Vancouver Vice: Crime and Spectacle in the City’s West End

Event Hosted by: Friends of the BC Archives

Guest Speaker: Aaron Chapman

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.

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician. His latest book is Vancouver Vice: Crime and Spectacle in the City’s West End. 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 Epic Story of the Vancouver Police vs. the Clark Park Gang; a winner of the Canadian Historical Society’s Clio Award. Liquor, Lust, and the Law: the Story of Vancouver’s Legendary 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.

Tickets: This event will be held virtually over Zoom. Attendees are required to register virtually at https://friendsofbcarchives.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/

Contact: info@friendsbcarchives.ca

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