FAMILY ASSETS - THE GRAND OPENING OF TRUMP TOWER VANCOUVER
COMMISSIONED WORK for NEW YORK MAGAZINE
In early 2017 with snowflakes swirling around, Trump Tower Vancouver opened to a hush. Local politicians who gave approval for the project kept their distance. There was no public ribbon cutting ceremony. The grand opening was a back door event by invite only. Everything happened on the inside.
Entry was through a secured alleyway requiring approved lists and name badges to bypass US Secret Service and Canadian Mounties. Even though his name shined on the building's exterior, Donald J. Trump did not attend. Instead, it was a family affair. His children, alongside their billionaire real estate counterparts from the east, used golden shears to mark the opening.
Fast forward one year plus a day, the tower is a new centrepiece to otherwise generic green glassy Vancouver skyline. The mixed-used tower of hotel and luxury condos finds itself in the news with the FBI investigating its financing. Designed by the late, great Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson and later adorned with the Trump nameplate, the rights of The Donald were bought and paid for by the Malaysian controlled Holborn Company.
In a year’s time, not much has changed with the building. A few protests. Some calls to remove the name. All in all, money is still changing hands. Business as usual as 45 sits thousands of kilometers away in the people’s White House. Or, perhaps swinging at his opponents from the green at Mar-a-Lago.
Meanwhile, back in Vancouver, infused with foreign assets and laundered drug money from the local opioid laden drug trade, the housing market is an economic inferno. With housing costs outstripping wages by orders of magnitude, Mayor Gregor Robertson, the Juiceman, a millionaire businessman who made his living squeezing fruits and vegetables, helped create a commodity city that now squeezes the people. The once enviable most livable Olympic city seems hell bent on burning itself down, much like Trump. His tower standing as a beacon for just about everything that’s wrong on the Canadian Riviera.
Thank you to New York Magazine for the press pass and journalist Kerry Gold for collaborating.