; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: February 2010

Friday, 26 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Another Olympic Day in Vancouver

It's amazing how much there is to do in the city right now. A day has not gone by where I haven't found something to do. And people are partying hard, which means everyone around me are getting sick and catching colds from weakened immune systems. I too had the sniffles earlier in the week, but I think I've managed to recover.

Whether you're lining up in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to get one of the Omega snowflake pins, lining up at the Royal Canadian Mint to trade in your quarters for the special Olympic coins, or lining up for 7+ hours for a 20 second ride on the free zipline above Robson Street, the common theme here is LINING UP!!

Oh but it's really not that bad. I mean, we've been getting great weather for the most part, Canada's women's hockey team won gold today, and Joannie Rochette skated a great performance for her mom and earned a bronze to boot! Did you watch her the other night and tonight? Did you break down and sob like I did?

Today I ran into a couple of old friends of mine. Ann, Al, Natalie, and Meredith, namely.

It was by my work, and I was out for a meeting when they walked past me near the Olympic cauldron. Since I was high from drinking a cup of coffee, I of course began screaming Hi to each of them, and they each looked when I called their name and waved back! Very fun! Sadly, Matt Lauer was NOT there. Oh well, it has been fun having them in our city and watching their little segments that they have been doing about Vancouver on the Today show.

In the afternoon, I took a photo with a few Canadian Olympians - Mellisa Hollingsworth from the Skeleton, Mercedes Nichol from the Snowboard Half-Pipe, and Janine Hanson who was in Rowing from the Beijing summer Olympics.

Tried to check out Ukranian House tonight, but because they suffered a kitchen fire, there was no food to be had.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Do I go to the Bay to try to hunt down one of those coveted Canada hoodies that people are desperate to get? Or maybe finally head into Yaletown to see what's going on down in the LiveCity venue down there? I had set out to see two free concerts - Sam Roberts Band and Our Lady Peace - and will be walking away without having gone to either. I just get so tired by the end of the day, after work, after lining up for hours, that the thought of more standing in a giant crowd of people in chilly weather just isn't that appealing.

But now that things are winding up, I may have to suck it up and just get out there and take it all in before our city goes back to normal in a few days....

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Olympics 2010: I Got My Tourtiere!

Screw you, Maison de Quebec! Who needs you, when I could go down to Place de la Francophonie down at Granville Island and order a Tourtiere AND a poutine any time I want it!! In fact, I've already done it TWICE this week, so THERE! Take THAT!

And boy was it scrumptious. The meat was perfectly spiced. The poutine had these thick wedged fries that were a meal all their own. I had one lady come by and ask me just what the heck was on my fries, and I had to explain that the little white bits were cheese curds and the brown sauce was not vinegar but in fact, gravy. She was perplexed and I explained the wonders of poutine to her, and she immediately went and ordered herself one to try. Isn't it amazing that people outside of Canada have never had a poutine?

Anyhow, Granville Island's French Quarter / Place de la Francophonie is a wonderful spot to get some Quebecois food! As long as you're not there during a hockey game, the tables and seats are plentiful, and the waitresses are tres friendly!

Olympics 2010: Russia House

On Saturday, I braved the line-up at Russia House and ended up waiting 2 hours to get inside. Not bad. It was a bright sunny day and the line was moving along, since the capacity at Russia House is 700. For those not clued in, Russia House is down at Science World, taking over the sphere for the run of the Olympics. It's a big draw since the next Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.

For anyone who has not visited Russia House yet, here's a little tip: People with strollers or senior citizens get to walk right in without having to line up!! (or maybe a shorter line, at the very least.) Luckily, we had some fine Russian entertainment out front while we waited in line and watched all the strollers pass us by.

Inside, we saw a model of the Russian Olympic site, photos of Sochi, Russian performances, Russian films, and another torch photo opp! This time, with the Vancouver torch AND the Beijing torch, woo hoo!!

Russia House is open daily from 12 - 5.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


Last night I attended a live taping of CBC Radio's Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein. I love this show and it was such a thrill to be able to go to a live taping of it!

If you're not listening to Wiretap, what ARE you listening to?!

Next week I go to a taping of CBC's The Debaters which should be even more amazing!! Can't wait!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Yahoo!

It's all about the freebies. At Casa Italia (the Italian House) yesterday on my lunch break, I snagged a free cheese grater, a free tote bag, and a bar of Kinder chocolate!

Then last night The Ex and I visited Yahoo! House, which is the headquarters for figure skater Elvis Stojko, who is writing Olympics coverage for Yahoo. It's a pretty fun pavilion, because you get a free pin, free hot chocolate, and free heat packs (not that we need it in this glorious glorious weather we're getting!)

