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History Post-confederation (1867-)

The Last Gang in Town

The Epic Story of the Vancouver Police vs. the Clark Park Gang

by (author) Aaron Chapman

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
Post-Confederation (1867-), General, Organized Crime, British Columbia (BC)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price

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Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Prize finalist; Canadian Historical Association's Clio Prize for BC winner

Decades before organized crime syndicates brought sensational drug wars to Vancouver, street gangs held sway over its unruly east side. None was considered tougher or more feared than the Clark Park gang, a wild, two-fisted crew of characters from Vancouver's post-1960s counterculture.

In 1972, after a number of headline-making riots and clashes with police--including an infamous altercation outside a Rolling Stones concert--the Clark Parkers became the target of a secret undercover police squad. Their hostile interactions culminated in a notorious police shooting, resulting in the death of a Clark Park gang member.

Combining meticulous research with a keen flair for storytelling, The Last Gang in Town features previously unpublished photos and police documents, as well as testimonials by surviving gang members and police officers who speak for the first time on the subject. The book is a compelling portrait of early-1970s Vancouver and an intriguing and sensational history that puts the spotlight on the after-dark underbelly of the city's not-so-distant criminal past.

About the author

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver's entertainment history. He is the author of Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City's Nightlife, winner of the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2020; The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver's Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver's Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; Vancouver Vice: Crime and Spectacle in the City's West End; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015 (a new edition appears in 2023). In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Vancouver.

Aaron Chapman's profile page


  • Winner, Canadian Historical Association Clio Prize (for BC)
  • Short-listed, Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Prize

Editorial Reviews

The Last Gang in Town provides vivid firsthand accounts from both sides - how the Vancouver Police tackled, literally and figuratively, the largest youth gang problem in the city in the early 1970s, and a detailed look at policing strategies just prior to the passing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. -Jim Chu, Vancouver Police Chief Constable (Retired)

Well researched and written, with a narrative impulse that will appeal to a wide public, it will fascinate anyone interested in the urban histories of youth, crime, and policing in twentieth-century North America. -BC Studies

The Last Gang in Town will captivate students of crime and law enforcement and those who remember East Vancouver in the 1970s. It will also fascinate anyone keen on understanding today's very different East Van through the lens of its fighting past. -Spacing Vancouver

A colourful tale that Aaron Chapman tells deftly in his new book. -Vancouver Sun

An engaging story ... Chapman takes his readers through some critical events that put the Clark Park gang on police radar. -The Province

The Last Gang in Town is a fascinating look back at older Vancouver. -Global BC News

This bloody, deadly, yet little-known story has finally been captured and brought to life in print by local historian and award-wining author Aaron Chapman in his new book ... one of the punchiest books to come out about Vancouver in a long time. -The West Ender

Just as he did in Liquor, Lust and the Law, his history of the Penthouse Nightclub, Chapman seamlessly splices true crime and social history, this time to recount the exploits of the Clark Park Gang, which was dedicated not to illegal enterprise so much as to rumbling for its own sake. -Georgia Straight

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