FIFA Will Show the World Vancouver’s UGLY Side: Starting As Soon as They Exit YVR

Vancouver municipal, regional, provincial and federal politicians, travelling locals, cheerleading tourist industry officials and the BC media (including this sometimes audacious blogger) love to tell the world how beautiful Vancouver International Airport is inside.

Wonderful sculptures, beautiful native art, a winding path through scenes of BC nature … complete with a welcoming waterfall and birds chirping.

YVR is, indeed, one of the most attractive airports I have ever travelled through in North America, Europe, Asia, South América.


If only we could keep INSIDE the tens of thousands of visitors and media who will be coming to Vancouver for the FIFA World Cup Games in 2026!

Because OUTSIDE, visiting Vancouver now has UGLINESS that reveals itself immediately to many, as soon as they exit YVR … and seek a taxi.

I witnessed that Saturday night, after arriving on a flight from Toronto at 10:30 p.m.

Now, for those who may not be aware, Saturday nights (and Tuesdays) are regarded as the lightest travel times of the week. Not nearly as busy or challenging as flying Thursday, Friday or Sunday.

Yet, there they were, at 11 p.m. Saturday evening, outside YVR’s domestic arrivals terminal … HUNDREDS of weary, exasperated, unhappy travelers, some in wheelchairs, many with small children …. stuck in a line that stretched back half the distance of the terminal’s length, waiting up to an hour or more, as a mere trickle of arriving taxis tried to cope with the tired, frustrated, some-angry crowd … clearly having a miserable YVR experience .

With two RCMP officers standing by to keep the peace (line-cutters lurk everywhere).

Luckily, it was not raining!!

Welcome World … to Vancouver!

And remember, this was a pretty normal Saturday night: not Christmas, New Years, Easter break or Thanksgiving. Many in line seemed to be cruise ship passengers or tourists who came to BC to enjoy themselves …. but after hours of air travel couldn’t even get to their hotels from YVR without enduring athis horrible “welcome”.

Just think the numbers that FIFA will bring! Not just surrounding the dates of any games, but for months before, adding into the mix all the people involved in planning, organizing events, promotions, tours, media centre setups, and all kinds of other activities that take place when a city hosts a “World” event.

Now think soccer fans.

When the soccer fans arrive, if nothing improves, the RCMP will need reinforcements (the army?) … just to handle the rampaging chaos at YVR’s taxi lineup! Not to mention downtown.

And this is not a NEW phenomenon at YVR.

Many, many times on arriving home, I have witnessed YVR’s sub-standard taxi services compared to other “world” class cities and the problem here is getting worse, not better. Even with UBER and the Skytrain.

The good news: more and more people are using taxis rather than driving after drinking; more tourists are now travelling again to BC, domestically and internationally; the cruise ships are back, depositing thousands of spending visitors; and, the Lower Mainland’s population is continuing to grow, enlarging the taxi industry’s potential customer base.

The bad news: the City and Province have FAILED to adequately take on Vancouver’s taxi lobby and provide modern-day taxi services in the city.

Vancouver is not ready for prime time … or FIFA.

We clearly need another THOUSAND taxis … licensed regionally, so each can pick up in ANY Lower Mainland municipality, and not have to head back empty after dropping customers in a neighbouring municipality … denying people rides and wasting so much energy. And freeing up enough taxis to serve Vancouver residents, downtown hotels, restaurants, theatres, stadiums, and bars … and YVR.

BC’s media may ignore the nightly (daytime too?) disgrace at YVR … but the world media will not!

They … especially those from the UK and Europe that provide no-holds-barred coverage … will savage Vancouver on what they see/experience here … well beyond just covering FIFA as a sporting event.

And their audience is HUGE!!

This is from the BC Government’s own Press Release last week:

“This is the first time that FIFA Men’s World Cup matches will be played on Canadian soil, and the tournament is watched by billions of people around the world. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to support the tourism sector, put the global spotlight on British Columbia and inspire the next generation of players.

““We’re not hosting the largest ever World Cup just for kicks. British Columbians will enjoy an economic boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors that will be felt for years to come. We look forward to welcoming the global soccer community to our province,” said Premier John Horgan.

Wait till the world media get to “experience” the taxi lines at YVR!

And then focus their cameras on what our City Council and NDP Provincial Government have done to the city since the 2010 Winter Olymics!

