British Columbia·FROM THE ARCHIVES

The 1966 Halloween riot that shocked North Vancouver

Ed West wasn't looking for trouble that night. It was Halloween, and it was 1966. West was 16 years old.

Former North Vancouver resident Ed West was 16 years old when the riot broke out near his home

The North Vancouver Halloween riot of 1966

6 years ago
Duration 0:52
Hundreds of teens rioted and looted stores at the Edgemont Shopping Centre in 1966.

Ed West wasn't looking for trouble that night. 

"It was never intended to be a riot, but that's kind of what happens when you get people throwing beer bottles," he said. 

"It was an interesting night, there's no doubt about that."

It was Halloween, and it was 1966. West was 16 years old. 

He had promised his parents he wouldn't go to Edgemont Village that night, even though he lived just about a kilometre up the road. The area had become known as a gathering place for young people on Halloween.

That evening, radio stations began reporting that thousands of teenagers were congregating there. 

"Then of course the kids from Vancouver were coming over to North Van to see what's going on. Then the police arrive, the fire trucks, and all hell broke loose." 

West says teens starting throwing eggs and beer bottles around. Over the course of the evening, the rioters smashed 45 store windows. 

A glass company replaces the storefront of a business in Edgemont Village in North Vancouver the day after the 1966 Halloween riot. (Courtesy North Vancouver Museum and Archives)

Police arrested the ringleaders and firefighters set their hoses to the crowd. 

Overall, the damage from the riots that evening came to today's equivalent of about $75,000. 

Busted

West says he didn't take part in any of the looting, like most of the teens there. He left at about 10:30 p.m. PT, before things got too crazy. 

But still, he did get busted — for lying to his parents. 

He tried to tell them he had stuck to his promise and avoided Edgemont. But as he was proclaiming his innocence, his father looked over at the television to see West "flipping the bird" on the news. 

"You know, smartass 16 year old — that's what you do," he said, laughing. 

West was grounded for a month, his car privileges revoked.

Some critics said the riot took place because there wasn't enough going on to keep young people busy that night. Others said it was the result of a long-standing dispute between two high schools. 

The November 3 edition of The Citizen, the weekly newspaper on the North Shore at the time, said 25 people were arrested that night — mostly youths. 

Of those, seven were charged with unlawful assembly. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

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