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 stroke caused by a brain tumour at age 59. As far as we can tell she died at home in her sleep.

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 Chris Sprague on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 15:26

On April 22, 2021 Ulrike would have been 60! She was planning to celebrate this by (can you guess?) going on a trip, probably in Canada.

Maybe if you are out for a bike ride on Earth Day next year you will take Ulrike with you in your heart. She'd have loved to go for the ride with you! Especially if there was a beer, a cocktail or a fun snack involved.

by Meme Thorne on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 15:22

Uli rode into our lives in January 2017 and into our hearts forever. The small community of Willunga, here on the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia, took to Uli’s cheerful and vivacious joy of Life and touched us greatly. The photos I share with you show us with bubbles in hand, because being with Uli was always going to be an occasion for celebration. At the Tour Down Under, at the Groove Garden, at the various wineries and beaches we went to, exhibition openings or with friends.

I am devastated by her untimely death. I send the family and her friends in Vancouver and all over the world, my deepest condolences. Please know that she will always be remembered in Willunga with love and affection. Mémé

by Stephan on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 14:32

Hello,

I was Ulrike's hairdresser for the last few years and found her to be vivacious, full of life, and with such community spirit.

I often admired Ulrike getting out and about exploring her 'great backyard' that was Vancouver with true excitement and wonder, as well the stories she would tell about her various adventures overseas.

Ulrike lived nearby and would often come by my shop with a delicious little treat for me keeping her from 'taking the scissors' to her own bangs'. In fact she came to see me just before Christmas, excited to give me a little gift of Scottish shortbread in the shape of Scotty Dogs (I'm Scottish and have a Scotty dog theme). She was excited for me to open it there and then just so she could see my reaction. I really appreciated her thinking of me with such thought and consideration.

Here is an 'after' picture I took of Ulrike quite recently when I did her hair, which appears on my website.

I am absolutely devastated by this sad news and I will really miss seeing Ulrike's smiling face every couple of months.

Condolences to family and friends. x

by thinkpol.ca on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 12:07

This is an excerpt from this article on thinkpol.ca.

Vancouver housing advocate Ulrike Rodrigues, who fought to stop Airbnb and other short-term rentals platforms displacing renters, has died at the age of 59 from neurological complications, her family announced today.

Rodrigues, who founded the “Homes not Hotels” movement in Vancouver, advocated for stronger regulation and more effective enforcement of short-term rentals in a city gripped by a housing crisis.

In 2019, Rodrigues compiled a comprehensive report to Vancouver City Council citing 47 gaps in the short-term regulation bylaws that allowed illegal short-term rental operators to carry on with business as usual.

In the report, Rodrigues made 12 recommendations to address those gaps in the short-term rental regulatory framework, including setting a cap on the number of nights an operator can list a unit, and negotiating a more meaningful memorandum of understanding with Airbnb.

Rodrigues, a writer who enjoyed cycling and travelling, considered herself an accidental activist.

“I created the Homes Not Hotels Facebook page to increase awareness of the effect of Airbnb (and websites like it) on housing, especially in shared rental and condo apartment buildings,” Rodrigues said in 2019. “It contributes to unavailability, unaffordability, increased rents, and increased home prices.”

“I love to travel, but I also love my home,” Rodrigues said in 2019. “And I hate what Airbnb is doing to homes around the world.”

Rodrigues led a five year battle to shut down a large scale commercial operator who had converted 10% of the units in her condo building into vacation accommodation listed on Airbnb.

Rodrigues and her neighbours celebrated victory earlier in 2020 when B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ordered Zulkider Jiwa to stop using them as tourist accommodation.

by Yvan Rodrigues on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 11:07

This is kind of funny. Our family is in disagreement about how to spell Ulrike's middle name. Our mother and I are sure it was spelled Bemwinda (but pronounced Bemvinda) but others, including Ulrike in her will, spell it Bemvinda. Hopefully we will find her birth certificate to settle this once and for all.

The name is a tribute to our late grandmother, Bemvinda D'Souza of Nachinola, Goa.

by Susan Gallotti on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 11:06

Yvan and Sarah,
I just wanted to formally extend my condolences to you and your family for this unexpected loss. Based on the pictures and comments here, Ulrike certainly seemed like an outgoing, free spirit. I think I would have gotten along with her fabulously. I hope your thoughts gravitate towards warm memories and those memories comfort you during this difficult time.
Much love and virtual hugs to you both,
Susan

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 www.neighboursnotstrangers.com

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

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