Hastings Street …and Granville Street … right up to the Granville Bridge will be getting LOTS of world media attention. Probably Davie Street and Robson Street by 2026 as well … given the way City Council and Horgan’s government have aided and abetted the SPREAD of the deterioration, the destruction, the crime, the violence, the ugliness that now pervades Vancouver’s downtown.

As the Premier said “billions of people” will be looking at Vancouver.

The Vancouver that the world will see during FIFA will be at lot different from the city we showed off at Expo 1986 and even the 2010 Olympics … such is the extent/rapidity of the decline since then.

But perhaps we’ll get lucky: maybe the world media will get stuck at YVR, unable to get cabs to make it into the downtown for days … just in time to rush directly to BC Place stadium for a game … unable to see what we have done to our city since they were last here.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts to all new postings on this BC based Blog.)

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15 Responses to FIFA Will Show the World Vancouver’s UGLY Side: Starting As Soon as They Exit YVR

  1. D. M. Johnston says:

    I see Vancouver’s booster class is at it again, trying ever so hard to make Vancouver a “world class” city, without defining what “world class” is.

    Well “world class” in my book means the “Vancouver Model of Money Laundering”, which is being given the whitewash by the present government.

    “World class” definitively isn’t a $3 billion subway that goes nowhere in particular and is being built to pretend Vancouver is “world class”, because subways instantly make cities “world class” or so the the booster class would have us believe.

    A “world class” embarrassment aptly describes the DTES, which tentacles of addiction, despair, squalor and hopelessness is slowly engulfing the city.

    Corruption in metro Vancouver can be described as “world class”, but the mainstream media shy away from that topic.

    Then there are sporting events, which are considered “world class”, but in my book the only “world class”, with this is the “world class” rubes shelling out thousands of dollars to watch a game best arched on TV.

    So FIFA is coming to town and will anoint Vancouver with 5 or 6 games, to give the booster class something to cheer about, but, what about the homeless, the destitute, those who are going hungry?

    Well all “world class” cities have these problems so don’t worry, be happy and watch the damn game and pretend we are all “world class”.

    It is a sad note, that our politicians are so blind that they cannot or refuse to see the evil emerging from the DTES and tarting up this fading once great city with football games will do nothing but escalate the impoverished, just as Expo 86 and the Olympics did before. It is all “eye candy” for the uncaring.

    (Response: We still don’t know the TRUE or FULL costs of holding the FIFA games here …not just capital costs, but operating and policing costs. Perhaps it would be a good investment, IF it generates tax revenues, tourism, businesses, jobs and even future investment. (There go the housing prices again?) But the damage could also be horrible: once the world gets a look at all the permissive Vancouver City/Province policies that allow (even encourage) druggies to shoot up openly, do drug deals, go crazy and assault tourists and locals … oe commit all kinds of crimes to finance their habits, all without any real consequences. h.o)

  2. r says:

    Even Snoop dog complained on abot yvr open drug use

  3. e.a.f. foster says:

    B.C. will do what it has done during previous “world class” events such as expo 86 and the Os. They’ll “export” the people who they won’t want on camera to other parts of the province. some areas on Vancouver Island still talk about that.

    Harvey, the problems you listed have been with us for decades through all sorts of governments. This isn’t’ just a “Horgan” problem. Its been a problem for all premiers during “events”. Its just nothing has ever really been done about it, except for shipping people out of the city.

    Why do we have these problems? Because no government wants to really tackle the problem. Why don’t governments want to tackle the problem? Because they might have to raise taxes. Right now the government since it was first elected focused on schools and hospitals. that is what they got elected on. Now if you want voters to choose between drug addicts and schools and hospitals, you know what they will choose every time, because most people don’t go into Vancouver any more and they’re more interested in their own families then people living on the street.

    I know you and others aren’t happy about the hotels the current government have ourchased putting a lot of people with a lot of problems in one area. I agree. Howver the question is: where do these people go if not where they are. Those hotels were cheap to purchase and it kept people from dying on the streets in the cold. That really doesn’t look good.

    Horgan isn’t responsible for the lack of taxis at VIA. That is an airport issue. Its also a business issue. Taxi drivers have to sleep some time and they choose to do it at night. So who is going to force them to work when they don’t want to. Slavery has been over for some time now. It also isn’t the most lucrative job out there. Working conditions aren’t great either.

