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  1. #1

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    Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Welcome to Vancouver 2010!


    I was in Vancouver over the last four days to take in all the stuff that was going on around the city for the 2010 Winter Olympics. So without further ado, let the trip report begin.


    My dad and I did this trip together. I traveled from Kelowna while my dad came over from Vancouver Island. We stayed at a friend’s place in Surrey. All our transportation from Surrey to Vancouver and to Richmond was done by bus, SkyTrain, Canada Line, and on foot. It’s quite possible we walked 80 km during the four days.

    To give you a picture of how busy these games are, I took a number of photos of the lineups and crowds as well.

    The key was to get to attractions and pavilions early. To beat the crowds, our first destination was the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza on the west side of the new convention centre that is serving as the International Broadcast Centre (IBC). The IBC is right beside Canada Place.

    There was controversy surrounding public access to the cauldron that got global coverage in the media. This first photo shows why. There was a chain link fence surrounding the cauldron.



    However, VANOC made some changes and made a gap in the fence so people could get unobstructed photos. Can you spot the floating Olympic Rings in the photo?



    Here I am at the chain link fence:



    VANOC also provided a viewing deck. That’s where the two police officers are standing in the photo:



    A line was already forming for the viewing deck. We got there early so the line was short. We only waited for about 30 minutes but it was worth it to get a photo like this:


    Here I am on the upper viewing deck:



    The lineup for the viewing deck grew enormously. Like I said we were lucky we got there when we did. I think the lineup down the stairs ended up being about 1 hour or so:




    A big crowd forming to view the cauldron:




    Big crowds around the International Broadcasting Centre:



    After we did our cauldron viewing, we hopped onto the Canada Line, a Rapid Transit Line that was built and completed for the games. You can now take the Canada Line from downtown to the Vancouver Airport and Richmond. Our destination was Richmond. Here’s a photo in the tunnel:



    Coming out of the tunnel near the Fraser River:



    Here’s Marine Drive Station:



    On the bridge crossing the Fraser River:



    And our destination, The O Zone celebration site in Richmond:



    The Holland Heineken House:
    (we didn’t go in as the lineup was quite big)


    This colorful display was outside Richmond’s City Hall. Since the Lunar New Year was happening at the same time, these were animals from the Chinese Zodiac taking part in various winter sports. They were made from some fabric and were lit-up:




    We then checked out BC Street, a bunch of tents with tourism displays from the various regions around the province:




    An artist working on a sand sculpture:



    Displays at BC Street:







    A big screen setup so people could watch the games. We watched a bit of men’s ski cross. I saw the Jamaican guy go and I got to give him credit, he did quite well in the run that I saw.



    The ponds in front of City Hall served as a tribute to Richmond’s Cranberry farms, yes all that red you see are cranberries:





    City Hall’s Venue City banner:



    Across the street from City Hall there was a Ferris wheel setup, admission was free:



    The reason why the Ferris wheel was there was so that people could get a view of the giant COC (Canadian Olympic Committee) logo in the adjacent sports field. And what do you think it was made out of? Yup cranberries…
    The logo was so big I had to get it in two shots.



    Lineup for the Ferris wheel. It was quite long, but no wonder, it was free:



    One of the girls working at the COC logo:




    A bit of a story about the cranberry displays:



    Inside City Hall were some exhibits, the most interesting being the Speed Skating exhibit:






    Team Canada’s skating uniforms on display:




    Our next destination was the Richmond Oval, home to long track speed skating. Here’s the east end of the building:



    Here’s the west end of the building. Couldn’t get any closer because of the security perimeter:



    Here’s the north side with the ticket booth:



    Every venue has this obelisk. It’s internally lit at night and changes color:




    Here’s Skate Canada’s House, normally it’s UBC’s rowing club I think:



    An Inukshuk with the Skate Canada logo:



    After our time at the oval, we went back to the Canada Line and rode it to the Olympic Village station where we boarded the demonstration Olympic Line street car which took us to Granville Island:



    At Granville Island, we caught a performance of Grand Dťfilť of Big Nazo a collection of drummers and whimsical alien beings:





    Will the real Carrot Top please stand up…



    After the performance, we went to check out the Place de la Francophonie 2010. There was a bunch of displays and exhibits inside:



    After Granville Island, we took the Olympic Line back to the Canada Line and went back to the waterfront to get some night shots of the Olympic Rings and the Cauldron:




    That concluded our 1st day. We took SkyTrain back to Surrey. Every station was adorned with these posters featuring Team Canada captain Scott Niedermayer. We got a kick out of it as Scotty’s a family friend of ours:



    And that’s day one. I’ll post Day 2 in an hour or two.
    Last edited by Barbossa; 04-10-2010 at 06:39 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Cool Barbossa!! Great TR!!!!!

