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21 days 1 hour to go – Walkabout #3

January 22, 2010

I had a really great time on Walkabout #3.  I think everyone did.  We met at the opening of the Olympic Line at the Olympic Village Canada Line station at 9:30am.  There were lots of people I knew there: Tex, Keith, and Radar who all came walkabout with me, as well as Merritt, Andrew, Frank and a few others.  We chatted for a while as we waited for the festivities to start.  There was hot chocolate with marshmallows, Olympic athletes signing autographs, and the Vancouver 2010 Mascots were dancing to jazz by a small group with Dal Richards.  There were City of Vancouver folk, Granville Island folk (in fancy new jackets), Bombardier folk and lots of others.  Frank even managed to find a Bombardier representative with pins to spare for us, so I got to add a new pin to my collection.  Thanks Frank and Bombardier!

After some opening comments the Olympic Line was ready for guests.  Tex, Andrew and I were on the third car to head to Granville Island.  The streetcars on the Olympic Line are really quite cool.  They’re narrower than a SkyTrain but really very nice.  Swish even with beautiful seating and digital display screens.  The trip takes about 6 minutes and is rather fascinating.  I’m sure the line is going to get a lot of use!  The streetcars will be running from January 21 to March 21 from 6:30am to 12:30am (18 hours!), and the ride is always free!  I certainly recommend checking it out and will fully support any sort of expansion of a street car program in Vancouver.

Keith, Tex and I on an Olympic Line streetcar.

From there we rode the Canada Line out to YVR to take a look around.  For me this was meant to be a chance to explore some of the Olympic advertising and to stroll through the Public Observation Area.  For Radar and Tex this was a chance to trade for some pins.  Watching these two at work was pretty hilarious.  Their eyes were searching everyone at YVR for the glint of a lapel pin.  Needless to say it took us a little longer than I anticipated to get out of the airport and back onto the Canada Line.

Our next stop was at Richmond-Brighouse, the furthest south stop on the Canada Line.  From there we walked down to Richmond City Hall to see how the preparations for Richmond’s O Zone were going.  Well, that was my plan, but the layout isn’t entirely evident yet so we stopped in City Hall to ask directions (and for pins).  We were rapidly running out of time so all we saw of the O Zone was the frame that the Inniskillin Ice Gate by artist Gord Halloran will be.  I am looking forward to getting back here to check it out during the Games.  Plus, Inniskillin will have an ice wine tasting bar open by the Ice Gate during Games time.  Excellent!

We got back onto the Canada Line and headed for Queen Elizabeth Park.  I had planned on going there for two reasons, Rob, a gardener at the park (and a pin head) had offered to give us a bit of a tour and the Vancouver Olympic and Paralymic Centre where all of the curling and wheelchair curling is taking place is just visible from the top of the park.  We climbed to the top of the hill to meet up with Rob and got to see the park from his point of view as a gardener and care-taker.  It was a wonderful stop.  I had mentioned before that I had not been and now I have no idea why not.  It is beautiful!  There are wonderful views of the city and mountains.  The Bloedel Conservatory is filled with lush tropical plants and birds.  The feeling I had in the park was one of peace and wonder.  If you haven’t been, please go.  If you have, go again.  And if you enjoy the Bloedel Conservatory then please consider donating to their fundraising campaign to save it from closure, currently scheduled for May 1.

Left to right: Keith, Radar, Rob and Tex at the Small Quarry at Queen Elizabeth Park.

The Bloedel Conservatory.

Rob and his buddy Casey in the Bloedel Conservatory.

From Queen Elizabeth Park we headed back downtown.  We all had little chores to do before lining up for CTV pins so that was the end of Walkabout #3.  If you’d like to see more photos of the day please check out the album here.

Thank you merci to everyone that came along for Walkabout #3, to Rob for being our tour guide and to you for reading.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    January 22, 2010 6:12 pm

    Thank you for the link for donating to save the Bloedel Conservatory campaign. We must stop this insane plan for closure by the City!
    Did you get a chance to determine the length of the walk to the Curling venue?
    Was it you that said umbrellas were to be prohibited at venues? It is only large ones that will not be allowed. Regular size ones are fine.

  2. January 22, 2010 9:37 pm

    Sounds like you got around. Thanks for sharing ! I’ve done the trip out to Richmond a few times on the train – it really is amazing how much rapid transit makes the larger city seem small, same feeling i get when i’m in other world class cities like New York.

    I was at the “Ozone” site last week, and too was surprised to see that there has been NO prep work to date. Considering the size of the public space, compared to what is going on at other venues, it seems like they are leaving it to the last minute. However, I know it will be fantastic and ready on time, Richmond seems to be pretty efficient in most things they do !

    FYI – another city venue is UBC Thunderbird Arena. Not much to see there yet… The (miles of) fencing and tents are up, but not the wrap. However, this week giant VANOC ‘look’ stickers appeared on the entrance doors… the first Olympic look for the building, so that is exciting ! Always lots to see and do at the University for a future walk-about 😉

  3. January 22, 2010 10:00 pm

    I got married on Queen E Park, in Seasons Restaurant. Stunningly beautiful venue.

  4. Tom permalink
    January 25, 2010 1:52 am

    Will the park be open to the public during the Olympics? It would be nice to visit it before or after a curling event.


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