Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protests

What was kind of expected, the protesters took hold in Vancouver in the Coal Harbour and west end area this morning. Rebecca said there was coverage on TV of the action, and when Duane and I saw that the group was heading up Robson Street, we grabbed our cameras and ran out to get some shots.

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

Vancouver 2010: Robson Street Protesters

I also shot video while walking behind the crowd. It was impromptu and shaky, but I think it captures some of the atmosphere.

You can see all of the photos I shot in this Flickr set.

People were following this crowd, picking up knocked over newspaper boxes this group of protesters were knocking over as they walked through the streets. The police asked the same man in the video above to cease this act for his own safety. Duane and I stopped following the group shortly after this point for our own safety as well.

Rebecca has a post up. Duane Storey, John Biehler, and Kris Krug all have coverage of this as well.

Squamish: The city between Vancouver 2010 and Whistler, B.C.

On the way back from picking up our media badges from the Whistler Media House, we made a stop over in Squamish, B.C. to tool around the town and see more than the two main pit stops that most people think of when they drive through.

Sunday in Squamish

It goes without saying that there is always more than meets the eye, but it was pretty quick to see why people who live here call this place paradise. Cinci from EAT Communications took us out on a personal tour of the area she calls home.

Sunday in Squamish

Sunday in Squamish

This is where the snow melts from the mountains, runs down their sides, and flows between these banks on the way to the ocean. The water here was crystal clear. You could see why this spot, not far from downtown Squamish, was one of Cinci’s favorite places.

Sunday in Squamish

China and Goose also came along for our explorations, running and playing the whole time in what would probably be like an amusement park for a little kid. This was as close as I could get to get one of these girls to sit still long enough for a shot.

Sunday in Squamish

The playfulness of the dogs was contagious, and DaveO couldn’t help but claim this rusted out jeep. I can’t fathom how it got there, but you just have to recall that this is the outdoor capitol of Canada. Wind surfing, kite surfing, rock climbing, mountain trails, biking, running, camping, etc. So the fact that this bucket of rust is here can’t be all that surprising.

Whistler Olympic Volunteers Boat

This cruise ship was brought to the dock in Squamish as housing quarters for Olympics volunteers in Whistler. Aside from the major road work that upgraded the Sea to Sky Highway that passes through the town, this is the main extent of involvement for this community even though its proximity is near geographically in the middle of Vancouver and Whistler.

The people staying here are apparently bused from this boat to the local Wal-Mart parking lot for staging. Volunteers stock up at the local superstore for everyday living as they go between the boat and Whistler Village, bypassing the core of the Squamish downtown community.

So what does downtown Squamish have to offer that these people might be missing?
Continue reading “Squamish: The city between Vancouver 2010 and Whistler, B.C.”

Getting a feeling for the 2010 Olympics in Whistler with six days before Opening Ceremonies

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

We made a mad dash this past Sunday to Whistler to snag our media accreditation at the Media Centre near the main village. It was a nice opportunity to get a low level feeling on how things are getting prepared for the beginning of the 2010 games at the end of this week.

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

A lot like Vancouver, people are exploring what’s already in place and snapping pics, much like myself.

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

Signage is everywhere. What to do, where to go to do it, etc.

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

Lanyards are as in force in Whistler as they are in Vancouver. So far, I’m up to having three that I’ll be taking with me where ever I go.

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

Ticket sales for events look to be steady. The line here wasn’t too hectic and no one seemed overly disgruntled while waiting in line. That sounds strange, but some prices for tickets are getting way too far out of my range for even consideration. I’ve heard a number of people who are happy to have the tickets but not so much when they talk about how much they paid for them.

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

I think it’s safe to say that the fever has started to rise in Whistler. They have all the snow, but getting up there is the tricky part.

Sea to Sky Highway looks great and is ready to handle the people flowing to and from, but we did see an accident on the way up that was enough to raise plenty of concern for anyone I’ve talked to about it. Basically, the road splits into three lanes about five times between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler. Two lanes is for traffic going one way and one lane for the opposite direction.

Speaking to people who live in the area, there is a lot of concern that even locals are getting confused by these temporary barriers and lane changes that the risk of accidents is actually increased by them. Basically it’s the premise of knowing something like the back of your hand, and these alterations, albeit subtle and only for a short period of time, will make driving this road even more treacherous when you combine all the Olympics traffic and people who are even less familiar with how much care you need to take on this road.

