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Word up: A look back at Vancouver's 2013 in quotes

Protests, election surprises, whale porn, interesting developments, park board brouhahas

From community outrage to agile rabbits, the past 12 months in Vancouver were as colourful as they were quirky. We’ve selected the best comments from the past 12 months of the Vancouver Courier to present who said what about the most prominent news, community, entertainment and sports stories of the year.


I don’t think it’s fully hit me, yet. We’ve been sitting in that hot little room [at a nearby restaurant] watching the numbers come in for so long. It’s been intense.
— NDP candidate David Eby, standing in his campaign office on Broadway moments after learning he beat Premier Christy Clark in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey in the May 14 provincial election.


I want to feel healthy and I am working on it each day. I have the scars that forever remind me of my suicidal path. I have memories of pride, memories of death and memories of how it was before my injuries. It’s hard on me. Almost every day, I break down in tears.
— Afghanistan veteran Mike Pehlivanian.


Anybody in the medical profession or policing or anywhere who dares to say anything that’s less than supportive, you’re widely criticized and they attack your credibility and accuse you of all kinds of terrible things.
—Vancouver Police Union president Tom Stamatakis on his doubts about researchers’ reports that show the Insite supervised injection site is doing some good for drug users.

The draconian, Machiavellian manoeuvres emerging from Stephen Harper’s office have been able to prevent implementation of these types of programs across the country at the cost of many lives that, ultimately, they are responsible for.
— Dr. Julio Montaner of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS on the Harper government’s criticism of the Insite supervised injection site.


Maybe we should go back to empowering staff in the departments to be able to communicate quickly when questions arise. It keeps the politics away from the issues that I think are important.
— NPA Coun. George Affleck, while introducing a motion to have staff look into restrictive communication policies introduced by city manager Penny Ballem that many reporters complain make their jobs much more difficult.


[We] expressed our interests and concerns about a transit corridor. We’re powerless in it anyway. If TransLink decides they’re going to do it and they get the funds, the city’s all for it because they hate cars and they could probably tag some bike lanes along up the hill.
— Michael McBride, owner of the 25-year-old Michael McBride Menswear at 4426 West 10th Ave., about rapid transit to the University of B.C.


The people at this school have really given me a lot of confidence and courage and hope is the big one there, just by accepting me for who I was and encouraging me that it’s OK to express myself in any way that I feel is myself.
— Theo Cultum, Total Ed alternative school graduate and the Vancouver school district’s first openly transgender valedictorian.

Hearing her walk up to other kids and asking, “What nation are you?” At six years old... that’s really huge.
— Naomi Walser, who enrolled her five-year-old daughter Elora Waardenburg in the Vancouver School Board’s new aboriginal focus school last year when they moved from Burnaby to Vancouver. Walser is originally from the Beausoleil Nation near Georgian Bay in Ontario.


I get a life no trouble. All the people no fight, all the friendship, how good, how excellent.
— Tony Fung, who co-owns and staffs Master Chef Cafe on East Hastings Street near Nanaimo with his wife, May. Both are in their 80s.


Now if you want to go to the Pumpkin Patch, Aquarium, it doesn’t really matter where you go, nothing’s free anymore, nothing’s really relatively inexpensive.
— Brad Leith, co-founder and co-organizer of the Dunbar Haunted House that was by donation in the beginning and raised money for charities later on.


It was almost like a psychedelic city of glass in front of a big mountain. You go over the water and see this dense, dense downtown of green glass towers with wide mullions. It was very, very futuristic. One of the things that still amazes me when you come to Vancouver is everything looks brand new, like you have the feeling that it’s done 10 years ago.
— Internationally known Danish architect Bjarke Ingels on his impression of Vancouver’s skyline when he first visited in 2004


We will not stop until we are free from class, the state and all others who oppress us.
— Anonymous, while claiming responsibility for breaking the windows of a Commercial Drive pizzeria on the website


It seemed logical to make a much larger group because every neighbourhood seemed to be having the same trouble and that’s proven to be the case. They came together very quickly… it’s strength in numbers and I think it’s to try to explain to the council that their relationship with the neighbourhoods has simply failed for a number of years, but certainly this summer. It’s going to be more difficult for them to try and divide and conquer — picking off one neighbourhood after another. We will be working together, making sure that we act as a group.
— Jak King, president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council and a spokesman for Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, which is comprised of 18 residents groups that want to influence city planning, Oct. 24.


It just kind of exploded. And every time we think we’ve hit the peak, there’s another level, and I think The Colbert Report was our climax.
— Vancouver Maritime Museum curator Patricia Owen on the media attention surrounding a patron’s online complaints about so-called “whale porn” at the museum’s Tattoos & Scrimshaw exhibit.


