Once a year the city closes off Hastings from Boundary to Gamma for the annual Hats Off Day celebration. It’s pretty cool. There’s a parade, kiosks, vintage cars and tons of interesting people.
Scientology presence at community parade and festival
The most memorable sight at the 2010 festival was the large presence of Scientologists and Scientology-affiliated organizations.
When I walked up Hastings I spotted a woman that I later learned was Sharon Werner of the Church of Scientology of British Columbia creepily films passersby [edit: here’s a 2018 report on her activities targeting Indigenous people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with Scientology propaganda].
Here’s the other half of the tent which is occupied by the International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance. An organization promotes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Like “The Way to Happines” they are another “acceptable” front for the Church of Scientology. I asked the guy there, Ian I think his name was, if they promote the human rights of LGBT people. “What’s LGBT?” he asked. They were getting people to sign their petition… Oy!
There was this big tent split between this group called “The Way to Happiness” and “International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance.” These are non-profit organizations connected to the Church of Scientology.
I spoke at length with Peter Paulus, the representative for the Vancouver chapter of The Way To Happiness. He was a very friendly and interesting guy.
A quick Google search on his name reveals that he was once a member of a ’70s rock band here in Vancouver. W00t! He went through a pamphlet with me that outlines some pretty broad and well-established guidelines for living well.
It read like a revised 10 Commandments with stuff like don’t steal, don’t murder, honour your parents, obey the law and so forth. Paulus claimed that when this booklet is distributed in a neighbourhood the crime level drops.
He also said it’s been so effective in Buenos Aires, Argentina that the police there carry it around with them now. Hmm! The booklet he handed me had a photo of Vancouver on the cover but was all in American spelling…
Scientology Volunteer Ministers set up a first aid tent in a parking lot at Willingdon and Pender. They also had a bunch of these strange security guards or traffic wardens all over the neighbourhood.
Political stuff at the parade
This is Ronald Leung the Conservative candidate for Burnaby North in the 2008 Federal election. “Ah! Are you a reporter,” he asked while I took this photo. “Yes, I am! And in 2008 you left placer text on your campaign signs!’ I say with my arm on his shoulder. “Ah! Well next time I’ll be sure to fix that!” he says. “Well, next time you run you’ll probably just lose again!” I say with a shit-eating grin on my face. The people behind the counter shot stunned, dirty looks in my direction.
OMG! That’s me posing with the bestest Member of Pariament in Canada! Bill Siksay is currently pushing a private member’s bill, C-389, that would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. It would also amend the hate crime and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code.
My buddy Katherine Burnett sharing a private joke with Burnaby North MP Bill Siksay.
OMG! These people are drinking Conservative water while in the presence of our lovely NDP MP. Fortunately we elected a man with a wonderful sense of humour.
Here’s a close up of the water bottle.
I saw at least four of these anti-HST petition tables. Have you signed it yet?
An old bus!
They had this retro bus on display… here’s the description from the Transit Museum Society site:
GMC Diesel #4612 model TDH 4519 (VH transmission), built 1964, operated in North Vancouver. It was then renumbered to #5522 and transfered to Kensington (later Burnaby) & Surrey and back several times. Retired in 1996, it was then donated to TRAMS. A new 6V71 engine and VS2 transmission was installed 1997, and the bus was repainted to original BC Hydro livery in 1998.
In those days the machines didn’t count how much you put in… so if you were short on cash you could just replace the $1.25 fare with a handful of pennies!
Too bad they can’t tie fare increases with the rate of inflation.
Not too bad of an increase from the 1988 fares.
Ah! The Fast Trax stickers! Before the Upass they had these stickers that you’d put on your one zone bus pass that turned it into a three zone pass. w00t! I love the old school computer art.
They were selling pizza outside Fresh Slice. Their pizza effin’ sucks. The guys workin’ there, however, were very nice. I was taking a picture of the pizza under the display case (with the above caption in mind) when the manager said “Pull it out and put it on top so he can get a good picture to capture how good it is!”
w00t! FUNERAL COOKIES! Bell & Burnaby Funeral Chapel was offering free coffee and cookies. I didn’t try the coffee but the cookies appeared to be of the no-name variety. 🙁
Honest-to-goodness mini-discs! They contained back up music for some guy singing in what sounded like Italian. I wish I’d brought my video camera. He was quite good
The rest of the parade
I think some of their beliefs are homophobic, racist and fucked up but I’ll be damned, the Falun Dafa people had a wonderful brass marching band. I look forward to seeing them again at the next parade!
These people were with the Full Gospel Assembly just up the road. I loved all the flags but their canned Christian music was a bit much. They were blasting these very loud Christian pop songs about “Jesus this” and “saved that”. It was hard to hear the other parade marchers’ music over this canned shit.
w00t! It’s neat to see the Panamanian and Mexican flags fly over Burnaby. I think these guys are Shriners of some sort.
The guy on the right bears a resemblance to Stephen Harper… hmm…
I think this fireman is sexually attractive.
At first I wasn’t sure if this was a composting thing or an initiative to fight hunger.
w00t! The good BC Nurses’ Union was out giving people free blood pressure tests. God bless ’em and the good work they do.