  3. #3

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Interesting pictures, Barbossa!! I have never been to an Olympics before...


  4. #4

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Good stuff. I never did make it out to the Richmond O-zone, though I suppose I still could. After several days of standing in long line-ups last week I got a bit burned out.

    I'm not a fan of the viewing platform for the cauldron. I think it looks better with the mountains in the background. I wish they'd come up with a better security perimeter than an ugly fence, to allow for some better photos. However, when one considers this is the most accessible cauldron in games history, I think they have done a good job with it overall.

    Quite the line-up for that Ferris Wheel. It really does amaze me sometimes how much time and effort people will put in to get something for free.
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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Outstanding report thus far, Barbossa!

    I'm looking forward to the rest!

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Day 2: Feb 22

    Our destination on Monday was the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibit is called: Leonardo Da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man. The exhibit features original anatomy drawings from The Royal Collection. These drawings are on public display for the first time. Hereís the art galleryís webpage about the exhibit:
    http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_leonardo_da_vinci.html
    The exhibit runs until May 2, so if any of you are in Vancouver post-games, itís definitely worth checking out.

    On the way to the art gallery, we passed by these art pieces on Robson:






    The Bay department store (HBC) all done up for the Olympics:



    The big Canada flag building wrap:



    Pacific Centre done up as an igloo:



    The Vancouver Art Gallery with giant floral panels (the art gallery is the former Vancouver court house building):



    The Omega Paralympic countdown clock, still counting down:



    The Omega Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics countdown clock (now counting up), on the reverse side of the Paralympic clock:



    The clock with the Samsung building wrap:



    The Samsung wrap with a reflection of the Vancouver Hotel:



    We got to the art gallery about one hour before the exhibit was set to open. While my dad held our spot in line, I went around the corner to take some photos in Robson Square, the site of one of Vancouverís Celebration Sites.

    Some of you may have seen footage on TV of the Robson Square zipline. Hereís where the line started and from this point it was an 8 hour wait, seriously! However it was free admission so thatís why the long line.



    So far a quiet morning at Robson Square with kids playing hockey on the ice rink:




    A future Luongo?



    The ice rinkís Orca Zamboni:



    The bird sculpture with the Zamboni doing its thing on the ice:



    The art gallery was also the home to the BC Pavilion:



    Another side of the Samsung wrap:



    Banners on the art gallery for the Leonardo exhibit:



    Another building wrap, for Tourism BC:



    The lineup for the zipline:



    Photography was not allowed in the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. They are the originals after all. However, photos were allowed inside the BC Pavilion which was on the 4th floor:



    These projected salmon actually reacted to your feet:



    Some of the displays:





    And after we left the art gallery, this is how the crowds were in Robson Square:



    A gutsy person on the zipline:



    The end tower for the zipline:



    Lots of free entertainment all around the city:



    A First Nations group from Alaska performed:







    After the performance, it was time for the next show. Here come the mascots:



    There was sort of a mini Ice Capades-style show with the 2010 mascots. Hereís Miga coming out from backstage:




    Miga and Quatchi:



    Quatchi getting suited-up to play hockey:



    GAME ON! Quatchi playing goalie:



    Shortly after, out came Sumi, the Paralympics mascot:



    A Quatchi close-up:



    The finale:



    And now time to meet the mascots, the kids were going nuts:




    The gigantic crowds surrounding the ice rink:



    Miga:



    More entertainment:



    More brave souls on the zipline:



    The crowds on the streets of Vancouver:



    A First Nations guy showing his traditional outfit:



    More entertainment. Notice the snowboarder doing a flip?



