Just before 4 p.m. today, there were many secretive smiles on bustling Robson Street. People in the know lingered somewhere between Thurlow and Bute streets, waiting for their cue. Uninformed pedestrians could sense that a critical mass was building.
“What is everyone waiting for?” one man asked.
“Just stick around,” answered a woman wearing a bright red jacket and a grin.
Vancouver police constable Trevor Gow said he was called to the scene at the last minute. Given the violent protest in the morning, another officer said he’d take this sort of demonstration over the others.
On the hour, the ’60s hit “Dancing in the Street” began to blare over a loud speaker. Men, women and children faced East toward Thurlow Street, and began a choreographed dance. Instantly, bystanders stopped in their tracks and raised cameras into the air.
The moves weren’t overly complicated — making the dance as accessible as the Macarena — but observers still seemed impressed. After about three minutes of jubilation, the dancers dispersed.
The flash mob was the result of an elaborate planning process by a group called Imagine1day, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide access to schools and a primary education for all children in Ethiopia, Africa. They organized the event and four warm ups through Facebook, where about 3,000 people had confirmed their attendance to the final performance.