Making Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Beautiful

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( — April 15, 2014) Vancouver, BC — 

Beautiful British Columbia is stamped on nearly every license plate in our city.  When we awake with a clear view of the mountains it’s hard not to melt into the comfort of living amidst one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.  It is no wonder people avert their head and turn their noses at the challenging sight of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 


All the way from Toronto, Margaret Wente, a Globe and Mail columnist, recently began an article about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood in this de-humanizing way, “With its multitudes of addicts, prostitutes, drifters and homeless people, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is Canada’s epicentre of human dysfunction – a magnet for the down-and-out.”


Now, I am the first to admit that the challenges faced by Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside citizens are difficult to reckon with, especially if you’ve never spent time walking the streets and getting to know the people face to face.  It’s scary and unknown to most. 


At the organization that I represent (Mission Possible) we resist placing Ms. Wente’s labels on our community members, friends, and employees. All human beings are worthy of the dignity and opportunity that comes when others choose to see the beauty that sometimes lays beneath the rough exterior and pain of challenging circumstance.  It doesn’t take long.  Spend a little time with us and your eyes will quickly draw focus to the sometimes hidden but emerging beauty in the life of the people we call by their own names. 


There are many great Downtown Eastside organizations, like ours working with these beautiful people who are discovering new potential through a transformational community, nutritional programs, the arts, work readiness courses, and transitional employment. 


The only way we can collectively wear the label “Beautiful British Columbia” is by generating opportunities that spark community, hope, purpose and dignity in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and anywhere else people are suffering.


For more information about Mission Possible visit 
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Mission Possible

543 Powell St.
Vancouver, BC V6A 1G8