Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Vancouver 2010: 0 Day

Today is the day. I don’t have a lot of time right now, but our GM at work is the best boss ever for letting us off work early today because of the opening ceremonies tonight.

I’m posting a ton of photos to Flickr today and throwing a little caution to the wind in terms of editing and just trying to get photos up as soon as I can.

Here’s a slideshow of the torch run events plus all the other photos I’ve taken and will take today and a link to the set on Flickr.

Today is a lifelong dream of being in an Olympic city coming true. I woke up happier than a kid on Christmas morning. My only wish would be to have all my friends and family here to share this amazing day. I love you all.

Vancouver 2010: -2 days to go

2 Days To Go

I’m hearing a lot of chatter from all over about how stressed they are over everything going on right now in terms of what’s about to hit Vancouver on Friday. The fact that Cambie Bridge was shut down today for full dress rehearsal of the opening ceremonies gives me hope that they’ll be as entertaining as the Beijing. You really won’t be able to compare the two, but still, the rumors floating around hinting at cool things.

Pacific Centre Igloo

Now this is kinda cool, but it doesn’t help the stereotype of Canadians and igloos.

Team Russia on the streets

This is by far the most entertaining thing to see right now. This afternoon I passed two guys wearing San Marino gear, and about five minutes later, I learned about a country that I had never heard of before. And here I thought I had a handle on all of Europe micro-countries.

Towering Canadian Pride

Walking back from lunch yesterday, my co-worker and I saw them drop this flag from the crane. It’s actually double-sided with Italy’s flag on the other side, which was the side we saw when they first stuck it up there. It was pretty neat to see how they split this sense of pride. Might be something we need to do back at our place.

Vancouver 2010: -3 days to go

-3 Days

Everyday since last week, the area around the Vancouver Art Gallery has been changing more and more. On my way to work this morning, I noticed not one but five different people out taking photos as I turned the corner to see this.

Posters from previous Olympics

Three days to go, and the city is certainly buzzing. The Today show is now broadcasting from the new convention center, and even KING 5 in Seattle broke programming to carry live coverage of the torch run at the Peace Arch, having the mayor of Blaine, WA give a hearty “Go Team USA!” at the podium with the Premier of British Columbia standing right behind her.

2nd & Cambie Crosswalk

2nd Avenue Road Closures

All the blue signs everywhere makes you wonder how soon all of this will be removed and when Vancouver will feel normal again. I actually wish it could stay like this, minus all the nervous energy, street closures, bloated budgets, helicopters, heightened security, and nagging sense of feeling overwhelmed by all of this. Doesn’t mean that it’s not fun or a tad bit exciting.

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.

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.

Laying down new tracks for Vancouver’s Olympic Line streetcar

My trek to work often takes me through the various areas in and around False Creek, and one day while heading down to catch the bus, my usual shortcut of hopping over the trolley car tracks surprised me when there weren’t any tracks to be seen.

Missing trolly tracks

It didn’t take me too long to recall why they were missing, and I know it wasn’t all of the Canada Line’s fault. More so, it’s the Olympics, and Paul Hillsdon mentioned this on his blog awhile ago.

It was announced today that Bombardier Transportation will bring two modern, Flexity Outlook streetcars on loan from Brussels, Belgium to Vancouver for use during the 2010 Olympics. The streetcar demonstration project will run between January 21 to March 21, 2010. The official name of the project is The Olympic Line – Vancouver’s 2010 Streetcar. []

The Downtown Streetcar Project is the big picture, and this demonstration is only the beginning phase of an ambitious plan to connect Granville Island, Gastown, and Stanley Park with this new transportation system.

Missing tracks

As someone who is a big fan of public transportation, I like the idea of this project. However, it remains to be seen as to how quickly something like this can be fully implemented and operational to the extent that it will help the congestion problems currently plaguing Vancouver. It would be pretty awesome to take something like this to work from the West End, but the Canada Line is already something I’m waiting for at the top of my wish list in terms of daily commutes.

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.

Comparing nearly six months progress of the Vancouver Olympic Village

I have a mild obsession with the Olympics. The fascination has been with me for as long as I can remember, so it’s no surprise that I watch all the construction with anticipation, all political arguments aside. I just love the games. Period.

So almost six months ago, I took this photo on my way into work in the morning.

Daily pass of the Olympic Village

This afternoon, I took this photo on my walk home.

Overall shot from Cambie Bridge

The progress of this small city is astounding. We watch it everyday at work, and I battle the lines at the various places to eat near work on a constant basis. No matter when or where, there is always at least one construction guy or gal either buying coffee or having a bite to eat. The day I don’t have to cross the street without the fear of impending doom from a cement truck barreling down the street will be a strange day, especially with that Canada Line going in just a few blocks away.

Here’s another neat comparison of a photo that I took back in January, looking towards Science World from the Cambie Bridge.

Very Vancouver

And then, today, looking from about the same point, slightly more zoomed in.

Can't see Science World anymore

I’d say that’s progress, but here’s a couple more photos for fun.

Crews at work

Looking down the streets

You can see more here.