    When I used to travel for work, yes I worked once upon a time, when I arrived at some airports, even very late at night, there were airport bus services. You paid, got on and they dropped you off at your hotel. easy, clean, fast, inexpensive. When I got back to Vancouver always found a limo to take me home. clean, fast and carried my luggage up a flight of stairs.

    I would suggest during FIFA they look at having buses at hotels and airports which have a regular route, 24/7. The government/cities need to have a good look at taxi licensing. If you have a license for one city in greater Vancouver, then you ought to be able to pick up a fare in the area you drop someone off. Its more enviornmental and it saves a cab driving from having to “dead head”.

    Given how much the government spent on Expo 86 and the Os, if they had sopent that money on blended housing, affordable housing, social housing, addiction services, child services, we might not be in this pickle today. Oh and if the RCMP had worked a little harder at arresting drug smugglers, but for that they would have needed the federal government to do something like re instate the Port Police. They eliminated it to save money. As a result we of society have paid a very high price.

    Generally speaking the majority of people don’t care about the homeless, drug addicted, etc. They walk by, etc. If the government were going to levee an extra tax or use the gambling money for just solving this problem, they would be out of office next election.

    As to what people coming to FIFA will see is a fairly wide open city where they can get drugs, sex trade workers, etc. Many, that is all they want to see and the games. They won’t care about the rest. They’re here to party. As long as the t.v. cameras are kept on Stanley Park, etc. everything will be just fine. this is about making money and trust me, some will make a lot of it. First up–evicting people from their housing, then recruiting young people for the sex trade, then greassing the skids to make things more “fun” for the guests.

    When people talk about Vancouver being a “world class city”, they do it for themselves, so they can try to convey how great they are, not the city. They get to meet important people, be on t.v. around the world, etc. What is world class about Vancouver is the scenery, which no one had anything to do with. Its just there.
    We don’t have fabulous services, great housing, great transportation systems. About all I would classify as world class is our old court house, now the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the new court house, thank you Arthur Erickson. We kept the Carnegie building on the DTES, but we have left Chinatown to rot, not Chinatown’s fault, more like the politicians. Vancouver is just an average city. O.K. we do have the distinction of being the only major city in the world where you can be in downtown and be dead in the wilderness within 30 minutes of downtown. The line actually used to be, you could die in the wilderness 30 minutes from the Vancouver Stock Exchange–the old one–line from Jack Wasserman. He said that is what made Vancouver so different from other cities and why we had the attitude we did.

    When the parental units arrived in Vancouver in 1951 our Mother thought she had been taken to some back woods town in the middle of no where. She came to love the scenery in B.C., the space, etc. But when you compare Vancouver to Rotterdam or Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, London, Vasncouver is no world class city and these politicans, etc, ought to quite trying to fool themselves and others. its costing too much money.

    (Response: MANY cities have homeless, druggies and/or mentally ill people …and many progressive societies spend billions providing shelters, drug treatment and mental … but London didn’t invite them to live in Piccadily Square, New York didn’t house them in Times Square, Paris didn’t accommodate them on the Champs Elyse and Seattle didn’t buy up hotels around Pike Place Market to house/treat/hand out needles to them right there!! The incompetents running Vancouver City Council and the NDP provincial government have destroyed Vancouver’s downtown core …as I warned they were doing in an earlier blog …and now the decay, destruction and fear is spreading throughout Yaletown and into the West End. Just wait till the world media start arriving in advance of FIFA and have a look around …or get accosted, mugged and their rental trucks/cars broken into!!! Or even try to find a taxi! h.o)

    • RIsaak says:

      The taxi lobby is strong and 100% narcissistic. They’ve held yvr in the dark ages of yesteryear mostly just to drive up the value of the massively overpriced licenses. Prior govts. Had no uber etc. to counter the legacy Dodo cab cabal.

      (Response: It’s not YVR that determines how many taxi licenses are given out: in fact, YVR has been successful at allowing taxis from all over the GVRD …not just Vancouver or Richmond … to pick up at the airport. The problem lies with the municipal (and maybe provincial too?) politicians who … under pressure (and donations to?) from the taxi lobby limit to far too few the number of licenses issued, and continue the archaic rules that prohibit taxis from one municipality pick up a passenger in another after dropping another fare off there. So they head back empty … even passing hundreds of Vancouverites and tourists standing (often in the rain) desperately trying to hail a cab. Vancouver needs REGIONAL taxi licenses …and hundreds more of them to adequately serve locals, tourists, cruise ships, restaurants, bars, theatres and YVR. h.o.)

