In Loving Memory of Ulrike Bemvinda Rodrigues

We are sorry to share the news that Ulrike died unexpectedly on January 3, 2021 due to a neurological event at age 59. As far as we can tell she died at home in her sleep. The coroner has not yet completed an autopsy.

Ulrike will be missed by many, including her mother Ursula Rodrigues, widowed, brother and sister-in-law Jürgen and Kim Rodrigues, brother and sister-in-law Yvan (Tiger) and Sarah Rodrigues, high-school friend Chris Sprague, and countless friends across the world.

Ulrike spent her youth in Guelph, Ontario.  She attended Centennial High School, involved in the school newspaper and Guelph's emerging punk rock scene. She graduated from University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts, and worked in graphics and commercial art before moving to Vancouver in her late twenties.

In recent years she has focused on writing, cycling, and travel, and has played a key role in Vancouver's homes-not-hotels movement as Vancouver residents found affordable housing displaced by Air-BnB rentals. Throughout her life Ulrike has welcomed a diverse array of friends. She has contributed to the music and arts communities, and has been heavily involved in the Vancouver bike scene.

A few months ago Ulrike started experiencing symptoms of loss of memory, difficulty writing and using the computer, and fatigue resulting in her quitting her job to pursue testing. Sadly the problem was more severe and acute than anyone realized, and she passed away before her scheduled MRI appointment later in the month.

Ulrike generously willed her apartment to Atira Women's Resource Society to be used as furnished housing, and her savings to create an endowment fund called Basic Needs + Mitey Deeds – a legacy fund to connect women and girls to shelter, support, and potential.

Respecting her wishes, there will not be a funeral. Please help commemmorate her by sharing your memories here.

Share Your Memories

Please take a moment to share your memories and photos of the time you have spent with Ulrike by clicking this link: Share a memory.

by Lois Patterson on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 11:06

Uli loved to travel, I loved Mexico City, and she encouraged me to travel there with her for her first visit to this amazing metropolis. We did so in December 2018/January 2019 over Christmas and New Year. What a wonderful trip. We also had several other trips, a little less exciting, but she always found new and interesting things to see and do.

I remember marveling at Uli's insistence on getting her will done correctly and thoughtfully. Did she have a sense of her early mortality? The past year had been tough with most of our favorite things canceled. In November, she reported her memory issue, and I had urged her to investigate further. I am glad that Uli insisted on doing so much travel over the years, rather than focusing on more conventional pursuits.

by Trish Burt on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 10:24

In June 2016 Ulrike travelled to Sydney Australia and sought me out as a fellow community activist battling against illegal short-term rentals. We met for coffee on Sydney's north shore and I invited Ulrike to come and stay with me after she had finished her motorbike trip around southern Australia. We visited the Blue Mountains during her stay and shared many stories of our common experiences.

In July 2017, during a trip to Canada to visit relatives and friends, I again met up with Ulrike on two occasions - at the beginning and at the end of my travels. On the first occasion, we met for coffee in Ulrike's regular coffee house, close to her home. It was pouring with rain, which didn't stop us then exploring Vancouver's foreshore. On my return, the sun shone brightly.

In June 2018 Ulrike posted to social media that she was taking some time out from campaigning as she was 'travelling in Europe'. I immediately wrote to her and asked if she would be in either England or France, advising that at that time I was at University in Toulouse. Ulrike immediately replied, writing that as chance would have it, she was biking along the tow path on the Canal du Midi and was, by coincidence, about to pass on by Toulouse the next day. Instead missing city, she came into town and stayed with me in my student's digs. We spent a couple of fantastic days together.

Today in Sydney, I sat having a coffee with a young Italian chef; he was taking a break from work at the cafe where I go daily. His workplace, right near the Sydney Opera House, is staffed by Italians and Nepalese and they very much support me in this time of COVID. I told my young chef of the wonderful friends I have in Vancouver and elsewhere and stated how much they were on my mind and that I must write to them to say that I'm so concerned about their welfare. Did I get around to writing? No. Am I saddened at the news of Ulrike's passing? Profoundly.