To be clear, this decision will not be reversed.
—Vision Vancouver park board vice-chair Aaron Jasper on a controversial decision to construct a 12-foot-wide, paved bike path through Kits and Hadden Beach parks.

The park board says this was one of the largest consultations ever done. This was nothing compared to other consultations over much less problematic issues.
—Lynne Kent, a member of the Kits Point Residents Association, regarding the public consultation prior to the park board approving a paved bike bath through Kits and Hadden Beach parks.

Essentially the plaintiffs want to keep doing what they’ve been doing for decades. They have suffered irreparable harm and are worried about losing potential members. People come in, see signs for the OneCard and nothing about membership.
—Lawyer David McWhinnie while addressing the Supreme Court of B.C. in a case against the park board brought forward by Hillcrest, Killarney, Hastings, Kerrisdale, Kensington and Sunset community centre associations.

Sixteen associations have agreed to the implementation of the OneCard and, in my submission, that is relevant to the plaintiffs’ argument that somehow the implementation of the OneCard will be the death knell for community associations across the city and would cause them irreparable harm. The fact that all the other community associations seem to be OK with it would suggest it is not particularly harmful to them.
—Ben Parkin, assistant director of general litigation for the City of Vancouver while addressing the Supreme Court of B.C.


Obviously this is something that is up to the restaurants themselves but if they are carding 80-year-olds, that seems kind of goofy.
— Sandra Steilo, a spokesperson for the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, responding to news that restaurants are starting to ID customers regardless of age in response to the government hiring underage workers and sending them into bars and restaurants.

The vast majority of British Columbians want to see a change to the marijuana laws and don’t want to see their taxpayer dollars going towards arresting and convicting people for possession but our politicians in B.C. aren’t responding to the people on this issue.
— Drug reform activist Dana Larsen, on Day 1 of an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to sign up at least 360,000 people — or 10  per cent of voters from all 85 electoral ridings — asking Elections B.C. to put the questions of legalization to a provincial referendum.

That’s the thing about donairs. Just when you think it can’t get any better, you’re like hmmm, what if it had a little pineapple on top, or this and that. There’s a lot of donair shops out there. It’s kind of like The Littlest Hobo, you know. There’s a donair shop just around the bend — am I right?
— Former professional wrestler and self-described donair connoisseur the Honky Tonk Kid on his endless search for the perfect donair.

It’s really more of a nudie erotica film that’s also hardcore — it’s got hardcore — but more often than not it’s got a bunch of nudity and skits. Then there’s a girl who does an interpretive dance with a gorilla. It’s got someone in a gorilla costume, so that tells you a lot right there.
— Self-described “porn archeologist” Dimitrios Otis on the locally shot adult horror film Sexcula, which had been gathering dust in the Canada Archives since it was shot in 1973.


Strikers think they’re cocky with their flashy, mercury cleats. I got my black, plain boots that I buy in bulk for 30 bucks each  and I’m going to shut them down.
— Provincial team soccer player and centre defender Kathryn Baker on the cusp of graduating from Kitsilano secondary to play for the Oregon State Beavers.

They’re not great athletes because I’m a great coach. They made me want to be a better coach.
— Speaking about the athletes on the Killarney secondary cross-country team, Bob Solmes, who was named the 2013 B.C. School Sports male coach of the year.

Whenever I see someone I know, I always want to beat them and they always want to beat me. If that means getting physical, getting up in his face, then we’ll see what happens.
— Vancouver College linebacker Andrew Pauls, one of a record eight graduates attending university to play football, on playing against his former teammates.

Soccer is not just about soccer.
— UBC women’s soccer coach, Andrea Neil, on developing the program and well-rounded student-athletes after she was hired in January. 


Mista Muggins was a true co-worker that understood the dynamics of the job. He was the best worker. He never got burned out and he never had to call me at 3 a.m.
—New Fountain co-manager Zoran Barazanci on the death of Mista Muggins, a stray orange tabby cat considered the mascot of the homeless shelter prior to its death in March.

We started it because we wanted to show that rabbits aren’t just things that sit in cages… They’re kind of like little horses.
—Olga Betts, Vancouver Rabbit Agility Club.


That’s going to be one of the hardest things for the community — to see somebody else driving the bus is going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people.
— Musqueam Indian Band Chief Wayne Sparrow on the death of former chief, Ernie Campbell, who drove kids to school on his bus for 40 years.

It’s a sad, sad story for him. It was like a war for him every day.
— Jean Hakizimana, a former political refugee from Rwanda who operates the Neighbourhood Care International Association, on the death of former Downtown Eastside resident John Salilar.

I always hoped that he was married somewhere and he had a life. To hear he was homeless was hard. And having to identify his body was the most horrible thing I’ve ever had to do.
—  Louise Wilson on the death of her brother, Rick Hofs, who died homeless behind a dollar store in Marpole.