There were also TVs and big screens all over where you can watch the live events. We were there to witness Sidney Crosby's winning shot in the Canada vs Switzerland hockey game last night. It's the eye of the storm though, because the stadium is mere blocks away which meant we needed to hightail it out of there before the mass exodus took place out onto the streets.

But not before taking some silly photos for Yahoo! who have stations set up for folks to come in and do their poses. They then give you two free hard copies of your photos, as well as upload them up onto Flickr. Check out the Yahoo Fancouver photos here!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Canada House

There was a big stink over the building of Canada House because the architect was American and the design of it was uninspired and borderline fugly.

However, you can't judge a book by its cover. Canada House was pretty fun, I must say! I mean, I got take another photo with the RCMP fellas!! So how can I complain?

There's a lot of interactive things to do like this snowboarding game that I was totally HORRIBLE at! You can also take a pic with the Olympic torch, which of course I had to do again. The ParaOlympic Torch is also there. Yesterday, the Stanley Cup was in attendance for fans to revel at.


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Olympics 2010: The Bell Ice Cube

Not only are provinces and countries putting up pavilions and houses, but so are some corporate sponsors! I ducked into the Bell Ice Cube the other evening during the Victory Ceremonies, and inside we were greeted with a set of free earphones and our very own cow bell!! Everyone inside was of course glued to the big screen watching as Alex Bilodeau received his gold medal on home soil!

The New Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel

Built just in time for the Olympics is the new Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, located right on the waterfront in downtown Vancouver. It's a beautiful hotel, inside and outside. They have a restaurant called Oru that I can't wait to try, and they also have a more casual cafe/eatery for the lunching crowds, called Giovane, which will be the perfect place for me to go hang out on my break after I tire of going to my tea shop Muzi.

Here are some photos of the new hotel!

Olympics 2010: The Cauldron

On Monday I went to visit the Olympic cauldron, which is less than a block away from my work. Here it is!! Of course it was all barricaded behind a gate, which has caused a huge ruckus amongst locals and tourists alike, criticizing VANOC for not thinking that people would flock to this attraction to take a nice picture with it. After the outcry, they have dismantled the barricade and put up a smaller one instead, apparently.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Canada Code and CBC

There is an overwhelming amount of things to do in the city right now, which is awesome!

One of those things is the Canada Code program, which includes three venues for art to be on display: The Great Northern Way Campus, Emily Carr on Granville Island, and the Vancouver Central Library.

There are also tons of free live broadcasts taking place over at the CBC Vancouver headquarters. In fact, I'm heading to a taping of The Debaters next Tuesday and can barely wait!!!

I've heard they have CBC trader pins available at some of their meet and greet events - I totally want to go and meet Wiretap's Jonathan Goldstein this weekend, and maybe catch a performance by Canadian band Stars on Thursday night!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Heineken House

Today I heard someone say, "Might as well see everything while you can!"

Good attitude!

Which is why I'm proud of myself for saying YES to going out late last night to the Holland Heineken House located at the Richmond O-Zone. I went with my Ex and his boss and his boss' girlfriend. The boss paid for everything - from the cab ride from downtown Vancouver to Richmond (and back) to the entrance fee and to the beer inside.

Inside was a MASSIVE party going on, and they were all especially happy because earlier that evening the Netherlands won a Gold medal in the men's speed skating! Needless to say, it was very very celebratory! They had a cover band doing songs by request from the audience (who had to go up to a telephone and call it in to the singer on the stage). Some songs and requests were in Dutch, but it didn't matter because everyone was having an amazingly great time!

I tried out some of the food they had there, including some deep fried mashed potato and meat mix that they sandwiched into a hot dog bun. The people working there were partying it up too. I took a photo of these workers who posed for me and then got caught dancing behind the counter!

Vectorial Elevation

Want to take part in some of Vancouver's Olympic festivities?

Remember that light show in English Bay I blogged about? You can go online and create your own pattern for it to follow!!

Just visit Vectorial Elevation and create your own light show for everyone here in Vancouver to see!

Olympics 2010: Dancing In The Streets!

Well, you might have heard about the anti-Olympic protestors who took to the streets yesterday morning and vandalized property and caused a big ruckus. I mean, come on, people. That just totally discredits your side. Resorting to vandalism will not make people want to listen to you. Why not stand there peacefully and get your message out? Why break windows and throw newspaper boxes out into the street? Yeah, you've lost my respect, sorry. The Olympics are here and it is a fantastic time to be a Canadian, to be a Vancouverite.

Just check out the flash mob that took place later the same day! Now this is what should be happening in our streets more often!!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Pin Collecting!

Why didn't I get on this bandwagon earlier?

The other day I walked into the Olympic superstore at The Bay and wound up finding my peeps. That's to say: fellow crazy hoarders, except with pins!!!

