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Witnessing Olympic Gold

February 13th was an amazing day for me! It all started with a walk in the park with the dog, where I received a phone call from the Holland Heineken House saying that I had won the ticket lottery for tickets for the 5000 M speed skating match that day!

With only an hour and a half before the event, things were rushed! I raced home, got ready to go, jumped in the car and raced down to the Holland House to pick up the tickets to make it to the Olympic Oval in Richmond in time!

So the tickets placed us in a section with other Dutch fans, all decked out in Orange and crazy costumes. Being Dutch myself, this was a very fun place to be!

There were 14 pairs racing in the event and in the end the Gold Medal went to the Netherlands’ Sven Kramer!!! Kramer not only won the race, but also broke an Olympic Record for the 5000 M race! AWESOME!

Not only did I see this amazing race and gold medal win, but later that evening I was fortunate enough to be at the Holland House for the celebration and to photograph Sven Kramer! Below are some of the photos of the day. Please visit Flickr to see more images of the day.

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Sven Kramer, 5000M Gold Medal Speed Skater

Holland Heineken House Gold Medal Celebration for Sven Kramer

The ticket lottery at the Holland Heineken House is only available to Dutch citizens, so not an option for everyone. But if you have your Dutch passport and you want to try your chances to win the option to buy coveted tickets, head on down to the Holland Heineken House ticket desk and put your name in the draw! If I can win them, you can too!!

Tom Cochrane at Molson Canadian Hockey House!

Yesterday’s win for the women’s hockey team against Switzerland and the gold medal presentation to Alexandre Bilodeau, gave Canadians much to celebrate last night!

Last night’s celebration at the Molson Hockey House was full of energy! Tom Cochrane played an awesome concert for the crowd, starting with Victory Day and ending with Life is a Highway, with a three song encore after that.

Donald Sutherland made an appearance as well and stripped off his coat and replaced it with a Canada hockey jersey, and then saying to the crowd, “I have only one question for you: Do you believe?!” Causing the crowd to go wild!

Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies also showed up to play Life is a Highway with the band.

Here are some of the images from the front row of the concert. To see more, please visit my Flickr account.

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Although the Molson House is sold out for the duration of the Games, here are a few things to not if you are able to get your hands on a coveted pass to get in:

Fanzone Entry – $100.00
VIP Entry – $450.00 and up (depending on day)

Beers are $7.50 CND
Hard Liquor $10.00  CND

As with all Olympic venues, they accept only Cash or Visa as forms of payment.

Free Mitten Alert!

LiveCity Yaletown is the place to be to watch the Opening Ceremonies tonight! Before the Ceremonies begins, they will show a summary of clips from the opening ceremonies of the Games since 1980 to get everyone in the spirit!

Even more motivation to head down to LiveCity Yaletown, if you haven’t got your red Olympic mittens from the Olympic Superstore yet, the first 1000 people to go through the gate after 4:30pm today will receive a free pair! So head down early and stay late to celebrate!

My Trip Down the Robson Square ZipTrek

I was very excited to try the zipline at Robson Square and this morning I had my chance! The ZipTrek zipline opened to the media this morning and I took this video of my trip down! So fun! So excited! It was so good, I did it twice! 🙂 I encourage you all to try it! It will be worth the wait in line.

The ZipTrek opens to the public tomorrow at 10am, so get there early to avoid the lineups!


Kids and Family Activities During the Games

The Olympics is in itself a family friendly event. However, if you’re wondering about what activities would be fun to do with your kids, here are a few suggestions:

The Robson Square Zipline:

Premier Gordon Campbell on the Zipline

Whistler’s Ziptrek Ecotours has installed a 170 meter zipline across Robson Square from the top of the law courts to the south-east corner of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It will be up throughout the Games from February 12 to 28th, from 10am to 9pm, and it’s FREE to the public! If you and your kids are up for an adventure, THIS is the place to go! I highly recommend arriving early, as the lineups for this unique activity will be long! (It isn’t everyday that you can zipline through the city!) They plan on shooting 70 people down the line each hour, so chances sound pretty good that the lineup will move quite quickly! So come early and have FUN!!