    • e.a.f. says:

      The drug problem started a long time before the NDP came to office. A health emergency was called when Christy was premier and what did she do: NOTHING. Wouldn’t even ban pill presses.

      Yes, the NDP bought hotels to house drug addicts and yes its inconvient for some, but really what did you want them to do, let them die, drop them off in Prince George, put them in forestry camps?

      We have had a drug problem in Vancouver since I was a kid. Its gotten worse as time went by and then we had the opiod crisis and its still continuing. Yes, it moved up granville St. and Yaletown, etc. but that is what happens.As the number of addicted people increase, them move to new territory. Until society decides to deal with drug addiction this will continue. The problem is society doesn’t want to pay for the “cure” or treatment.

      I do sometimes wonder how many of the children who lived below the poverty line and didn’t have enough to eat or went to school in portables have greater rates of addiction.

  4. Not Sure says:

    What was FIFA even thinking when it selected Vancouver as one of the 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup?

    Obviously they don’t read your blog or do any investigating of the cities they choose. Otherwise they would have known that Vancouver sucks. Pretty shoddy researching by the FIFA selection committee.

    Or not,

    In this article there is a twitter thread from somebody from Seattle who (after a little research on my part) comments on urban stuff. He ranks the 16 North American host cities (six including Edmonton were rejected) on the stadium, the surrounding area, the accessibility to the stadium, etc. He gives an F to most. He gave Toronto an F, his hometown of Seattle a C+ but Vancouver got an A, the only city to get that grade. Here is what he said about Vancouver.

    “Vancouver, British Columbia – right downtown. accessible. great city. can access easily on all modes. highly recommend the false creek area its just awesome.

    I am not saying he is right, but Vancouver had to have been picked for some reason.

    (Response: If only all visitors had to worry about was the location of the stadium. Has this “somebody” you quote wandered a few blocks north or east and now even west of the stadium (especially at night when the games will be played) he probably would be shocked, appalled, frightened, maybe even mugged, robbed and/or assaulted … maybe a combination of all of them! Not really a “A” rating in my book … and I’ve lived and observed here 49 years, unlike your Seattle expert who visited or maybe even did his “research” only on paper … and didn’t have to run the downtown gauntlet … or try to find a taxi to escape the area. As for FIFA, let’s keep it real: MONEY talks and Vancouver and provincial politicians and the business lobby have been falling all over themselves offering MILLIONS in PUBLIC money to get FIFA here … knowing they will all get free VIP tickets for themselves and a lot of their friends and allies. h.o)

    • max avelli says:

      Your cynicism blinds you, Harv.

      If the politicians who helped bring FIFA here were to accept free VIP tickets I believe they would have some legal problems 🙂

      (Response: Your naivety blinds you, Max. I have no doubt FIFA will have a “hospitality suite” or maybe even two or three at each game for FIFA officials and VIP guests (no bloggers) where the food and wines will flow freely … at least for those invited. Nothing illegal about that. h.o)

      • max avelli says:

        Dear Harv,

        Of course they will have a “hospitality suite”.

        But if elected politicians who made these decisions accept freebies they are going to find themselves in the crosshairs of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

        Let us know in two years if any of the elected politicians involved are taking freebies, like you suggest.

        If they do, I will apologize.

        If it turns up that you are just making stuff up and spouting conspiracy theories, you apologize — and STFU about similar things in the future.


        You were once reasonably interesting. You have recently become a boring Trumpist.

        (Response: Keep reading! And I’ll keep trying to educate you to REALITY! h.o)

  5. Gilbert says:

    The Downtown Eastside is an ugly part of Vancouver that should be cleaned up. The radical leftists think injection sites are the answer, but they’re not. If they’re so wonderful, why don’t we have drinking sites for alcoholics? In my honest opinion, the politicians don’t care about the drug addicts and don’t mind if they overdose and die. They just pretend to care.

    To make Vancouver truly world class, it needs a better opera, a safe downtown, more taxis to and from the airport, and better roads. If we see all that, it will be a change in the right direction. We also need a more conservative mayor!

