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Where have all the hippies gone?

Flowers and free love. Antiwar marches and acid tests. In the mid to late 1960s, youth across North America and Europe began to "turn on, tune in and drop out." Fed up with the establishment — parents, schools, police — they went looking for a new way of life. To Toronto's Yorkville and Vancouver's Kitsilano district they came, preaching peace, love and non-conformity.

By the 1980s, the hippies seem to have disappeared. The acid tests are over. The flowers are dead. The communes are deserted. Where are the flower children? Where did the idealism go? In this CBC Television clip, ex-hippies Eric Clough and Carol Gaston have an answer. In the late 1960s they founded a community called "The New Family" commune in British Columbia. They had high hopes, but things didn't turn out as planned.
. Hippie communes sometimes ran into trouble with local residents. On Quadra Island, B.C., in 1975, local vigilantes knocked down and burned hippie teepees and cabins. The locals objected to the presence of the squatters, whom they viewed as able-bodied men loafing on welfare. The hippies claimed the locals wanted to scare them away because they'd staked out the land for a gun club.

. Although most communes and hippie enclaves did disappear, some lasted until the late 1990s. On Jan. 31, 1997, the B.C. government served eviction notices to the residents of Sombrio Beach on the southwestern part of Vancouver Island. The government had turned a 47-kilometre stretch of shoreline into the Juan de Fuca Trail. Under B.C. Park rules, people are not allowed to reside on parkland. The last major hippie enclave in Canada was swept away.
Medium: Radio
Program: Concern
Broadcast Date: Jan. 8, 1969
Host: Peter Meggs
Duration: 16:18

Last updated: February 6, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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