Mourning a tragedy and celebrating hope at the DTES Women's March

In its fifth year, the large turnout for the annual DTES Women's Housing March shows that the movement pushing for better access to safe and affordable housing for women in the neighbourhood, is not losing steam. The Downtown east-side is is facing an influx of gentrifying forces, in the form of expensive coffee shops and market priced condominium developments, causing resentment and anger among residents who feel they will be priced out of their own community.

Sequel 138 is the name of a condo development planned for the former site of the Pantages theatre. The development has been criticed by groups representing residents of the DTES and this year's march aimed to draw attention to Sequel 138 and other similar new businesses and developments in the area.

While the marchers were hopeful that their voice would be heard by those in power, this year the block party which followed the march was a sombre event. Participants were encouraged to reflect on the death Friday evening of a woman who had resided at the Regent Hotel. 50 year old Verna Simard passed one year and one day after Ashley Machiskinic, who died in similar circumstances in the same alley as Simard. The significance of the fact that both women were indigenous is not lost on residents who are eagerly awaiting the start of the Missing Women Inquiry.

More info:

DTES Reels after Resident Falls to her Death on Hastings Street - Vancouver Media Coop
Homes not Condos - Stephanie Law for Vancouver Media Coop
DTES not for developers blog
Marchers call on government to commit to safe, affordable housing for women