This was the Vancouver kiss that went global. Jay Leno cracked jokes about it on The Tonight Show. TopTenz.net ranked it third on its list of the world’s top viral pictures and Internet memes. Esquire simply asked if it was the greatest kiss of all time.
Australian Scott Jones wanted to be sure that his Canadian girlfriend, Alex Thomas, was okay after she was pushed to the ground during the Stanley Cup riot. Photographer Richard Lam snapped the image, and Vancouver became the only city ever known for getting it on in the middle of mayhem in the streets.
The couple helped preserve Vancouver’s image as an urban playground—even an oasis of hedonism. In a moment, they removed much of the stigma caused by the most shameful episode of the year. That, friends, makes Jones and Thomas worthy of headlining the Georgia Straight’s 16th annual Best of Vancouver issue. Let’s have more of that smooching in public whenever the Canucks make the Stanley Cup finals.
The kiss seen round the world wasn’t the only thing about Vancouver worth celebrating in the past year. Our editorial team has spent months on the lookout for good deeds, weird urban details, and various howlers to include in this week’s blockbuster edition. Sometimes the best is simply the best. Elsewhere, it’s the funniest. Or the tastiest. Or the rudest. Or the most outrageous.
Every year, we also shine a Best of Vancouver spotlight on communities that ordinarily don’t attract much media attention. Communities come in many forms. Sometimes they’re based on geography. But on other occasions, a community can be based on a common heritage, religion, sexual orientation, or area of interest. This year, we’re focusing on Japanese Canadians, who’ve come together to help the victims of a massive earthquake on the other side of the ocean, and urban aboriginal people, who are asserting themselves as artists, political activists, and community organizers.
Fans of local music know that one of the highlights of this issue is the Best of Bands feature. Here, you’ll find a dozen different acts engaged in some ridiculous antics. For these, you can thank our ever-imaginative photographers.
For this issue, we were helped enormously by our readers, who completed more than 10,000 online ballots to tell us everything from their favourite politician to the best place to buy cheap drinks. There are over 250 readers’ choice categories, dealing with a vast number of topics. The people have spoken. Now it’s time to enjoy the results.