Whistler Village: -5 Days to Vancouver 2010

All fears aside, Whistler looks ready for the games. The people will come, but it should also be said that if you get up there to see some events, you can still spend some time skiing and enjoy the slopes while you’re there. Doing the same around Vancouver might be tough because even if you can get up the mountains, you might have a hard time finding some snow. Not so much in Whistler, that’s for sure.

The high tech and the not so much of Vancouver 2010

This is something that has made me chuckle for a number of trips through the Olympic Village Station on the Canada Line. Located right around the corner from the entrance of the station is the Olympic Line streetcar, which is an amazing piece of technology and is, if I might say so, kinda sexy.

Olympic Line Media Preview

Pretty cool, right? But to let people coming out of the station know which direction to go to get to this marvelous piece of transit equipment, you get this dry erase board.

High-tech sign for Olympic Line at Olympic Village Station

Awesome!

It’s just something that makes you laugh a little bit when you think about everything else that has been put in place or built for the Olympics. They could have put some stickers on it or wrapped it with some fancy graphics or something. But no, just this dry erase board that, oddly enough, has never been tampered with.

And the only reason I mention it at all is because when you go towards the bridge, about 100 feet in the opposite direction, you see this.

Olympic Line Opening Day

This is too large to fit on the other sign at the entrance, but could easily be put on that other sign if shrunk down. Still, whatever works. Long live ghetto engineering.

Granville Street with new lights for the Olympics

Granville Street has been under construction for what seems like forever. Since about 2006, the downtown portion of Granville hasn’t been completely open as it once was. Getting close to the opening ceremonies for the 2010 games, these new lights have gone up all the way down the downtown core portion of the street.

Granville Street with new lights

I took this shot last night on my way home. Standing in the middle of Georgia and Granville, this is what it looks like at night, looking towards Waterfront. Not sure if the lights will stay up after the games, but they’re a nice touch.

B.C. tourism commercial sums it up for me

I cannot help but let this 90 second spot get me more and more amped for the games. I’m not a fan of the millions spent on this ad campaign, but at least they did this one very well.

I think what’s more impacting is not only the beauty of B.C. that is showcased in this commercial but the way it’s delivered. I mean, if you compare those California ads with all the athletes, movie stars, and celebrity politicians, this is night and day. Some subtle background music, amazing shots, and, yes, some celebrities telling you how amazing it is here, but it’s done in a way that is very B.C.

I think the slogan used to be, “Beautiful, B.C.” This ad actually makes that slogan work now. If you don’t believe me, just look at what Rebecca did recently: outdoor speed skating, dog sledding, and, oh yeah, she caught the torch as it ran through Prince George, B.C.

That was all in one weekend.

This brings me back to my point: I’m getting really excited for the games. The city is buzzing, evidence is everywhere, and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of things that can be seen, done, and hopefully documented over the next two months.

We have tickets to a few events, but I feel like the most fun will be what we are able to find away from the event locations themselves. Getting to those places sounds like a real adventure, potentially a nightmare, so we anticipate doing all we can by foot, transit, and probably more by foot on the other side of that.

I know they say you gotta be here, but here is just too broad when it comes to these games. Right now, “here” feels like I want to be everywhere and do everything.

Vancouver’s streetcar experiment: The Olympic Line

I’ve been watching this streetcar project come together for a while now, and in the past few weeks, the Olympic Line has off-loaded, all the way from Belgium.

Olympic Line Media Preview

Olympic Line Media Preview

Olympic Line Media Preview

Olympic Line Media Preview

Two trains and just a short stretch of track between Granville Island and Cambie Bridge along False Creek, this is only an experiment in mass transit that will only run just before and during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Meaning, if this works well and people take to it, perhaps the city will look into expanding streetcar service across the city.

Olympic Line Media Preview

Olympic Line Media Preview

Olympic Line Media Preview

It works in Toronto and certainly works in Europe, and I have to say that I like the concept so far. As to if this is the end all answer of all the transit problems in Vancouver, I don’t think so. Still, right step in an excellent direction.
Continue reading “Vancouver’s streetcar experiment: The Olympic Line”

Where will I be for Vancouver 2010?

