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.