Vancouver sidewalk etiquette

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You wouldn’t think we’d need to put together a guide to help people with walking but lo and behold here we are, VancityBuzz’s very own “Vancouver Walking Etiquette”

Slow Walkers IH8U

Never mind Occupy Wall Street, I’d like to occupy slow walkers/slawkers/slags whatever you want to call them. What I mean by that is when I get stuck behind a really slow person walking down the street, I want to be able to ghost walk up and step on their heels until they figure out to move aside or speed up. Your time has come slow walkers; the world no longer has room for you in the age of iPhones, handheld video games and walkmans.

*If you’re slow because you can’t actually walk fast, then we are sorry. You’re cool.

Dog poop – clean it up 

I know it sucks picking up after your dog, especially if you’re lazy and maybe haven’t taken him out for a long time – it can get pretty nasty. Well that’s your own fault; some of us choose to have cats as pets so they can look after themselves and pose to take cute pictures that we can post on Instagram. The last thing we need is to be walking down a street and step in to a steaming pile of dog poop. Use a little baggie, bend down and clean it up, what you do with it from that point is your own business. Some suggestions however:

  • Leave it in front of a building that doesn’t allow pets
  • Give it to your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend for Valentine’s day
  • Set it on fire then ring the door bell and leave it on old man Jenkin’s porch
  • If Occupy Vancouver starts back up, save the baggies then go down to sell some sweet “hash”

Umbrella – watch it

We’ve covered this previously in the “Umbrella Etiquette” but I figure we can expand on it a bit. It’s already annoying walking around when it’s raining, but to push us over the edge is watching someone with an umbrella walk under a covered street, CLOSE YOUR UMBRELLA. If an awning is already keeping you dry, your umbrella is useless, put it away or I will put it away for you. Then there’s the people who walk with their umbrella but point it down so they can’t see in front of them. Guess what? If you can’t see us, we can’t see you, so the next time you feel it’s more important to admire your own shoes than watch where you’re going in them, prepare get a face full of your own umbrella.

Keep your head up, kid

This is important, just like in hockey if you don’t have your head up you’re gonna get nailed. I am officially making it OK for anyone who sees someone walking down the street with their head down to: clobber them, Bertuzzi them or just go for a straight head shot. Hey, if you tell Colin Campbell you didn’t mean to target the head, you won’t even get a suspension.

PS. Parents who have kids who wear those roller shoes, the next time your kid comes flying towards me not watching where they’re going, expect a clothesline.


Well first of all you shouldn’t smoke anyways cause it’s disgusting and could kill you, but more importantly you shouldn’t smoke and blow it in everyone’s face around you. If you absolutely feel the need to smoke a tar filled stick while making your way down to buy the new Nickelback album, please blow your smoke upwards. To quote Chief Wiggum from the Simpsons, “Dig up, stupid!” but in this case, “blow up, stupid” (not literally) but so the rest of us don’t have to walk directly through your cloud of smoke, please blow up and save all of us some fresh air.

The Sudden Stop

You wouldn’t be driving down the highway and suddenly stop without notice, so why do it in the middle of a busy sidewalk? Some weekends on Robson, I’ve seen pile ups from sudden stoppers so large they’d make the folks on Davie Street blush. This might sound like us wanting everyone to walk in unison while single file (well I kinda do) but honestly, if you’re about to stop to look at something, take a quick look around and make sure you’re not about to get rear ended.

Acknowledge the homeless

To be serious for a moment. Unfortunately, we live in a city with a large homeless population, and likely if you’re reading this you’re probably a little better off than most of those down on East Hastings. So when you walk by someone asking for change, if you are able to afford it go for it. If not, at least make eye contact, smile and acknowledge that they exist. Most of them are probably more grateful than you think.

No one likes spitters

While you’re trotting down a sidewalk in Vancouver, especially a busy one, the last thing you want to do is spit. It’s gross, disgusting and a terrible habit, and you could hit someone with it. Yuck. Just don’t do it.


Walking is fun so enjoy it, and if we follow these simple rules there’s no reason anyone should ever have to bludgeon someone else on the side of the street ‘cause they were spitting, smoking or slow walking ever again. Since smiling is contagious, try spreading some around the city while you’re on your walks. Spread the love, Vancouver!


The following was written by Ryan aka @MPAH. The man is a genius.

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Vancity Buzz Staff Your inside source for Vancouver happenings. Established 2008.

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  • Anonymous

    How about “do not stand in the middle of a busy sidewalk having a chat with your friends”? Move over to the side! Also, walk on the right! This is not Japan or the UK. I am tired of playing chicken with people who come barreling along heading straight towards me when I am on the right side of the sidewalk. In general, a lot of people are simply oblivious to what is going on around them. Other. People. Exist.

  • TL

    I hear this a lot in Vancouver – if only the offenders would read this and actually apply it to themselves!

    I would love it if people acknowledged others more often when walking down the street. I’m not  expecting sunny salutations, just a little friendly eye contact to remind ourselves that we are all here, human, walking down the street, trying to get somewhere.