    I got to hold a torch:



    The lineup to get into the Official Olympic Store at The Bay department store:



    Building wraps on The Bay building:




    And more street entertainment. Alice Cooper with a snake?



    A balancing act:



    A guy getting out of a straightjacket:



    Team Canada fans:



    Coca Cola ads on the bus stops:



    McDonaldís all decked out:



    Heading to BC Place:



    Street Bobsleigh: A new summer Olympic sport?





    At the Alberta Pavilion, some of the many, many, many, many cops out patrolling (I think there was something like 3000 to 4000 police and armed forces personnel for security for the games):



    The many screening tents around BC Place:



    I took a few photos of BC Place as after the games are over, its roof is getting replaced with a retractable one. BC Place is the venue for opening, closing and victory ceremonies:





    BC Place with GM Place, er, Canada Hockey Place in the back:



    A view of the athletesí village. The village received Platinum LEED certification. Thereís only one other place that received Platinum LEED certification in the world and it is right here in BC (itís a condo development in Victoria on Vancouver Island)



    The Aussieís Fighting Kangaroo flag which ruffled some feathers on the IOC, but everyone loves it:



    A view of False Creek and the Russky Dom, also known as the Russian House. And when the games are over, itís back to being Science World;



    We headed over to the Edgewater Casino at the Plaza of Nations because that is where the International Pin Exchange was located, hosted by the Pacific Pin Club. Outside of the casino they had training tables setup. After playing a few hands the dealer handed you a $10 match play coupon to go play inside:




    Pin trading: the unofficial Olympic games sport!






    There was one problem with pin trading at these games: rather than being at one location, traders were spread throughout the city.

    GM Place, er, Canada Hockey Place lit up at night:



    The Russky Dom lit up at night. This building was the Expo Centre during Expo 86. We all like to call it the golf ball:



    All along the banks of False Creek were all these Inukshuks and balanced rock towers. Apparently a guy by the name of Ziggy spent 12 hours each day setting these up:






    Another pic of the Russky Dom:


    Athletesí Village lit-up at night:



    The Saskatchewan Pavilion (we actually ran out of time so we didnít see what was in there):



    As I said we didnít go into the Saskatchewan Pavilion but a funny thing happened there to us. Outside of the Pavilion there were some First Nations drummers performing. About eight people were watching them including my dad and I. I heard a couple of guys walk up that were speaking Czech. I understand Czech as my parents are from the Czech Republic. Anyway, I listened to these two guys talk and I glanced over. There, a couple feet beside me was Jaromir Jagr! The Czech teamís opening ceremony flag bearer and Pittsburgh Penguin. Shortly after him and his buddy walked away, a few hockey fans recognized him and got a photo. So what did we do? Ran after him calling his name in Czech and were lucky enough to get a photo with him. Unfortunately the photo was taken with my dadís camera so I wonít be getting it until next week. It was a cool highlight of that evening. I guess Jagr was heading off to the Molson Canadian Hockey House, were celebrities could be found hanging out. Jagr seemed pretty tired and beat-up. Must've been Ovechkin.




    Hereís the Quebec Pavilion:



    This guy was doing spin tricks on a giant hoop:




    The Saskatchewan and Quebec Pavilions:



    BC Place at night:



    We then headed over to the Russky Dom to get photos of it at night, getting ready for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi:






    At the McDonaldís across the street from Science World, er Russky Dom, the sign had a giant gold medal wrapped around it:



    And that concludes day 2. Iíll post days 3 and 4 tomorrow. Got to go to bed now and catch-up on some sleep from the last five days!

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Love this report! SO MANY PEOPLE!!! Looks like a great time.
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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Absolutely amazing pictures! This is, by far, one of the best trip reports I have ever read on MiceChat! I cannot wait to read about the rest of your trip.

    Thanks for the picture of the McDonalds! I had a flashback memory of going there with my brother and cousin.
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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    And now I am regretting my decision not to go up there for a weekend.
    Fight On! Beat the Beavers!

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Awsome pictures! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see the rest!
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  11. #11

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatpete View Post
    And now I am regretting my decision not to go up there for a weekend.
    It's not too late! The atmosphere and excitement is really something to behold, even if you, like me, have just about zero interest in the actual sporting events.

