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30 years ago, 100,000 took part in peace walk in Vancouver

Last Updated Apr 29, 2016 at 10:48 pm PDT

Then Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt leads the procession across Burrard St. Bridge (Courtesy SFU archives)
Summary

This last weekend of April marks the 30th anniversary of a massive gathering on Vancouver streets.

Annual peace march culminated in 1986, when tens of thousands walked from Kits Beach to BC Place.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – This last weekend of April marks the 30th anniversary of a massive gathering on Vancouver streets.

Just days before the opening of Expo 86, 100,000 people came out for a peace march.

The Cold War and nuclear missile build-up was very much a pre-occupation during the 1980s.

Vancouver had hosted annual peace marches since the ’70s, but the biggest was on Saturday, April 27, 1986 – a sea of people moving from Kits Beach, over the Burrard Street Bridge and onto BC Place.

Carmela Allevato was with the End the Arms Race Coalition and was one of the organizers. She says the event was unprecedented in how it got so many people involved.

“It was such a unifying event. All of the political parties, trade unions, the Vancouver and District Labour Council, churches, student movements, people representing tenants, community groups all took part.”

She calls it an amazing day.

“We had arrived. I mean, the movement had arrived. It was part of what everyone was doing. Everyone was on that peace walk.”

As the fear of nuclear war faded in subsequent years because of disarmament agreements between the US and the Soviet Union, the walks carried less significance and eventually stopped altogether.

bc place edited