VANCOUVER 'POT BLOCK' GOES UP IN SMOKE
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver's world-renowned "pot block" was engulfed in
smoke yesterday as fire destroyed a significant piece of the city's
heritage. The blaze raged through a two-storey building, gutting the
Blunt Brothers, a marijuana-oriented cafe that billed itself as "a
A landmark vintage clothing store was also destroyed, as was a
long-standing left-wing bookstore.
The B.C. Marijuana Party headquarters and bookstore are located next
door at 307 West Hastings, a building that suffered major smoke and
water damage. Other pot-oriented businesses were located on the upper
floors of the building.
Capt. Rob Jones-Cook of the Vancouver fire department said initial
reports were that the fire started in a dumpster in the back lane
behind the buildings. It quickly spread to two more dumpsters and then
to the rear of the building.
"I will not say it's arson, but it could be a suspicious fire,' said
Firefighters found a small marijuana-growing operation in one of the
The block has achieved international renown in the past few years
because of all the marijuana-oriented businesses there.
Pot tourists visit by the thousands to smoke a joint in North
America's only pot cafes, the Blunt Brothers and the New Amsterdam
(which recently closed).
Even comedian Tommy Chong came to Blunt Brothers to smoke a
The fire attracted dozens of spectators early yesterday
A group of potheads mourned the loss of Blunt Brothers by lighting up
joints on a nearby corner.
"You'd see people from all over the world that would make their way
there to check it out and get their pictures taken in front of the
signs and stuff," said Steve Lippold, owner of clothing store Cabbages
and Kinx. "It was on certain people's lists of tourist places to visit."
The future of the pot block depends on the damage to the
Pot guru Marc Emery hopes the damage to the Marijuana Party
headquarters and bookstore isn't too severe and that it can reopen
Emery didn't hold out much hope for the upstairs businesses,
Emery said the store wasn't insured.
"No one insures businesses with the name Marijuana in it, in my
experience," he said.
Jones-Cook said there were no reports of injuries at the
The businesses were located in a pair of 1890s brick buildings that
are on Vancouver's heritage register.
The burnt-out structure was built in 1898, the time of