Robson Square Skating Rink

General Electric, Official Olympic Sponsor
The General Electric sponsored open-air skating rink at Robson Square is a super fun activity for the whole family! It is open from 9am to 9pm throughout the Games. Bring your own skates or rent a pair for only $3. Admission to the rink itself is free! The rink is out doors, but in a covered area so a fun activity, rain or shine

Coca-Cola Pavilion

Live City Yaletown Media Event
The Coca-Cola is an amazing and fun place for people of all ages. I was privileged to get a sneak peak at the pavilion before it opened and was amazed by what I found inside. You will learn about the history of Coca-Cola’s involvement in the Olympics from the 1990’s to present. Included in this is a display of the Olympic torches of each Games Coca-Cola has been involved in. Very Cool!! Next you will be invited to watch a video of the torch relay, and then they will let you loos in the main room of the pavilion to enjoy an ice cold Coca-Cola and participate in several cool activities, including having your photo taken with an official torch of the 2010 Games. The Coca-Cola Pavilion is a MUST SEE as far as I’m concerned! The Pavilion is located at LiveCity Yaletown at David Lam Park.

To see the photos of my “sneak peak,” and to get a better idea of what to expect, please visit Flickr.

Canada’s Northern House

A very cool Canadian cultural activity would be to check out Canada’s Northern House. Located at the corner of Seymour and West Hastings, the Northern House give the public a taste of the culture in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as Nunavut. For more information about the Northern House, please visit the website at http://www.canadasnorth.com.

The OZone

The OZone is located in Richmond, near the Olympic Oval at Minoru Park. From February 12 to 28, the O Zone will be an awesome destination to celebrate the Olympic Games, watch Olympic events on the huge screens, watch live entertainment, and participate in many family activities. Included at the OZone are activities from outdoor skating, to participating in the BCLC virtual reality sporting events, to learning about the different regions of British Columbia, to the World Ice Art Championships! There will be fireworks and theme nights at this venue as well! For more information, visit the website at http://www.richmondozone.com.

These are only a few of the many many family fun activities you will find around the city during the 2010 Games! The list is endless! There are things for all ages to join in the Olympic spirit. So bring your kids out and HAVE FUN!!!

Premier Campbell on the Olympic Zipline

Yesterday I was able to catch Premier Gordon Campbell and Olympian Charmaine Crooks fly down the temporary Olympic Zipline at Robson Square. It took him some time to actually step off the platform and take the plunge, but eventually he did and here are some photos of the event.

Premier Gordon Campbell on the Zipline

Premier Gordon Campbell on the Zipline

Premier Gordon Campbell on the Zipline

Premier Gordon Campbell on the Zipline

Premier Gordon Campbell on the Zipline

In the interview following the zipline, the Premier told news crews that the hardest part was stepping off the platform (especially considering his injured foot), but once he was going it was a great experience. he even tried to do a backward somersault, but was unsuccessful…

The zipline itself crosses over Robson Square from the top of the law courts to the Vancouver Art Gallery. It will be up throughout the Games from February 12 to 28th, from 10am to 9pm, and is FREE to the public! If you are up for the adventure I highly recommend arriving early, as the lineups for this once in a lifetime activity will likely be long! They plan on shooting 70 people down the line each hour, so chances sound pretty good that the lineup will move quite quickly! So come early and have FUN!!


House of Switzerland Opening Celebration

The House of Switzerland opened its doors to the public for the first time, in both Vancouver and Whistler on February 5th. I was privileged to be invited to the opening celebration.

The Swiss House is situated at Bridges Restaurant on Granville Island. The lineup to get a first look at the cultural House was out the door!

House of Switzerland Opening Celebration

The opening was celebrated with delicious Swiss foods, chocolate, wine, music and much more! The House will be serving meals, so make your reservations now!

House of Switzerland Opening Celebration

House of Switzerland Opening Celebration

The House also has a media room set up to cover the Games and will have several screens set up, covering events through the Swiss television station as well as local official Olympic television station, CTV. They bragged that the Swiss station would not show nearly as many commercials throughout their coverage, as North American stations would!

House of Switzerland Opening Celebration

The House of Switzerland will be open until February 28th. I highly recommend you go check it out and experience how the Swiss culture celebrates Olympic excitement!

For more information about the House of Switzerland, visit the Official Website!


Code Live Opening Celebration

On February 4th, I was lucky to be invited to the Code Live Opening Celebration.

Code Live is part of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad and is a showcase for insteractove arts, cutting edge music and culture. It runs from February 4th to 21st.

