Spoof Olympics highlight Vancouver poverty

Children representing the Downtown Eastside community take on the government in a wrestling match.

Chewy the Rat grinned at curious onlookers as she wove through Vancouver streets carrying a knock-off designer purse. She’s not the Olympic icon that visitors expect to see.

Along with an oversized cockroach and bedbug, Chewy played mascot for the Poverty Olympics, a satirical version of the winter games that ran a mock ceremony Sunday afternoon, just five days prior to the launch of the official games on Feb. 12.

The event was organized by a motley crew of community groups from the Downtown Eastside, a roughly 15-block area known as Canada’s poorest postal code. Their goal is to challenge the province’s official branding as the best place on earth by calling attention to a series of social challenges faced by underprivileged Vancouverites, especially in regard to affordable housing.

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Toronto Star’s New Kids on the Blog

Click above to see more photos from the event

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