Episode 9 - 2003: Social Milestones

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In this episode, Vancouver Special takes a look at 2003, the year that same-sex couples won the right to legally marry in British Columbia and the opening of InSite, North America’s first and only legal supervised injection site.

Vancouver City Councillor and United Church minister Tim Stevenson shares his memories of this pivotal occasion in our city’s history, and Dr. Patricia Daly, Chief Medical Health Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health, talks about the impact InSite has had on our city. CBC's Ian Hanomansing sets the scene for the year and VPL librarian Tim McMillan is back with some great reads you can find at your library.

On July 8, 2003, after years of heated discussion and numerous legal battles, the British Columbia Court of Appeal lifted the last restriction on same-sex couples legally marrying in B.C. and the province became the second region in Canada to legalize same-sex marriage. Within an hour of the decision, Antony Porcino and Tom Graff were married by Tim Stevenson just outside of the Vancouver courthouse, becoming the first same-sex couple to be married in B.C.

Tim Stevenson is Canada's first openly gay minister and is a long time champion of gay and lesbian rights. He gained international attention when he represented Vancouver at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, where he met with the IOC to promote the protection of LGBTQ rights in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Operated by Vancouver Coastal Health and the PHS Community Services Society, InSite plays a key role in the Vancouver's Four Pillars Drug Strategy. Part of a continuum of care for people with addiction, mental illness and HIV and AIDS, the service operates on a on a harm-reduction model. It provides a safe, health-focused supervised environment where people can inject drugs and connect to a variety of addiction, health care and community support services.

Since opening its doors in September 2003, this ground-breaking health care service has saved thousands of lives, connecting people to crucial health care services and significantly decreasing overdoses in the vicinity of the site by 35% - compared to a 9% decrease in the city overall.

The theme song is “North Wind” by Vancouver band Lakefield, from the album Sounds from the Treeline.

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