cover, A Thousand Dreams, crows fly from a burst of light


A Thousand Dreams was nominated for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize


Canada: purchase from
Indigo/Chapters or Amazon
US: purchase from Amazon






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A Thousand Dreams

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Fight for Its Future

by Larry Campbell, Neil Boyd and Lori Culbert

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside was once the bustling centre of the city. By the 990s, however, the neighbourhood was in free fall. Growing  homelessness, open drug use, escalating HICV rates, and the disappearance of vulnerable women from the streets attracted international media attention and sparked conflicts between advocates and policy makers about how to address the problems.

Often portrayed as a neighbourhood at risk, the Downtown Eastside is also home to a vital community of people who believe passionately in its future. The authors of this book – Larry Campbell, former Vancouver mayor and chief coroner for British Columbia; Neil Boyd, a leading criminologist and commentator on drug policy; and award-winning journalist Lori Culbert – create a multifaceted portrait of that community, drawing on their own experiences as they wade into the controversies and offer concrete, urgently needed solutions. A compelling mix of history, political analysis, and first-person accounts, A Thousand Dreams raises crucial questions for all of North America’s major cities.

"This outstanding book shows clearly how political leadership can bring about real change – and how its absence can condemn the most vulnerable to the streets."

David Miller, mayor of Toronto

"This tough-minded, gutsy book captures the sadness, tragedy, and stupidity of government policies about poverty, housing, mental illness, and drugs. Yet it shows how a resilient community, with our help, can hope for a better future. Read it!"

Mike Harcourt, former premier of British Columbia

Greystone Books, 2009 | ISBN 978-1-55365-298-4