It all began on June 21st, Aboriginal Day, when a late night two-alarm fire was alerted in Stanley Park. Someone had lit the ticket station for the parks miniature railway on fire- putting the whole park at risk of being burned down. Luckily, the park was saved, but two firefighers were sent to St. Paul’s hospital with minor injuries. The fire is suspected to be arson…
Then, there was a second fire on the night of June 26th. This time arsonists destroyed a Parks Board truck, damaged two other vehicles, and a tool shed. The damage was estimated at about $70,000. Once again, we were lucky that the park wasn’t burned down. Equally lucky is that the horses in the nearby RCMP stables weren’t damaged too.
I read another report of a fire someone posted about on Facebook this week- “My friends came across a fire in Stanley Park whilst on a walk on a Sunday morning about three weeks ago, the VPD were called and the flames extinguished”.
So, here we have three stories about fires in Stanley Park- what does this all mean? I’ve heard two schools of pondering on this. One speculates that the first fire was set by someone who is upset by what is happening in the Vancouver Parks Board. There’s a lot of upset how it appears they are on a path to commercializing the park (will we see a White Spot there soon?)
The other line of thought is that the first fire was connected to the Aboriginal Day celebrations. This one piqued my interest, because of a fire at Toronto’s High Park back in March.
High Park is a point of contention with the Aboriginal community. There is a struggle over the mounds at the south of the park where there is a claim that they are ancient burial ground. A group of people from the Six Nations reserve were camping out in the mounds that night. I was told by one of my sources that they burned-down the castle in the playground because it symbolised ‘burning down the Queen’s castle’.
Could the railroad station be a similar symbol against colonization?
Whoever is setting things alight in Stanley Park, they are incredibly irresponsible. It is summertime, and the park is most vulnerable to a serious fire. It could only take a small spark and the whole park could disappear. Not to mention all of the people living nearby in Vancouver’s West End who could end-up being hurt. Let’s hope they find them soon.
After researching this story, I am left with one more question. Considering Sara Blythe is the new Chairperson of the Vancouver Parks Board, why aren’t we hearing her in the press talking about this? All of the stories I’m finding are quoting Aaron Jasper, the Vice-Chair of the board. What’s up with that, are they afraid Sarah’s lack of experience will cause her to screw-up when talking with the press?
And, Sarah, I’m still waiting for an answer from you on the long-term solution you promised me for the Curtis Brick fountain. Are you ever going to resolve this issue, or should we first wait for another person to die of dehydration?