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ISBN: 9781551528694

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Vancouver Vice

Crime and Spectacle in the City's West End

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The late 1970s and early 1980s were a volatile period in the history of Vancouver, where broad social and cultural changes were afoot. This was perhaps most clearly evident in the West End, the well-known home to the city’s tight-knit gay community that would soon be devastated by the AIDS epidemic. But the West End’s tree-lined streets were also populated by sex workers, both female and male, who fought a well-publicized turf war with residents. This, combined with a rising crime rate, invited the closer attention of the Vancouver police, including its vice squad. But after a body was found dumped in nearby Stanley Park, it was discovered that the victim’s high-profile connections reached far beyond the streets and back alleys of the West End, making for one of the most shocking investigations in Vancouver history, with secrets long held, and never fully told until now.

Vancouver Vice reveals the captivating beating heart of a neighbourhood long before the arrival of gentrifying condo towers and coffee bars. Part murder mystery, investigative expose, and cultural history, this book transports readers back to a grittier, more chaotic time in the city, when gambling dens prevailed, police listened in on wire taps, and hustlers plied their trade on street corners. With warm regard and a whiff of nostalgia, Vancouver Vice peers behind the curtain to examine how the city once indulged in its vices, and at what cost.

Contributors

Aaron Chapman

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver's entertainment history. He is the author of Vancouver after Dark: The Wild History of a City's Nightlife, winner of the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2020; The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver's Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver's Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015. In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Vancouver.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

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In the prologue and introduction, Chapman frames his narrative around two events in West End Vancouver: the discovery of a body in in 1984, and the unveiling of a memorial to sex workers in 2016. 10 $1.00

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This chapter provides a history of the West End, with a focus on the importance of electricity and sex in the neighbourhood’s development. 10 $1.00

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In this chapter, the author details the history of the policing of vice in Vancouver, and the corruption that often accompanied these efforts. 7 $0.70

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This chapter explores the history of the sex trade in the West End,from the 1930s to 1975. 9 $0.90

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In this chapter, Chapman focuses on two vice cops who were surveilling the English Bay Bathhouse in attempt to crack down on cruising in the West End. 14 $1.40

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This chapter concentrates on Faces, an early West End gay club, and Wayne Harris, a club member who later became the focus of a major vice squad investigation. 12 $1.20

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In this chapter, Chapman describes the Vice squad’s efforts to bring down the Wayne Harris crime ring, and how these were disrupted by the new mayor of Vancouver’s focus on … 17 $1.70

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This chapter focuses on the activities of "hustlers," the often-underage male sex workers in the West End. 14 $1.40

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This chapter details the creation of a new special police squad to address the rising number of sex workers on the streets of the West End. By merely displacing sex workers, this squad shifted … 12 $1.20

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In this chapter, Chapman explores an apparent suicide that may have been linked to Wayne Harris. 12 $1.20

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This chapter examines the West End at the beginning of the 1980s, a situation Maclean’s magazine called "a curbside brothel open from noon to 4 a.m., seven days a week." It also … 13 $1.30

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In this chapter, Chapman described the end of the West End sex trade, and the consequences of this for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 8 $0.80

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The epilogue considers the subsequent history of the West End, from the AIDS epidemic to the dramatic transformation of the built neighborhood. 5 $0.50