    Also, am I wrong in thinking that groups of Starbuck-swilling stroller moms need to give way a little more often? Ugh, just had to get that out.

  • Anonymous

    SUV Stroller mom is more important than you! After all she gave birth to a human! C’mon…

  • Bob

    It’s called the RIGHT side for a reason. Walk on it. If you’re coming at me on your left, don’t expect me to move.

  • Wendy Feng

    Having grown up in Vancouver and then moved away to other Canadian cities, I’ve come to realize that while Vancouver is an amazing city, the people here are the biggest whiners. Have you ever walked down the street in Toronto? People strolling leisurely are the least of your problems when you’re dodging people trying to shove you down a crowded staircase, or all the riff-raff on the public transit (and I mean the employees, not the passengers). Yet Toronto seems to have convinced itself that it’s the best city in the world, while Vancouver just complains incessantly despite being superior to other Canadian cities in every way imaginable.

  • Sharan_u

    I second that!  That’s a support group ahead of you, we mommas need those group stroller walks :)

  • M. Pah

    But did you watch the Bee Gee’s video?!

  • B Urban

    I’m texting this on my phone while walking.

  • B Urban

    Big ups for adding “acknowledge the homeless” to the list. It lowers my faith in humanity everytime I see clearly well-off people pretend they don’t exist.

  • Chad Margulius

    The biggest problem is everyone is in their own bubble and completely unaware of their surroundings. Pretty much goes the same when driving. If you are walking slow or pre-occupied with something else look around because aggressive people like me want to go around you. Move over instead of just completely stopping or walking at the same pace as someone right next to you allow for some room to get by. Just wake up a bit in the public thats all I ask. 

  • Wafiezza_cagas

    yeah that’s right even if we will just walk and having fun using cellphone we have to be careful because some streets are under constructed and accidentally you will slept on a hole

  • knuckles

    Ha! When I moved to Vancouver from Toronto a very (very) long time ago, it was a huge culture shock for me to slow down and not mow over all those slow walkers! And that was before cell phones. 

    Now I are one. 

  • FirstWorldProblems

    People are going to complain just to complain. People will ALWAYS find something to complain about.

  • EffEcks

    Thank god someone with a head. Seriously? I can’t smoke on the sidewalk? We can’t smoke in public parks, restaurants, 10 M from a door and now you want the sidewalks too? Just give us separate neighborhoods and be done with it. While you’re at it add some low rent housing, maybe then we can have some fucking fun.
    People pay millions of dollars to own property here so the type of people we end up with  are the exact type that would scoff at seeing someone spit in front of them. Guess what, we, the smokers, the spitters, the people that party until 3am and disturb your peace; we don’t like you much either. And we know how to walk on the sidewalk, thanks for the fucking tips.

  • Linkzorz

    Its considered child abuse to smoke in a home or a car with children.  Something that is so harmful to those around them, that is actually considered abuse, has NO business anywhere but designated areas.  I have to listen to the crap all the time about my own issues (nursing in public) yet I dont seem to complain as much as you, mister smoker.  My daughter is 6, and has pretty bad respiratory issues in the summer due to allergies.  Walking through a cloud of smoke can basically ruin her day.  So grow up and light up away from everybody else.

  • EffEcks

    I am very respectful around other people, especially children when smoking. Not letting people smoke on sidewalks basically means the only place we can smoke is in a private residence (if you’re lucky enough to have a landlord who doesn’t mind) or out on the street in traffic. Being aware that you’re doing something that some people in this city find discussing is more than enough, and it’s had not to be aware with the looks you get. 

    Vancouver is a foolish city. I have never seen so many stuck up people in my life. I’ve lived in Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin and now Vancouver and this city is by far the most stuck up, and health conscience of them all. Fuck off with your Whole Foods, hot yoga and full on Tour de France gear when riding your bike along the seawall. You’re not gonna live for ever, might as well live for the moment. 

  • Bob

    Smoking is not considered “child abuse” any more than car exhaust.  If you daughter has respiratory issues it could be from a number of sources, including your own genetics, whether you took fertility drugs, your age, so stop using smoking as a scapegoat for your child problems.  The car, sidewalk, outside, home ARE designated areas for smoking.  Guess what, I don’t even smoke, but I am tired of whiners like who get upset that Vancouver is not exactly what you want it to be.  Where did all this animosity come from?  (I venture OUT OF PROVINCE most likely).

  • Wendy Feng

    Jesus christ, guys, way to prove my point.

  • Linkzorz
  • Linkzorz

    Also, just to clarify so you get the bigger picture…My mother has environmental asthma, caused by pollution and smoking is a huge contributing factor.  So maybe it is genetics, but those genetics make the cigarette smoke even worse.  I took no fertility drugs, and was, and still am, under the age of 30.

    The rant is long due, smokers need to quit ruining the rest of the populations lungs.

  • Frustratedghost

    The guy who wrote this is such a fag