There are two main locations for this Cultural Olympiad event. One is at Emily Carr University of Art and Design on Granville Island, the other is at the Center for Digital Media, on Great Norhtern Way. There are also other installations at various locations around Vancouver over the course of the 2010 Games.
Code Live Opening


Great Northern Way Campus: Centre for Digital Media

Dune 4.0: Studio Roosegaarde (Netherlands)
Artificial Moon: Wang Yuyang, curated by Li Zhenhua (China)
Where are you?: Luc Courschene (Canada)
787 Cliparts: Oliver Laric (Austria)
Vested: Don Ritter (Canada)
Cambridge Bay: A Time and a Place: Souns featuring Tanya Tagaq (Canada)
We are Stardust: George Legrady (Canada)
Paparazzi Bots: Ken Rinaldo (USA)
Condemned Bulbes: Artificiel (Canada)
ECO ART: World Without Water: Tahir Mahmood, co presentation with the Canadian Film Centre (Canada)
Greenhouse: Brendan Wypich, co presentation with the Canadian Film Centre (Canada)
Akoumasflore: Scenoscome, co presentation with the Canadian Film Centre (France)
Seed: Napoleon Brosseau and Gabe Sahwney
Mondo Spider: Zero Emissions: eatART (Canada)
mo_ving: Raquel Kogan, curated by Claudio Rivera-Seguel (Brazil/Chile)
Breaking the Ice: Societé des arts technologiques (Canada)
Reactable: Sergi Jordà, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Günter Geiger and Marcos Alonso (Austria/Spain)
Instant Places: Canada CODE: Ian Birse, Laura Kavanaugh (Canada)
PLAY: The Hertzian Collective: Geoffrey Shea (Canada)
Analogue Nostalgia Presents / présente – Foreign Voices, Common Stories (Ghettoblaster): James Phillips (Canada)

Code Live Opening

CODE Lounge: Featuring works by Organelle and Shea Allan-McCachen

EmilyCarr University of Art and Design

The Paradise Institute: Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller (Canada)
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada
Electromode / Peau d’Ane : Valerie Lamontagne (Canada)
Skorpions and Captain Electric : Joanna Berzowska, XS Labs (Canada)
Walking City and Living Pod : Ying Gao (Canada)
Company Keeper and Emotional Ties : Sara Diamond (Canada)
Blue Code, Jacket Antics and Tornado Dress (Barbara Layne, Studio subTela: Canada)
Electric Skin and Barking Mad L Suzi Webster with Jordan Benwick (Canada)
Tendrils : Thecla Schiphorst (Canada)
*glisten)HIVE: Julie Andreyev (Canada)
CODE.lab: M. Simon Levin and Jer Thorp with Emily Carr Students and Faculty (Canada)
Song of Solomon: Julian Jonker and Ralph Borland (South Africa)
Odd Spaces: Faisal Anwar (Canada / Pakistan)
CODE Dialogues: Co presented with Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Canada)

Code Live Opening
Vancouver Central Library

The Sacred Touch: Ranjit Makkuni (India)
Seen: David Rokeby (Canada)
When the Gods Came Down to Earth: Srinivas Krishna (Canada)
Room to Make Your Peace: 2010 Olympic Truce Project

Around Vancouver

Vectorial Elevation: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Canada)
Fearless Mobile, OMG IM ON DOT TV, Untold Histories: W2 Community Media Arts Society (Canada)
Intersection 2010: Bright Light: Presented by the city of Vancouver (Canada)
NeoGrafik: NomIg (Ed Jordan, Stephanie MacKay), Alexis Laurence (Canada)
PacuBoxes: Tom Kuo, Rachel Vulliers, Jacqueline Nuwame and Anthea Foyer:
Canadian Film Centre (Canada)
Glocal Urban Screen Project: Surrey Art Gallery (Canada)

Code Live Opening

For more information, visit the CODE Live Website.

Canada Olympic House

The Canada Olympic House has two locations, one downtown Vancouver and one in Whistler Village.

Vancouver Canada Olympic House

The sixth floor of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Bay Vancouver flagship store on Granville and West Georgia Street will serve Canada’s Olympic House during the 2010 Games.

The House will provide an easily accessible retreat for Canada’s Olympic athletes, their families and team sponsors, within close walking distance of the downtown Vancouver competition and entertainment venues.

Canada Olympic House will be a relaxing and friendly meeting place for Canadian Olympic athletes, their family, friends, coaches, support staff, sponsors, government partners and special guests. Canada Olympic House also stages programs such as the Family and Friends Program, hosts athlete medal receptions and provides a multimedia centre/internet lounge and TV lounge in order to watch all the Olympic action with other enthusiastic fans and supporters.

