, and whining just like one.

Not annoying: real artists, musicians, and change-makers, donning used clothing out of budget necessities (often in a fashionable way since, well, they are creative thinkers), and consuming Pabst Blue Ribbon because it’s cheap.

Annoying: rich kids moving to basements around the city and dressing like they’re homeless to be ironic OR paying top dollar for “vintage” clothes (which is ironic, in an annoying way), and drinking PBR because it’s cool.

Point out that it rains a lot.

Thanks. We didn’t notice. Nobody moves here for the rain. We move here (or stay here) for a million other awesome reasons. Side effects of rain include: proximity to an ocean, a mild climate, year-round greenery, snow-capped mountains, and lush, dense, ancient rainforests. Wow, that does sound pretty awful. Let’s all leave. But…you go first. Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you.

Ignore umbrella etiquette.

Umbrella etiquette comprises the following:

  1. Use a regular-sized umbrella. Pretty simple.
  2. When two (or two hundred) umbrellas are passing, the taller person should raise to make room for the smaller or shorter person.
  3. Do not take up room in a covered area if you have an umbrella.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings, do not hit others due to limited visibility, and while open and closing avoid taking out someone’s eye.
  5. Do not shake your umbrella off onto other people.
  6. When exiting a building or transit, or any doorway, do not stand in the door fumbling with your umbrella. It makes people behind want to put their umbrellas through your chest. Step into the rain for a split second and keep moving.
  7. While waiting at a crosswalk, offer shelter to the poor soul next to you, if just for a moment.
  8. NEVER place your wet umbrella on the seat next to you. That shit goes on the floor.

So to all who decide to tote an extra-large golf umbrella, charge down the street smacking people in the face with it while staring at your iPhone, shake it off in close proximity to others, and/or allow it to burst open in a small space (worst: on a bus) thus soaking all nearby — cut it out. And buy a fucking rain jacket already.

Ask us if we like ‘BC Bud.’

Nobody doesn’t like marijuana grown in this region. It’s potent and often organic if you have the right connections. It’s probably the best in the world. So yes, we like it. What we don’t like is people calling it ‘BC Bud.’ It’s called pot. Just pot. Also if you smoke it, smoke it in the province. We take no responsibility for you taking our pot somewhere you’re not allowed to smoke it.

And FYI, no, we don’t ALL smoke it. It’s decriminalized, not legalized (yet). More than that, actually, we’re just a healthy city and there’s more than enough people who simply refuse to inhale smoke, of any variety.

Smoke or litter in public.

We will stare judgmentally for as long as it takes for you to put out the cigarette and/or pick up that piece of trash. We’re an extremely healthy and eco-friendly city that doesn’t take kindly to open acts of either.

Say Nickelback is from Vancouver.

They’re not. Because they suck. And also because they’re from Alberta. Vancouver has a healthy and thriving indie music scene, though, helping put that “Pacific Northwest Sound” on the map, along with Seattle and Portland.

Ask us if we if do yoga.

Because the answer is yes. Or if not yoga, probably something else trendy. With such an enormous amount of outdoor activities waiting for us, and so many mild-to-warm months in which to do them (yes, sometimes in the rain), we gotta be in tip-top shape.

Complain about: the beaches, the traffic, the expense.

Listen, if you want your beaches with soft white sand and cliche turquoise waters, we ain’t stopping you from boarding the next flight out of here. However, if you’d like a dose of soaring mountains or a view of a hundred islands in the fading sun, then get a thicker towel, lie down on some pebbles, and shut up about it.

As for traffic, we admit, the traffic sucks. But it sucks for a reason. Did you know Vancouver has won awards for planning a city without a highway through it? So you’re not allowed to stroll through our stunning and highly walkable downtown peninsula and then complain about the traffic. You can’t have it both ways.

And yes, it’s an expensive city. But that’s like complaining too many people hit on your spouse because they’re so hot. It’s a gorgeous city in a beautiful setting with top-notch bars and restaurants, a thriving arts scene, and more. Guess what’s driving the cost? People, moving here, at any cost, because it’s so awesome. It’s a vicious cycle. Would you prefer it be less awesome? We wouldn’t.

Be a douchebag on a bike.

Actually, we don’t mean tourists here. In this one case, tourists actually get nervous of the traffic, as per above, and tend to stay in or very close to Stanley Park and the Seawall, inside their marked lanes, all neat and tidy. While they may look incredibly foolish on a tandem or triple bicycle, at the very least, they are out of our way.

However, back in the real city, a solution to all the traffic has been to introduce, and promote the use of, wide city bike lanes. We’ve given up entire lanes so that cyclists can have a neon-green safe zone to bike along. And what do many do in return? Swerve through traffic as they please, forgo hand signals, flip you off if you so much as move an inch while they do it.

Oh, and if you’re a hipster cyclist, that’s even worse: draped in plaid and lacking a helmet, on a single-speed vintage bike, with one hand and both eyes on their smart phone probably instagraming their bike basket — literally cruising through life with not an ounce of concern for anything around them.

Rollerblade the Seawall when you don’t know how to do it.

The ’90s are alive and well in Vancouver, and nowhere is this more obvious than when beautiful people don neon rollerblades and cruise along the Seawall, kneepads and all. Those people aren’t annoying, per se, so long as they’re good at it. But it’s the tourists, the tourists who decided today — today of all days — will be the day they learn to rollerblade so as to partake in this city’s (now retro) tradition.

The result is tourists on wheels rolling into everyone and everything, hunched over in fear, with no idea how to stop, wreaking havoc on a path that drops precariously into the ocean or onto jagged rocks at many bends. If you don’t know how, do NOT start here. End of story.

Call it ‘No-Fun Couver.’

We hear a lot that our nightlife sucks. You know what sucks? People going out with the attitude that the nightlife sucks. Or people who refuse to take the extra nine seconds it takes to google something more specific than “vancouver nightlife.” If you’re not going to do a little digging, or (god forbid) ask a local, or check out sites like, then stay home. You’ll miss out on underground pubs, standing-room-only micro and nano breweries, cask nights, indie music, whiskey tasting, hipster dance parties, poutine at 2am, and other secrets of the night.

Is it a raging European rave? No. Is it an uber-exclusive New York invite-only hot-list thing? Nope. Is it a place for “after hour” bars that open at 8am until lunch, a la Buenos Aires? Nada. But the bottom line is that if you think the nightlife sucks, it’s your own fault.

Say you’re ‘from Vancouver’ when you’re not.

Moving here, buying some Lululemon pants, and getting seen at 49th Parallel does not a Vancouverite make. We see hoards of people stroll in every year, stay for a few years, and then return to wherever they’re really from. Until you’re willing to stop complaining about the rising cost of living, low pay, and (especially) the rain, and begin to invest time and effort into city solutions for fewer cars, more bikes, less homelessness, more low-income homes, fewer condos and more gardens, affordable education and healthcare, and other issues surrounding living in Vancouver permanently, then you’re just visiting.

Call us snobs.

Well, based on the above we can see how this is true. Okay, it is true. We’re beautiful people living in a beautiful city. We have impeccable taste and high standards. So sue us.

Say the people are mean.

Probably because you just spent 10 minutes busting out all of the above stereotypes and we’re late for yoga on the beach.

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