How the 1971 Gastown Riot Came to Be

Written by Matteo Miceli Vancouver in the late 1960s was going through a dramatic social change. There was a growing rift between the city’s youth and those in power. The hippie counterculture had migrated north over the border and become a prominent lifestyle choice among many of the city’s youth.

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Gastown Riots Vancouver Police Museum

The Gastown Riots of 1971

While the gathering began “peacefully,” no one could anticipate the violence that followed. On August 7th, 1971, Vancouver’s Yippie Party and writers from The Georgia Straight organized a pro-marijuana “smoke-in” at Maple Tree Square to oppose Vancouver drug policies. Thousands of supporters gathered in the Gastown district, dancing in the

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