Vancouver 2010: Day 2 – Women’s hockey between Canada and Slovakia

Saturday seems like a long time ago, but it was my first time getting into an Olympic event.

Vancouver 2010: Day 2

Vancouver 2010: Day 2

We were on our way to Canada Hockey Place to go watch Canada versus Slovakia women’s hockey when these, obviously, team Canada fans came up the escalators in Granville Station singing Oh, Canada at the top of their lungs. Seeing me, they gave a hearty yell as I snapped their picture.

I took a variety of photos while at the game, but trying to keep within the rules of what the IOC lets you do with those photos, you’ll have to visit my Vancouver 2010: Day 2 set on Flickr to see them.

That being said, CHP (more known as GM Place to Canucks fans like you and me) looks amazing. I love that the only piece of advertisement in the whole rink is the Omega sign hanging from the scoreboard above center ice. I wish it could be that way the whole year round, but the Canucks need to pull in that extra income somewhere.

The game itself was an amazing experience. Canada blew Slovakia out of the water, 18-0, which kind of made it a little lackluster in terms of action. I just like a little more competition as a spectator, but trust me, there was no lack of skill in that game.

On top of that, experiencing true Canadian pride was chilling. Growing up, I’m familiar with the same of fellow Americans and the pride associated there, but this was different. I can’t place my finger on what it is, but it’s all about the celebration of the game in front of you as well as your fellow countrymen and women around you sharing in that. It’s all about being in that moment, and then probably sharing that story over and over for years to come.

Vancouver 2010: Day 2

Heading home through downtown, it just seems like there is a constant party, especially down Granville Street. There has been impromptu dance parties, flash mobs of choreographed dancers, and so many other things that I’ve seen mentioned on Twitter that I can even recall because there always seems to be something going on.

Ever wonder what it would be like if there was a party and the whole world was invited? This is it.

Vancouver 2010: Taking in the Opening Ceremonies

After all the torch run excitement from yesterday, it was time to get ready for the Opening Ceremonies.

Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Around downtown, it seemed like you could find torch bearers all over the place. People were telling a lot of them congratulations and even stopping them in their tracks to get a photo with them and the torch they get to keep.

Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Ticket scalpers were out in force. If you’re selling anything, they want it.

Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Robson Square and the area around it was just a party zone. People were all over the streets, taking photos, and soaking in the atmosphere. Even being a little rainy, no one seemed to care.

We were really fortunate to get tickets for the Molson Canadian Hockey House to watch the Opening Ceremonies on their numerous TV screens in their tent.

Vancouver 2010: Molson Canadian Hockey House

I won’t say it was the best place to watch the event, but being surrounded by so many proud Canadians was pretty worth the experience. The sound of the broadcast was hard to hear in the venue, but there are always rebroadcasts of the ceremonies to watch later.

Vancouver 2010: Molson Canadian Hockey House

Vancouver 2010: Molson Canadian Hockey House

Another testament to these “green games”, compostable cups for your beer. Brilliant.

Vancouver 2010: Molson Canadian Hockey House

Like I said, even though the sound of the announcers was hard to hear, everyone was pumped when Canada entered BC Place.

Vancouver 2010: Cauldron from afar

We have yet to make it down to see the cauldron, but we saw this on our exhausted walk home last night.

Even though there were technical issues in these ceremonies, I think they were pretty great. We’ll certainly watch them again from the comfort of our own couch, but they put on a hell of a show. If there is anything more Vancouver, it’s sticking Wayne Gretzky in the back of a pickup truck and driving him through the streets with people running along in driving rain. Nice touch.

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.

Photowalk: -20 Days to Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

I know that at time of publishing this post, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are eight days away. The photos contained in this post are from January 23rd, just twenty days before the opening ceremonies. Rebecca and I wandered on foot from the Olympic Village to downtown with our cameras.

A lot of what you see in the post has changed quite a bit, but I thought it would be interesting to have these posted for the sake of Vancouver history.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

This is one of the gates to get you into the Olympic Village. It reminds me of when I traveled to Berlin with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law and visited Checkpoint Charlie. Inviting, don’t you think?

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

I heard this would happen, and no building is too large or tall to put wrap on.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

I pass by the official countdown clock everyday and never forget to sneak a peak of it. And more recently, I too was a tourist in my own city.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

I used to work in the building pictured above. My first radio gig in Vancouver.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

Steps out of Robson Square. While they looked painted, they’re actually wrapped.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

The Robson Square Ice Rink in the opposite direction of the stairs. This will probably be a stopping point more than a few times depending on the mayhem going on here.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

Granville Street with art installations and an ode to Hole In The Wall. Well, not really, but you could just imagine if it was.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

These venue signs went up practically overnight. I’d like to see them keep these with references to popular landmarks in Vancouver after the games.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

What do you do with a building in downtown Vancouver that is under complete renovation? You wrap a huge, Canadian flag around it.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

Canada Place is for the media and accredited guests. Getting down here during the games will be tough unless you’re on foot.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

No one is completely sure what’s inside these walls. It might be a “satellite cauldron” for the Olympic flame. Some even say this is where the actual flame will reside, which isn’t crazy being that the Olympic stadium, BC Place, is a dome.