I had a few in my pocket, including one that I got at the Torch ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday night. One of them pointed at it and said, "I like that one! Wanna trade?!"

And so it began. My first pin trade! And I was immediately hooked!!! I gave it to him in exchange for a vintage Montreal Olympics pin, which I love!

Yesterday I visited the just opened Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion really briefly just to grab myself one of their pins they were giving out. I snagged two and traded one with someone a mere 10 minutes later!

I knew I should have lined up with the hordes of people at CTV months ago when they were handing out media pins! Apparently the media ones are the hardest to get and big with pin collectors!!!!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Richmond O-Zone

Last night, me and 20,000 or so of my closest friends hiked out to Richmond to visit the Olympic area known as the Richmond O-Zone. This is steps away from the new skating rink facility where a lot of the sporting events will be taking place. But more importantly, The O-Zone will be home to a slew of free events during the Olympics, and last night's arrival of the Olympic Torch was just the first of many!

Yes, I had to take a photo with some RCMP officers.

Then after waiting about an hour in line, I got my chance to take a photo with the Olympic torch! Yay!!!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Opening Ceremony Dress Rehearsal!

Last night I was very fortunate to attend the dress rehearsal of the Olympics Opening Ceremony. What an amazing once in a lifetime experience!! Even though it was just a dress rehearsal, you could feel the energy and excitement in the air!

You can't compare anything to Beijing, so don't even bother. However, it is wonderfully Canadian. I'm not one to blindly love my country, I know it has its faults. But it's nice to feel some Canadian pride and last night, I was brought to tears with it.

I don't want to give anything away, but you can probably google and some idiot in the crowd has most likely done a tell-all by now online somewhere. The performers were not all there - though one big name was present, and sang for us. That was definitely a sweet surprise. They used stand-ins for the other performers while they played the song that is to be used. You can kinda guess from the songs and the vocals, who will be performing. There is definitely one huge star that's going to be performing and I think when this person takes the stage, it will be absolutely breathtaking.

Don't miss the opening ceremonies, broadcast on NBC this Friday!!!!

TODAY in Vancouver!

The Today Show has officially arrived in Vancouver. Matt Lauer snuck into the city this morning, with Meredith Viera joining him shortly. He did his portion of this morning's broadcast from the new communications centre which is less than a block away from my work!

I recorded the show this morning just to see the segment that they do featuring Vancouver. It's always interesting to see your city through someone else's eyes!

Here's hoping I run into Mr. Lauer!!!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Olympics 2010: Light Show

The light show in English Bay takes place all month from dusk to dawn, so there is plenty of time for you to go catch this amazing spectacle in the sky.

Even though you can see the spotlights painting the sky's canvas all the way in Surrey, there's no better vantage point than right at the water's edge down in English Bay, or on the other side in Vanier Park. Seeing the spotlights stretch from the ground all the way up to the heavens is actually pretty breath-taking. And the way they form their designs, the light beams criss-crossing one another over the water, is a pretty magical site.

There were lots of folks out with their tripods and cameras last night trying to capture some of the moments. This is a fantastic place to bring someone on a date! Just stroll along the sea wall while catching the light show makes for a perfect evening!

Olympics 2010: Swiss House

Last night the Ex and I visited Swiss House, on Granville Island, the official home for the Swiss athletes and guests. Open till midnight every night, it's currently just a restaurant, with a sprinkling of Swiss decor here and there. We did sit down to grab a bite and the Swiss specials on the menu were interesting - from a cheese and sausage salad to the mac and cheese that I ordered which had ham and potatoes baked right into it. We also had a taste of their official drink, Rivella.

The service was atrocious however. I think it was our waiter. He took forever to serve us and we were just very unimpressed, considering the world is coming to town and it's gonna be pretty damn busy in there.


Sound of Music Flashmob in Belgium:

London Flashmob:

Janet Jackson Flashmob, with a special surprise at the end...:

And now... will it be Vancouver's turn??

A flashmob is planned
for this upcoming weekend, when the Olympics hit town. Have you learned all the dance moves yet? See you there?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Dance Marathon!

I got my tickets for Dance Marathon! How about you?

How fantastic does this sound? Emily and I enter the marathon next Wednesday! Wish us luck!!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Another Vancouver Timelapse

I know I'm a week behind with this, as this video went viral already but for the few that may not have seen it (it could've only gone viral in the city that it's about, who knows), here's a lovely time-lapse video of Vancouver. It's done well, though I wish it had captured some moments of rain, since rain is definitely a defining factor of this place.

Having grown up here, I've both loved and hated it. At times I wanted to get out, and other times I just can't bring myself to leave - but that could be due to other issues and not my draw to the city itself. But with its relatively mild weather, clean air, and familliar surroundings, I am happy to be calling Vancouver my home.