Okay, so a fair bit of pre-game hype, but who can blame them. Vancouver will play host to one of the world’s largest stages, the Olympics, in a couple of years. Also, as a fan visitor of Vancouver, it is a great city.
— Editor ITKT —
When the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games officially closed on August 24, Vancouver moved into the spotlight as the next host city for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. With the Games less than 18 months away, the city is preparing to welcome the world in February 2010. Vancouver, in many ways, is unique as an Olympic host city. How unique? The following list outlines the top 10 ways.
1. Vancouver is often rated as one of the world’s most livable cities and frequently tops the charts as one of the best places to visit. Voted “Best City in the Americas” for 2004, 2005 and 2006 by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, Vancouver is also consistently ranked among the world’s best places to live by global economic surveys.
2. With a population of over 560,000 and a metropolitan area of 2.1 million, Vancouver is one of the largest cities ever to host the Winter Olympic Games. A bigger city means great nightlife, live music, festivals and entertainment. And, on top of all that, Vancouver was recently ranked one of the top restaurant cities in the world by Food & Wine magazine, which should also make it the tastiest Games ever.
3. Vancouver has one of Canada’s mildest climates and the warmest average temperatures of any Winter Olympic host. Temperatures range from low 20’s Celsius (high 70’s Fahrenheit) in summer to a mild 0 to 5 degrees Celsius (mid-40’s Fahrenheit) in winter. Winters are wet, but it rarely snows, except, of course, on the ski hills. In February, when the Games will be held, Vancouver has an average temperature of 5.9 degrees Celsius (42.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
4. Vancouver’s mild climate and proximity to both the Pacific Ocean and Coast Mountains make it one of the most geographically diverse destinations ever to host the Winter Games. Not only can visitors enjoy mild weather in winter, they can enjoy year-round outdoor activities such as cycling along the Stanley Park seawall and strolling snow-free downtown streets. The best part is that the snow stays on the mountains “where it belongs” so visitors can ski or snowboard on the three local mountains while enjoying spectacular city and ocean views.
5.The Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will be held at BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver. This marks the first time in Olympic Games history that these ceremonies will be held in a closed-roof stadium and the first time that the Olympic flame will be lit indoors. BC Place Stadium seats about 55,000 spectators under the largest air-supported stadium roof in North America. Besides offering protection from the elements, an indoor stadium expands the possibilities for lighting, projection, sound and special effects technology.
6. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games mark the first time in history that Indigenous peoples have been recognized as official partners in hosting the Olympic Games. The Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, known collectively as the Four Host First Nations (FHFN), will join the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees as hosts of the 2010 Winter Games. Although Indigenous people have played important ceremonial and cultural roles in past Olympic Games, 2010 will, for the first time, see Aboriginal involvement extend to virtually every aspect of the Games.
7. In February 2003, Vancouver’s residents were asked in a referendum whether they would accept the responsibilities of being a Host City should Vancouver win its bid. This was the first time such a referendum was successful.
8. The 2010 Winter Games will be the first Games to be held in an NHL market since 1998 when the league first permitted its players to participate. 2010 will also be the first Winter Olympic Games in which both men’s and women’s hockey will be played on a narrower, NHL-sized ice rink, measuring 61 metres x 26 metres (200 feet x 85 feet), instead of the international size of 61 metres x 30 metres (200 feet x 98 feet).
9. Vancouver, the birthplace of Greenpeace, has long been a leader in environmentalism. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games continue that tradition, setting a gold standard for environmental sustainability. The 2010 Winter Games will, for example, be the first Olympic Games to use a rigorous set of criteria called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in any new venues built by the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC). LEED buildings are designed to minimize waste, emissions, toxic materials, energy consumption and water use. In addition, Vancouver, together with VANOC, Whistler and several surrounding communities, has adopted a zero waste policy — aiming to minimize and divert as much waste as possible from landfills before, during and after the Games. So far, they’ve found ways to divert about 85 per cent of solid waste through reduction, reuse, recycling, waste-to-energy methods and disposal reduction. Put another way: the amount of waste generated by the Games during the busiest months of the Games period is expected to add up to what Vancouver and Whistler would normally generate in just 13 hours.
10. The 2010 Winter Games may also prove to be the most accessible Games ever held. Vancouver is already one of the world’s most accessible cities, and the Games will take that one step further, ensuring barrier-free access for persons with a disability at all venues and facilities.
Written by Tourism Vancouver