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55 days after Vancouver 2010 – Public Opening of the Athlete’s Village

May 15, 2010

It’s so hard to believe that it has been 55 days since the Closing Ceremonies of the Paralympic Winter Games of Vancouver 2010.  From the days when I was known more often as 2010vanfan than as Andrea.  But here we are.  And, for the first time in a while, all us folks in Vancouver had a “Vancouver 2010” event to celebrate.  Today was the public opening of the Vancouver Athlete’s Village.  And it was quite the party!

Only some of the condominiums in the Village had been sold already, the rest are coming on the market now.  So this event was a way to generate sales as well as really, the first chance for the public to see what the Athlete’s Village was like, and what it will becoming in the next few months and years.  And really?  It was fascinating, in so many ways.

Businesses that will be opening in the coming months had displays.  These businesses include Urban Fare (a grocery store), London Drugs and Starbucks.  The wonderfully beautiful Salt Building will host a microbrew pub-restaurant amongst other businesses (it really is a gigantic building) and there will be a lot of public space, in the square and along the Seawall, where people will be able to gather amongst new art pieces and beautifully designed landscaping.  I think that marketers are amazing people.  I do truly believe that many Vancouverites would have been happy to come down and see the Village, but a lot of little extras were offered to entice us all into this new community.

If you were one of the first 250 ‘blue jackets’ into the Village (with your accreditation) you received a $25 gift card for London Drugs (I happily was in the 250 and have already used mine to buy myself some Cold-FX for my trip, fend off any ‘airplane air’ bugs).  The various businesses entering the community had hot dogs, iced tea and other products available by donation.  The Olympic and Paralympic Medals were on display for a while.  There was a ‘passport’ contest on where if you collected stamps from the display suites you could enter to win prizes.  Olympic and Paralympic banners were available for purchase.  Olympic and Paralympic athletes were available for autographs.  Even more exciting (to me at least, and yes, I am silly) was the presence of one of the inflatable beavers from the Olympic Closing Ceremonies!  I’d also like to mention that John Furlong was there for the Opening, amongst many other dignitaries that I do respect, but John, well, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to hear his name without feeling awe, respect, joy and gratefulness.

Nerdbird and a giant beaver!

John Furlong speaking to the crowd in front of the Salt Building – he got the loudest cheers.

Back to the event itself…  I found it odd.  Very odd.  This is because I am spoiled as I was already quite familiar with a lot of the buildings and spaces of the Village from my time volunteering there.  It was strange to see so many people in it.  It was strange to see the Salt Building wide open, without couches and video games.  It was odd, though fantastic, to see the new bird sculptures in the plaza.  It was wonderful to see how much everyone was enjoying the area.  It was busy and excited, but in a laid back exploratory sort of way.  I wish all new neighbourhoods could be welcomed to our cities with this sort of party!

One of the sparrow sculptures in the Plaza.

And the other. They are really quite spectacular in person!

Besides the Village opening my day also involved meeting up with Rachael, my Uncle Michael, and Charlie for lunch.  We went toFloata restaurant in Chinatown for dim sum.  This was my second time there and I was much more daring.  It’s a good thing that other people had an idea what they do and do not like as I would have just said yes to everything!  There are so many wonderful things to eat, but even with restraint, I left stuffed (done in by the green dessert dumplings with a seasame seed filling, divine!).  I also visited some friends that were having a get-together at Kits (Kitsilano) Beach really quick before heading home (via Granville Island to buy a papaya for breakfast).  Vancouver was perfect today.  Sunny, warm, friendly and welcoming.  And I was covered up enough that I didn’t add to the slight sunburn that I got yesterday.  I always forget at this time of year that the sun will get me if I’m not careful, but I’m reminded now and will be much more careful for the rest of the summer.

It’s just over two days now until I leave for Europe and even though I’m excited… I love this city.  Vancouver is such a beautiful, vibrant, joyful place to be that I am a little sad that I’ll be missing summer here.  I know that I will have wonderful adventures but…

If you have a chance to visit this year – do!  If you live and work here in Vancouver – take a day (or several preferably) to see, to remember, what a wonderful city it is.  And if you find yourself on a patio somewhere, maybe with a bellini, glass of BC wine or microbrew beer in hand, take a second to toast the city.  I’ll be thinking of it while I’m away and it would be great to know that you’re all enjoying it as much as you can.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. jo-Anne permalink
    May 16, 2010 6:08 am

    Wonderful post Andrea. Brings back great memories, even though I only got close some time before the Olympics and I had the opportunity to walk behind the Athlete’s Village, it is an amazing place. Can hardly wait to try out the brews at the Salt Building! I may just have to take a walk around that area when I am down in June for “YES” the Tom Petty concert. Will have some time on my hands and hopefully I don’t tire out my girlfriend Sharon. I need her to join in the raucous at the concert. Love the sculptures, great addition to an already great place. And the Beaver is huge in comparison to your tiny little self. Never would have imagined the size even though I saw them at the Closing with you. Have a great day.

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      May 16, 2010 6:30 am

      Thanks again Jo, for always reading and for all of your support.

      You will definitely have to walk through the Village, it’s beautiful. And have a tonne of fun at the concert! I can’t imagine how great it would be to see Tom Petty live!! 🙂

  2. Leslie permalink
    May 16, 2010 6:11 am

    Have a great trip to Europe. Since you mentioned you will be missing the Vancouver summer I guess you are going for an extended period. Hope the Volcano ash does not interfere with your flight(s).
    Was nice to see a blog update again. Since I could not be present at the Village opening it is nice to read your update on it.

    John Furlong is surely being spoiled now, I was present on Tuesday (May 11) when the Skytrain was unveiled with his name on it. What will John be doing next ….

    Happy travels for you!

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      May 16, 2010 6:29 am

      Thanks for commenting Leslie! And yes, I hope the volcano doesn’t interfere with my flight either!

      I do imagine that John Furlong is on the easy side of the Games now but I’m starting to wonder if he’s ever going to get a vacation?! I imagine it’s been a while. Where was his name unveiled on the Skytrain? I would love to see that.

      Thanks again,

  3. May 16, 2010 7:50 am

    Friday I went into Vancouver for part of the day and then yesterday I was at the Village, as I’m a blue jacket too. I’ve fallen in love with our city all over again. I met up with some of my EVS Athletes’ Marshalls team and we reaffirmed that the Olympic spirit is alive and well!

    It was a great day-so much fun and so many new memories to add to what was our 2010 Olympic experience.

  4. Tom permalink
    May 17, 2010 1:53 am

    See you in London!

  5. Sarah permalink
    February 2, 2011 12:32 am

    I LOVE those sparrows, what wonderful sculpures! And the BEAVER! It deserves a capslock!
    This will be my last post here so THANKYOU for everything you’ve brought the readers over the year. I’ve enjoyed it so much and feel I know your home that little bit better.
    I’ll keep an eye out of course, at Nerdbird and if you’re heading to 2012 London next year and are blogging that!
    Take Care Andrea!

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