    The Saskatchewan Pavilion (we actually ran out of time so we didnít see what was in there):
    You missed your chance to pose for a picture holding a giant rubber fish!
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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Slight delay in posting days 3 and 4 folks. I got caught up in watching the hockey game tonight and following that I watched the Bobsleigh replays from earlier today. Will post tomorrow evening.

    WE'RE GOING TO THE GOLD HOCKEY GAME!!!!!

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Thanks so much for all of the wonderful pictures! I feel like I've been there now! Well, if I had, I'd be broke from buying Russian Olympics apparel, oh how I'd die for one of their jackets.

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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Cool photos... thx for sharing. The only time I was in Vancouver it was all dark and rainy - we never got out during the sun hours. That might have something to do with only being in bars and clubs mostly... but thx for sharing!
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    Re: Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics - a four day trip report

    Despite receiving some sad news today as I reported in another thread, I decided to go ahead with my report for day 3 of my trip, at least it’s helping me cope a little. So, let’s get to it…

    Day 3: Feb 23, 2010

    On Tuesday, our destination was the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion, one of thee most popular pavilions at the Olympics, with wait times of up to 7 hours! We got there around 8:00 am and still ended up waiting about 3 and a half hours, however, it was well worth it as an unexpected surprise awaited us inside.

    This was the line-up shortly after we arrived;



    The entrance to the Pavilion, this building is actually a business campus for Simon Fraser University:



    A bigger crowd forming:



    On the opposite corner was this Canadian Medal Alarm. I guess each time we won a medal, the lights would turn on and a siren would go off:



    More people in the street:



    The pavilion decked out:



    What a crowd, huh?



    Signs with the mascots and “Welcome” in all the languages were all around town:



    We finally entered the pavilion and we lucked out as they didn’t let anybody else in for nearly 30 minutes. When we got in there was a podium setup near the stairs, and whole bunch of media crews with cameras. Obviously this was setup for someone special, and yes it was. Men’s mogulist, Alexandre Bilodeau, our first gold medalist of the games, and the first Canadian to win gold on home soil was there. The Canadian Mint and Canada Post presented him with some keepsakes; a framed blueprint of his gold medal, a commemorative gold coin, and a framed Canada Post Official First Day cover. Here’s some pics of the ceremony:

    That’s Alexandre in the red Team Canada jacket:




    The media and crowd:






    And finally Alex took the podium and thanked everyone for their support, it was a proud moment:



    This was visible from the balcony:




    Then it was off to the medal viewing room. This was the first time in Olympics history that the regular public could handle the medals.

    Here is the Paralympic bronze medal in my hand, which is solid copper:



    Here is the backside of the Paralympic gold medal, notice it has Braille, also notice that the shape is more of a square, the Olympic medals are round:



    The front:



    Here’s the Olympics gold medal:




    Hard to see because of my camera, but I’m holding the gold:



    These are the native designs that were “cookie cutted” from. There are no two medals that are alike. All got a different piece of the art:




    Some of the equipment used to shape the medals:



    3 more Olympic medals on display behind glass:



    The medal’s ribbon with the slogan of the games, “With Glowing Hearts”;


    Three more Paralympic medals on display:



    Blueprints for the medals:




    This guy was there to give info about the medals and to answer any questions. He was also the machinist on the medals project:



    Here I started drooling like Homer Simpson, the $1,000,000 coin on display, it was about a foot and a half wide:




    Mmmmmmm gold:



    Special coins on display, if I recall, these were $2500 gold coins:






    Another shot of the inside of the pavilion, looking towards the entrance:



    After the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion, we headed to David Lam Park in Yaletown for the city’s second celebration site. On the way there, we stopped by the old Canadian Pacific Roundhouse where steam locomotive 374 is on static display. Locomotive 374 is significant to the city of Vancouver as it pulled the first train into the city. If anyone was in Vancouver for Expo 86, you may remember 374 sitting on the turntable outside of the roundhouse.



    Unfortunately, after having a couple of great sunny days on my trip, it started to rain again, and, on top of that, I didn’t have an umbrella with me. I should’ve known better, this is Vancouver afterall. Somewhere I can hear David Duchovny complaining about the rain right now.