Ulrike and I share a common passion - everyone's right to safe, secure, affordable housing. I was going to write to tell Ulrike that the situation in the building in which I had lived for 19 years - the apartment in Sydney where she had stayed with me - had become so unbearable that I had given up. Two weeks ago I moved, to a much better, far more secure and welcoming building. For my peace of mind and general health, I simply had to let 'the pack' - the illegal short-term rental operators and their collaborators in my former building - win; however, their win and my departure has been my absolute gain. I was sick and tired of the constant, decade-long level of harrassment and threats received, due to our stance on housing and the proprietary rights of those whose desire is simply to live in a residential community. The unnamed troll who targets me on Social Media has also had Ulrike in (his)/her sights and has publicly harrassed Ulrike, due simply because of her connection with me.

Today we have lost such a remarkable friend. Astonishing how in all honesty Ulrike has been front-and-centre of thoughts, as if her spirit was so close. Go with all our love Ulrike. Enjoy the grand adventures, and please do watch over us if and when you have time. You are so loved and will be remembered always. Trish Burt

by Jose Lourenco on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 10:12

I'm really saddened to hear of Ulrike's passing. When she was in Goa she joined our Goa Writers group and was quite an enthusiastic member. I remember her great passion for cycling. She was a very fine ambassador of the cycle, and she loved that the bicycle was still very ubiquitous and popular as an everyday vehicle in Goa and the rest of India. She was always sweet and courteous to talk to, and quite modest, considering that she had travelled so much and had such diverse experiences. GW salutes Ulrike and her legacy. She will always live in our hearts.

by Jamshed Mistry on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 10:03

Met her for the first time at the International Centre Goa !! We then reconnected in Vancouver in 2011 . Met her several times including visiting the Art gallery and walking around the city !! Her cycling and little motorcycle trips were epic !!

She visited our home in Mumbai in 2014 . We then met again a few years later in 2017 and kept in touch over Facebook !! Her smiling face and sense of humor will always remain in my mind !! God bless her soul and all her family and friends !! Jamshed

by Jurgen Rodrigues on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 09:49

My memories of Ulrike all come from our time growing up in Toronto and Guelph. She was a live-in playmate. Somebody to pester regardless of the time of day. Of course, playing with Ulrike often meant grabbing a Barbie and dressing her up. Ulrike didn't even own a Ken doll until much later.

Sometimes Ulrike would let me tag along with her on excursions. Or perhaps Mama forced her to take me with her. Once we hiked over to the minibike trails near where we lived in Willowdale. She confidently spread out a blanket and we enjoyed a picnic lunch while the dirtbikes zoomed past us with wonder on the faces of the riders.

One of our greatest joys was our annual trip to the Ontario Science Centre. It was just a bus ride down the road but it filled us with great excitement and confidence when we finally made the journey alone.

Ulrike, I'll toast you with a black cherry ice cream cone with visions of the Don Valley ravine etched in my memory.

by Yvan Rodrigues on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 07:17

In 2015 Ulrike and I spent 3 weeks together in Goa. I am so grateful I was able to spend this time with her. This is a blog excerpt:

We are usually up around 8:00, and Ulrike has introduced me to the ritual of Tea and Paó on the front veranda. The air not cool, but not yet hot, it's the perfect time to wake up, breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds and dogs, and maybe do some planning.

Tea and milk is accompanied by Paó with butter and marmelade.

Paó is a legacy from Portuguese colonization. Baked in a central location during the wee hours in the morning in mud-lined ovens, it is distributed by Paó wallers on bicycle, their horn honking as they wind through the residential laneways. It is the perfect combination of thin chewy crust and soft doughiness.

by Sarah Rodrigues on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 15:41

Ulrike's "up for anything" attitude brought passion and fun to the lives of everyone who knew her, and that was never clearer to me than at my bachelorette party. She jumped right in to an event filled with strangers for some raunchy fun. She did shots, played games, and, as a particular highlight to the festivities, won top marks in the clay-sculpting competition for "Most Angry-Looking" sculpture. I'll leave that to your imagination. Thanks for always playing along, Ulrike, we'll miss you!

by Yvan Rodrigues on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 13:46

In 1979 my only record album was Sesame Street. I remember listening to it hundreds of times when I had chicken pox. Clearly disappointed in my musical tastes, Ulrike bought me my first Rock and Roll album, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy by The Who.

Ulrike started a tradition and every year for the next 15 or so years she bought me an album for my birthday, originally on vinyl, and eventually CD. It would be an understatement to say that she was fundamental in growing my musical tastes, which can only be summarized as eclectic.