-20 Days to Vancouver 2010

Finally, the “VANOC Only” signs that are popping up all over the city. Unless you have that going for you, driving should be the last thing on your mind during these games in Vancouver.

Kudos to John Biehler who let me borrow his 35mm lens for some of these shots. You can see the entire set of photos from this photowalk on Flickr.

I’ll be posting more photos over the next few weeks as my adventures with True North Media House will see us doing photowalks among the other various things we get ourselves into. I don’t usually put explanations on my photos, but I’m doing this more for my family and friends who are watching these events from afar. I wish they could all be here to experience this once in a lifetime event, and this is my best attempt to share that with them as well as the world.

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.

The Hope Slide

On our way home from the long weekend in Osoyoos, we made the effort to finally stop at the viewpoint for The Hope Slide. This would mark about the 6th or 8th time that I’ve gone passed it, so we finally followed through on the thought of stopping to get out and take a first hand look at this incredible, natural disaster.

Rubble at Hope Slide

Missing parts of the mountain

It’s such an impressive sight when you first lay eyes on this scarred side of a mountain. It gets even more confounding when you get more of the details behind this event that happened 43 years ago.

The Hope Slide was one of the largest landslides ever recorded in Canada. It occurred in the morning hours of 9 January 1965. An earlier, small avalanche had forced four people to stop their vehicles a few miles southeast of the town of Hope, British Columbia (150 km east of Vancouver), on a stretch of the Hope-Princeton Highway below Johnson Peak. As those people contemplated waiting for clearing crews or turning around, a small earthquake below the mountain triggered the main slide, which obliterated the mountain’s southwestern slope.

The slide buried the victims and their vehicles under a torrent of 46 million cubic meters of pulverized rock, mud, and debris 85 m thick and 3 km wide, which came down the 2000-metre mountainside . This mass of debris completely displaced the lake below with incredible force, throwing it against the opposite side of the valley, wiping all vegetation and trees down to the bare rock, then ‘splashed back’ up the original (now bare) slope before settling. […]

Rescue crews only found two of the four bodies—the others have remained entombed in the rock, with their cars, since 1965. [wiki]

Hope Slide

Hope Slide

The Hope Slide

Mother nature is forever unpredictable. Awe inspiring and frightening, all at the same time.

A windy weekend in Osoyoos

No boats on a windy day

We’re back from a (on, off, on, off, and then back on again) trip to Osoyoos for the recent long weekend. While it was great to spend time with some family and get out of town for a few days, it was painful to have barely a cloud in the sky and 40km/hr winds barreling down on the town. Made getting out and enjoying the desert climate a little tough. Even if you could handle the “breeze”, it would get a little tiring of debris blowing around, and that would be in the form of leaves, your towel, or plastic patio furniture.

The part that sucked the most was driving there and having a rainstorm dump enough water to cause some flash flooding on Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope. That made the 3.5 hour drive into 7.5.

Rain pouring down the mountain

Stuck on the one

Controlling the flow of water and traffic

This made for 7.5 hours to get there

Still, it was good to get away and disconnect for a few days. Plenty to eat and drink, and I even got to catch a few baseball games on TV.

Osoyoos, B.C.

And wouldn’t you know it, the day we leave was the best, most amazing weather of the entire long weekend. We were able to get in a little beach time before departure, but what a kick in the teeth. Thanks a lot, summer. I stick up for you and this is how you treat us? Yeah, see ya next year.

Update on Olympic Village construction: August 2008

I pass by the site for the Olympic Village for the Vancouver 2010 winter games on a near daily basis. The progress in the area has been interesting to watch, and everyone who rides the bus over the Cambie Bridge tends to crane their neck or look out the corner of their eye as the bus passes by. If anything, the shear amount of workers and machinery is impressive that you have to gander a little bit.

So to update on the last post I made about this, here’s a more recent photo from just the other day, followed by some from early months.

Olympic Villiage Progress: Aug. 2008
August 25, 2008
Overall shot from Cambie Bridge
May 26, 2008
Daily pass of the Olympic Village
January 15, 2008

That’s a lot of concrete in nearly nine months. Only 533 days until the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.