British Columbia

Security heightened before Trump sons' visit to Vancouver

The invitation-only grand opening of the Trump Tower in Vancouver is expected to draw hundreds of protesters, as U.S. President Donald Trump's sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are expected to attend on Tuesday.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump expected to draw protests as they attend the Trump Hotel grand opening

U.S. President Donald Trump's sons Donald Jr., left, and Eric, right, are seen in the Trump Tower on Nov. 14 in New York City. The brothers will be in Vancouver on Tuesday for the Trump Tower grand opening. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Trump Tower luxury hotel with giant uppercase chrome letters across the front has already become a magnet for protesters in Vancouver, and now, as the hotel officially opens, a visit from the polarizing U.S. president's sons is sparking renewed attention.

Trump Hotel opened its doors to the public in January, but the tower's grand opening is on Tuesday.

Donald Trump Jr. and his brother, Eric, are expected to attend the invitation-only ribbon-cutting event, and as members of President Donald Trump's family, they'll be accompanied by a U.S. Secret Service security detail.

Police gear up

Local police are also preparing for the visit. The Vancouver department is tasked with keeping the peace on the street outside Trump Tower and managing any disruptions to traffic that may arise from the expected protests.

The RCMP are also involved in co-ordinating security. The force released a statement saying it is responsible for the "safety and security of designated internationally protected persons."

Massive chrome letters mark the Georgia Street side of the Trump Tower in Vancouver. The front entrance leads directly into the Trump Champagne Lounge, while the alley-side entrance serves as the hotel's front door. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The RCMP said in the release that the security costs for protection would be covered through the existing operational budget, but that it could not be more specific.

Vancouver police have also been unwilling to discuss security planning or costs, suggesting those numbers may be available after the event. Two K9 units were parked in front of Trump Tower on Monday as officers made preparations.

A B.C. Ambulance Service truck and a Vancouver police SUV are parked in front of Vancouver's Trump Tower on Monday, as officials plan for the tower's grand opening and expected protests. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said last week that he expects demonstrations on Tuesday to mark the event, and he hopes they'll remain peaceful.

"It's a demonstration and I think it's about a lot more than just Trump Tower, frankly. I think, as we saw with the demonstration, the Women's March that happened a few weeks ago," said Robertson.

A small sticker combining a reference from the television show Game of Thrones with the Trump administration is stuck to the front of Trump Tower on Monday, a day before the grand opening. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"It's unfortunate that it does cost a lot of money to deal with protests when they come up, but this is Canada and we embrace free speech and the opportunity for people to gather and express how they feel. So we'll just try to keep it as safe as we can," he said.

Controversial brand

Robertson wrote a letter to Trump Tower's developer, Holborn Group, in December, asking that the Trump brand be removed from the building.

"Trump's name and brand have no more place on Vancouver's skyline than his ignorant ideas have in the modern world," the letter read.

Trump and his family don't own the new luxury tower, which includes a hotel, apartments, and the Trump Champagne Lounge, but the Trumps have a licensing agreement related to the brand.

Nobody from Trump Tower Vancouver was available for comment leading up to the grand opening.

Planned demonstrations

Multiple demonstrations are being planned on social media, including a Trump Welcome Party on Georgia Street in front of the tower, and the Resist 4 Peace March, which is planned at the nearby Jack Poole Plaza.

Resist 4 Peace organizer Nora Fadel said that demonstration will steer clear of the Trump Tower and send the message that the Trump brand isn't welcome in Vancouver.

"I feel that having that name, the building doesn't fit with Vancouver itself," said Fadel.

"Even for a second, I'm going to have that icky feeling in my stomach, like, "ugh, this is in my city, really? This is in my country?' A man who was so against Muslims, so against — he wants to build the wall — and so against so many of the communities, just because he can? This is not OK in the city of Vancouver."

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

About the Author

Rafferty Baker is a video journalist with CBC News, based in Vancouver. You can find his stories on CBC Radio, television, and online at cbc.ca/bc.

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