    (Response: It’s no longer just the downtown eastside. As I warned in 3016 in an earlier blog, the decay was spreading up Granville Street (the city’s once PRIME Entertainment, Shopping and Dining area) all the way to Davie. (
    Horrible, disgraceful, dangerous area now … all brought there by what I believe are politically extreme and/or incompetent municipal and provincial politicians and planners … who, by buying up hotels and opening several drug and “social” service centres in the area have imported the druggies, crazies and thieves right there and destroyed the area for strolling, shopping and dining out. Wait till the world FIFA media get a look!!! Ands for that, BC is shelling out $268 million to prepare/hold four or five soccer games???? h.o)

  6. max avelli says:

    Hi Harv,

    Apparently, you have no idea what you are talking about. Out to the woodshed for you. As a former journalist you should really know better:


    The Community Charter prohibits an elected official from directly or indirectly accepting a gift, fee or personal benefit that is connected in some way to their performance as an elected official, unless it is one of the following:

    A gift or benefit that is received as an incident of the protocol or social obligations that normally accompany the responsibilities of office
    Compensation authorized by law
    A lawful campaign contribution
    The Community Charter requires elected officials to disclose any permitted gift or benefit that is worth more than $250. This does not include gifts which are personal and not connected to the official’s performance as an elected official. If the combined value of lesser gifts from one source over any 12-month period exceeds $250, those gifts must also be disclosed.

    Disclosure must be made by filing the following information with the local government’s corporate officer as soon as reasonably practicable: a description of the gift, when it was received, the circumstances under which it was given and received and the name of the giver.

    Community Charter, Section 105 – Restrictions on accepting gifts



    That really is not very hard.

    (Response: Well we’ll see when the Games take place who watches them from where … including the one or two VIP boxes FIFA will likely have … and who are the invitees. as well as how some others get terrific seats and also who attends FIFA’s receptions with all that wonderful food (not hot dogs or burgers!) and wines etc flowing. You can’t possibly believe that all those public officials we saw at Olympic Events or will see at FIFA games were just “lucky” in the ticket lottery …or were on hold for hours on the ticket line, and were just lucky to get through and snag a couple of seats! h.o)

    • D. M. Johnston says:

      I was not going to comment any more but the absolute naivete by Max about politcal freebies has left me quite gobsmacked.

      He can quote all the ethical charters he wants, but the reality is that you are absolutely correct.

      My eyes were very much opened on how corrupt civic politics were, when an acquaintance ran for council, now 12 years ago. YIKES!

      The amount of freebies, free golf tournaments and “awards” dinners were nothing short of breathtaking. And of course the plain brown manila envelopes stuffed with cash, ending up in a hat being passed around for donations.

      I am sorry, but council’s only reason for allowing this isn’t the economy, rather what they can get out of it, including photo-ops and those 10 second, glad handing. sound bites.

      As no one polices the so called charter, noting is done, but slaps on the wrist.

      • max avelli says:

        You do know there is a Conflict of Interest Commissioner, right?

        (Edited… you become juvenile when you insult readers.)

        Unless you think we live in Russia and the Rule of Law is meaningless.

        Please let me know when an elected politician involved in the FIFA 2024 gets a $5,000 free ticket to a luxury suite.

        Go away.

    • max avelli says:

      Apparently I touched a nerve, as you completely avoided the facts and legislation, and just went on again with your conspiracies.

      If elected politicians involved in the decision were to accept free tickets to a luxury suite worth, e.g., $5,000, then the Conflict of interest Commissioner would definitely have a case.

      Law is law.

      If you don’t believe so, please say so. Then we can all go on a lawless rampage in downtown [seriously sarc].

      Otherwise close your yapper and only open it again when you are proven right. And apologize to me when you are proven wrong 🙂

      (Edited… You become juvenile when you insult other readers who disagree with you.)

  7. Gilbert says:

    Max, I believe you’re naive. The World Cup games will be a party for the rich and well-connected. It doesn’t matter what the official line is. Harvey is right. Just wait and see.

    • max avelli says:

      (Edited…another juvenile insult to another reader who disagrees with you. You may want to seek help about that penchant.)

      I presented facts and legislation.

      You and Harv can just keep on believing what you want to believe. Good Trumpists.

      It would be a violation of conflict of interest rules for an elected politician involved in the FIFA decision to accept a a payoff.

      Go away.

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