Protesters, security gather for opening of Trump Tower in downtown Vancouver

Cheryl Sanders
March 1, 2017

Protesters, some carrying posters proclaiming, "Love Trumps Hate", surrounded the entrance to the Trump hotel and condominium tower while police and security officers in black suits gathered on sidewalks at the soaring edifice, which has drawn praise for its sleek design but has also raised ethical concerns about the business interests of the new US president.

"If the Hilton's can have a hotel then why can't Trump have a hotel here?" asked Vancouver resident Joe Taylor.

The hotel, the Trump Organization's first new worldwide property since president Trump's ascension to the White House, will have its grand opening with a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting.

Vancouver's Trump International Hotel and Tower was built by developer Joo Kim Tiah, the president and CEO of Holborn Group, who is the son of one of Malaysia's wealthiest businessmen.

"I want to thank the media for constantly keeping us in the spotlight", Tiah added, prompting laughs from the crowd.

Malaysian property developer Tiah Joo Kim got way more than he bargained for when he signed a licensing deal to use the Trump brand on the Trump International Hotel and Tower that is opening Tuesday in the Canadian city of Vancouver. As is the case with most of the Trump properties, the family doesn't own the building, but only leases its name.

"It's a way to get under his skin - which he deserves", said one protester wishing to go by the name Fatimah.

"I did a lot of soul searching because people were attacking me for it", said Tiah.

"I'd like to thank the press".

"I'm definitely anxious about letting in unvetted people when we have people who have been waiting properly for five to six years to come into our country". "They understand that I'm trapped into - not trapped, locked into - an agreement".

Steel fences surrounded the downtown property early Tuesday ahead of the grand opening ceremony. Trump signs took part in a raucous demonstration to the sound of reggae music outside. "I don't feel like that comes from Donald Trump".

His letter called Trump's positions "hateful" and at odds with the tolerance that's helped Vancouver consistently rank among the world's most livable cities.

"We wanted to be able to change a skyline", Donald Trump Jr said at the opening ceremony. The other group planned a march to repudiate what it said would be "a time in our city where a name of such a hateful man will be celebrated".

The media was taken on a tour of the hotel, which included stops at Ivanka Trump's spa, a view of the rooms where reporters could take a look at the protest below, and the night club.

Brent Toderian, Vancouver's former chief planner, tweeted the statement was "so far from being true, it's laughable".

"There would be severe legal implications", he said in a recent interview.

Other reports by iNewsToday