Rebecca made a post the other day asking this question, and this past week has been littered with fleeting thoughts of, “holy crap, the games are actually here.”

BC Place staging tents

I decided to walk home after work the other night, and all of the telltale signs are here. Tents, banners, decorations, etc.

Fleet of official vehicles outside Olympic Village tent

For myself, it’s always been a goal in the back of my head to witness some form of Olympics games in someway. Moving to Vancouver in 2005, I knew my chance was going to be pretty good to get into the mix, but it’s actually here.

2010 is this year. We’ve been waiting for the date to read that way for what seems like forever, and now it’s actually upon us.

Olympic Village ready to go

The Olympic Village that I watched go from industrial wasteland to a tiny city is basically done.

Waterfront Canada Line Station by Miss604 on Flickr

I’ve been taking and loving the Canada Line during my daily work commutes.

Keeping out of BC Place

BC Place is still being kept under a shroud of mystery, and I still hope they blow the lid off that place during the opening ceremonies, someway and somehow.

This still doesn’t answer the question of where I will be once February 12th rolls around. The truth of the matter is that I love the Olympic games, and I always have. For as long as I can remember, I would stay up as late as I could to watch the coverage, no matter what the event.

I can remember L.A., Lillehammer, Albertville, Nagano, Soeul, Calgary, Atlanta, Sydney, Barcelona, Torino, Beijing, and Athens, and that’s all off the top of my head, no Google searches or Wikipedia trolling.

I haven’t forgotten about the politics on the local and worldwide scale. They are always there, and I can’t forget about the issues of homelessness in Vancouver nor the hefty price tag that has come with these games. Nothing I can say in a blog post could answer all of those problems, but I will be watching closely once everything is done to make sure those promises by VANOC are held accountable.

That being said, my hope and dream is to absorb the atmosphere that the games will bring upon Vancouver. I’m not sure where that might lead me, but we’ll ride the wave and end up where we end up. Be it total chaos to amazing opportunities, people, and new friends, I’ve been enlightened with stories by others who have been to games past. It prepares you as much as opens up avenues to all sorts of other questions.

I don’t know what to expect. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing nor when I’ll be doing it. It’s the surprise that I think I’m looking forward to the most. Never say never, let whatever happens happen, and hang on for the ride.

I’ll have my camera wherever I go, and the laptop won’t be far behind. Photos, video, audio, and blog posts doing their best to share what I see and do in the craziness that is downtown Vancouver, home of the 2010 winter games.

Thoughts on a Canada Line platform

Waterfront Canada Line Station by Miss604 on Flickr.com
Waterfront Canada Line Station by Miss604 on Flickr.com

It’s been nearly three weeks since the Canada Line has opened, and I keep thinking about how much it has changed my daily life every time I take it.

Sure, there might be a day when something goes wrong and the next train will take forever to show up that I’ll be reduced to the multi-bus commute to get to work (which has already happened but not on my watch), but accidents, mishaps, and generally bad days can and do happen.

I had a great experience riding the train home on the day of my first commute.

Standing at the platform, a co-worker walked down the stairs while I was waiting for the next train. I was heading downtown, and he was going to pop off into Yaletown. He doesn’t live around there but couldn’t pass up the chance to try it out.

We stood there talking about how he was using the opportunity to shop around Yaletown a little before going home, which I’m sure many businesses down there are hoping for more of, when someone else walked up to chat about how amazing this whole thing was.

“It’s so Vancouver. It looks great, works amazingly. I just love it.”

I couldn’t help but nod my head with the stranger while he sipped his frozen latte.

“I’m just so sick of all those people who say this is a waste of money. I wish those people would just go somewhere and die. Because you know, we need more of this. Out to the valley, to UBC, shut off those motors on the buses. It would be tremendous!”

This man was genuinely excited about this new form of transit, as crazy as that is to think about. But I had a very hard time disagreeing with him, minus the whole wishing people die thing.

A bad day at the station

In my time in radio, I’ve been apart of my fair share of absolute train wrecks. Those broadcasts that start off innocent but head straight down the drain. On the air, it all works out and everyone does their best to maintain some sort of professionalism so it looks like what happened was supposed to happen, but behind the scenes, everything has gone to shit.

Global BC’s noon newscast had that happen this past Monday, and they played this one off beautifully.

Dare I say, this video has a good chance of going viral