“We look forward to working with our partners in Vancouver in creating a winning atmosphere for our Canadian team in 2010,” said Chris Rudge, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee. “We have every confidence that they will provide excellent service and support as we Paint the Town Red in celebration.”

Canada Olympic House is scheduled to be open every day during the Games from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (subject to change). Access to this private facility will require pre-games registration and accreditation by the COC and is not open to the general public. Media wishing to visit Canada Olympic House should coordinate requests with the COC.

(source: http://www.olympic.ca)

Whistler Canada Olympic House

The primary goal of the Whistler Canada Olympic House is to create a showcasing and hosting facility in the heart of Whistler. It is being designed and operated to meet the needs of the participating partners.

Held at the Whistler Public Library, the facility will be branded primarily as a hosting space that showcases Whistler and the Canadian Olympic Committee to invited guests.

Given the beauty of the building itself, multi-media will be the primary tool for showcasing, with large screens in place permanently throughout the 17 days of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  The screens will showcase sporting venues, CTV sport broadcast coverage of the Games, and a live feed from Whistler Medals Plaza and Whistler Live! programming.

Whistler video and imagery, and other content will showcase the past, present and future of Whistler to facility guests.  The outside of the building will have signage so that guests and visitors are aware that it is Whistler Canada Olympic House.

Access is primarily by accreditation or invitation; however, the Whistler community will be invited to an Open House prior to the Games as well as special community events at the facility during the Games.

Community Open House Events

* Saturday February 6, 2010 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Community Open House – Celebrate the Torch Relay and the Library’s new look

Details: The Whistler Canada Olympic House will be open to the community to check out programming, meet athletes and get a feel for the new facility. With the Torch Relay coming through town, it will be a chance for visitors to get photos with the torch, talk to the torch bearers and learn more about the relay itself.   Kids and “kids at heart” can take in the face painting, Olympic sport competitions on Wii and make their own torch.

* Saturday February 13, 2010 – 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Community Pancake Breakfast – Celebrate First Nations and Sport

Details: Start the day with good hearty Canadian pancakes and celebrate the beginning of the 2010 Winter Games. Explore First Nations culture and art as well as rub shoulders with athletes. Guests can make their own uniquely Canadian souvenir and enjoy a variety of entertainment including Native drumming, story telling and bannock making.

* Saturday February 20, 2010 – 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Community Pancake Breakfast – Celebrate Sustainability and Culture

Details: Get stuffed on pancakes, sustainability and local entertainment. Learn about the importance of sustainability with arts and crafts and more. Bobs and Lolo will get the kids hopping and singing about keeping the earth green. Don’t forget autograph books because athletes will on be there too.

* Saturday February 27, 2010 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Community Pancake Breakfast – Celebrating the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and Our Athletes

Details: As the 2010 Olympic Winter Games come to a close, the community is invited to celebrate at another pancake breakfast. Look back on the success of the Games, experience the Games through they eyes of Canada’s only 2010 Nordic Combined Olympian and look ahead to what is next for Whistler.

* Sunday February 28, 2010 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Community Open House – Celebrate the Closing Ceremonies at Whistler Canada Olympic House

Details: Celebrate the closing ceremonies with fellow community members and Canadians at Whistler Canada Olympic House. Enjoy a traditional Whistler Après while taking in the closing ceremonies on the big screen.

(source: http://www.whistler2010.com)

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Arch-Bishop to Bless the Grand Opening of Irish House 2010

The Reverend J. Michael Miller (CSB) rings in the Olympic Eve with a blessing of Irish House February 11, 2010 at 4:30PM, marking the official Grand Opening of Irish House. His Grace will anoint each room with holy water and prayers to the melodious sounds of bagpipes provided by BC Regiment Irish Pipes and Drums, one of only five serving Irish regimental pipe bands in the world.

“We wish all of you who have come to our beautiful city a satisfying and rewarding competition during the 2010 Olympiad,” said His Grace from his headquarters at the Archdiocese of Vancouver. “Most of all, we hope you will experience the ‘radical hospitality’ of Vancouverites.”

Hosted by Irish House Ambassador Dave Abbott, visitors will also be treated to traditional Irish entertainment with performances by De Danaan Irish Dancers and Murphy’s Lagh Band. Doors open at Noon, with ceremonies commencing at 4:15PM. Minors accompanied by a parent or guardian are welcome to attend until 7PM.

After the ceremony, everyone is encouraged to experience the biggest craic (party) in the city with DJ Matt and live music by The Roxy’s house band Joe’s Garage.

(source: Pearl Lam, Granville Entertainment Group)