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At Home in the Hood Part One: Welcome to the VLA

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A daytime shooting

On August 14, 2010 a man was shot and killed in the VLA neighbourhood Prince George. Residents heard the shots ring out and later saw the body lying in the street. We revisit that day to kick off our series.

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Some facts about the VLA:

  • it is home to some of the poorest families in Prince George
  • it has the highest rates of crime in Prince George, the city dubbed "Canada's Most Dangerous" by Maclean's magazine
  • a decade ago, it was found to be the worst in the province for healthy child development
  • the Fraser Institute consistently ranks schools in the VLA near the bottom of its school reports
  • average home prices are less than half than in other neighbourhoods in the city

Reza vs the VLA

As a result of these problems, newcomers to Prince George are often warned not to live in the VLA. However, when Reza Akbari was new to Canada, fresh from his home in Iran, he was given no such advice. Here's his story:

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The occasional bullet

We also wanted to hear from people who call the VLA home, so our producer Robert Doane took a walk around the neighbourhood. He found a diversity of voices and discovered a student who feels like the area is safe, if you don't mind the sound of the occasional gunshot:

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A brief history of the VLA

Finally, we wanted to know how the VLA wound up being Prince George's "hood". It turns out that in order to understand the hood, you have to understand your history- so we get a little help from two students at UNBC who have been researching the area's history: Lisa Krebs and Willow Arune. They take us from the burning of First Nations village to the end of World War II, right up to the end of a once-thriving neighbourhood on the banks of the Nechako River.

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