    Our first pavilion stop was the Coca Cola Pavilion:




    And the displays inside:




    Collector bottles and cans from various past Olympic games:







    Some torches on display, here’s Beijing’s:



    Here’s Torino’s and Athens’:



    An outfit that was prepared for the Calgary ’88 Winter Olympics;



    Giant art bottles on display:




    The giant lit-up bottle inside the pavilion, they also projected images on the ceiling and walls:




    The Coca Cola Polar Bear mascot. This costume was great. It was like something out of a Jim Henson production. His mouth moved, his eyes blinked and his ears moved:



    To see him in action, check out these videos from inside the pavilion:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-60fxJOl2Ds"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-60fxJOl2Ds[/ame]
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqSDFg6KyjQ"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqSDFg6KyjQ[/ame]
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oa7LnofYbQ"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oa7LnofYbQ[/ame]
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZucbrYxSJo"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZucbrYxSJo[/ame]

    And another picture with the torch provided for free from Coca Cola:
    (if you are wondering, they did the same thing like at Disneyland, where you got photo from a website, but unlike Disneyland, Coke did provide them for free)



    Next, we went to the Panasonic Pavilion. I actually didn’t get any photos of the inside. It was mainly a presentation for their 3D TVs. We got to try them out and they are pretty awesome. When they hit the market later this year and I can afford one, I’ll definitely get one.

    Next we went into the Samsung Pavilion. This girl was performing. I forget her name but she was cute and quite talented, so I took her pic. Sorry for the blurry photo, it’s my cheapo camera:



    The inside of the Samsung Pavilion basically ad all there cell phones on display and a few hands on games that, upon completing them, you could win a prize.

    And here are photos of the pavilions from outside lit-up at night:





    The celebration site stage:



    A display at the Vancouver House, which was also in David Lam Park:



    And a couple more photos of the Coca Cola pavilion:




    We then left David Lam Park and headed to the Edgewater casino to do some pin trading. However, we never made it to the casino. We got a cool surprise. As we were nearing the main entrance to BC Place and Canada Hockey Place, a Vancouver 2010 volunteer approached us and asked if we’d like to go see the medal ceremony that night. We asked how much he was selling them for and he said that someone passed them on to him and that he was supposed to give them to anybody that wanted them. Hey, we couldn’t pass this up. The tickets were valued at $22 apiece.

    Here’s the Vancouver 2010 sign outside of BC Place Stadium:



    Here’s how it was setup for the Victory Ceremony:




    The Olympic flag being raised:



    The first presentation was for speed skating, men’s 10,000 meters.
    Gold: Seung-Hoon Lee (Korea)
    Silver: Ivan Skobrev (Russia)
    Bronze: Bob De Jong (Netherlands)





    Flag raising:



    Then a presentation of medals was shown from Whistler on the big screen:



    Then was our big moment, hometown girl Ashleigh McIvor, who won gold in the debut sport of women’s Ski Cross was presented with her medal:





    I never heared O Canada sung louder than at this moment:




    It was a very proud moment for us.



    The countries’ flags draped around the perimeter of the stadium:



    There were about 5 or 6 medal presentations (I lost track) and they alternated between Vancouver and Whistler. After the presentations was the evenings featured concert. That night it was Canadian, and Juno award winner Billy Talent:






    And that concludes day 3. Since I’m in a grieving mode right now, I’ll post day 4 tomorrow after the closing ceremonies.

    I wish these games would’ve ended on a happier note for me as I lost my buddy today. The Georgians lost luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the start of the games; someone that could’ve had the potential of becoming a national hero for them. Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette lost her mother Therese during the games, just a few days before she skated to a bronze medal win. But, perhaps even sad moments make global events like the Olympics more memorable. I have gained a greater admiration for Olympic athletes and the tough challenges they have to go thru when it’s time to perform in front of a global audience.

    I’ve shed tears for all three, but, as Joannie pulled thru her situation, I will too. I will remember my bud fondly, and with that being said I’m looking forward to watching the men’s gold medal hockey game tomorrow and the closing ceremonies to a memorable Winter Olympics. Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 4.

    Go Scotty Go! Make it 14 golds for Canada!
    Last edited by Barbossa; 02-28-2010 at 12:42 AM.

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