An experiment in having local residents of Vancouver’s famous Downtown Eastside give guided walking tours generated enthusiastic response from guides and tour members. But the unusual tours also drew criticism from those who were unhappy that they had been put on display with no notice.
Organized by the Union Gospel Mission for Homelessness Action Week in the second week of October, the two-hour walking tours made 26 stops throughout the historic neighbourhood including Strathcona, Gastown, Chinatown, the Hastings Corridor, and the Oppenheimer Park area.
The idea was to create public awareness, help Vancouverites learn and understand Downtown Eastside’s community, and offer dignified employment to community members in an area too frequently known for its poverty, drug trade, and population of mentally ill and homeless people.
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