A small band of brave residents is being credited with saving Vancouver's downtown Chapters bookstore from fire during Wednesday night's widespread violence and vandalism.

Graham Peterson used a camera to record rioters smashing the glass at the store and chanting "burn the books," in the midst of the riot that followed the Vancouver Canucks loss in the Stanley Cup final. 

Peterson, an artist, said that before long, he was standing in front of the store with a dozen other people, preventing apparent attempts to set the building on fire.

"It just seemed crazy to all of us, like it didn't make any sense, it just seemed insane," said Peterson. "You're standing facing a crowd that's all shouting and yelling, especially … the whole book-burning thing ... that was crazy."

He said the group faced-off with the rioters for almost 30 minutes before riot police arrived and took over.

Waste of passion

Brennan Lloyd was among those who stood with Peterson.


Brennan Lloyd was among those who stood down rioters at Chapters. (CBC)

"It's really silly that people would get so passionate about such an arbitrary thing [like a hockey game]

when there are so many other important things happening in society," Lloyd said. "It just seems like such a complete waste of human ingenuity and passion."

Peterson said it was a frightening experience, but he felt a duty to stand up to what he calls drunken rioters bent on mayhem.

"Why wouldn't you do it? There's no point in not doing it. It seems ridiculous to not stop something like that."

Now Peterson wants authorities to use his video to identify people committing crimes during the riot.

He said it's important for the public to know who caused the trouble and threatened residents like him.

With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson and Emily Elias