Today: Last Update:

  • Vancouver View -- Anniversary Weekend; Olympic Village Woes


    Olympic mittens from The Hudson Bay Company were a popular item during the 2010 Olympics. (Getty Images)
    Vancouverites will wear their red mittens under umbrellas Saturday when rain is expected to fall throughout the first anniversary of the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

    Free events are scheduled for downtown Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler Village to commemorate the Games and recreate the party atmosphere.

    Robson Square, the provincial celebration site, is open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with free public skating and appearances by Canadian Olympians, including gold medallists Becky Kellar (hockey) and Denny Morrison (speedskating). Granville Mall will be closed to transit buses for street hockey.

    Events are also planned for Yaletown and the Creekside Community Recreation Centre at the Olympic Village site. John Furlong is the guest speaker at a VancouverAM pancake breakfast in the Vancouver Convention Centre. He will also be promoting his book, “Patriot Hearts”, on Sunday in Whistler and Monday in Richmond.

    Few Games sponsors are celebrating. The Royal Canadian Mint has medals on display at its storefront on Granville Mall. Patrick Chan, the Canadian men’s figure skating champion, will be appearing at a McDonald’s restaurant on Granville Mall from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    The Olympic cauldron will be re-lit at 4 p.m. for a reunion of VANOC workers and volunteers and Olympic torchbearers. VANOC workers will also have a private reception inside the Vancouver Convention Centre.

    Rogers Arena, which was known as Canada Hockey Place during the Games, hosts a salute to Olympians when the Vancouver Canucks host the Calgary Flames in a 7 p.m. National Hockey League game.

    Richmond’s Winterfest takes over the Richmond Olympic Oval from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., although the speedskating track was removed last spring. The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park are open by donation all day. Whistler Olympic Plaza hosts a first anniversary ceremony at 3 p.m.

    Canadian rights-holder CTV’s behind-the-scenes special. “17
    Part of this weekend's festivities include re-lighting the cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza. (Getty Images)
    Days” airs Saturday at 7 p.m. and the two-hour anniversary special is on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

    Nodar Documentary

    Feb. 12 is also the anniversary of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s fatal crash during a training session at the Whistler Sliding Centre. The 21-year-old Georgian luger was pronounced dead an hour after the 10:48 a.m. accident. Flags throughout the Olympic city were lowered and there was a moment of silence at the opening ceremony.

    The International Luge Federation, FIL, claimed driver error was the cause, but documents released Monday show VANOC CEO John Furlong worried that an athlete could suffer a serious injury on the track. Since the day of the tragedy, Furlong has claimed VANOC was never prepared for a fatality. On Monday, he said VANOC followed FIL and bobsleigh federation orders for safety modifications. The track was faster than designed, but Furlong said nobody told him it would be dangerous.

    “The Fifth Estate”, a CBC investigative news program, will air a full-edition documentary called Death at the Olympics on Feb. 11.

    Reporter Bob McKeown said the two governing bodies for sliding sports could not entirely agree on measures to make the track safer.

    “To the best of our knowledge those modifications were not made. I've asked (VANOC CEO) John Furlong directly several times, this last interview I asked him seven times,” McKeown said. “When he says they did everything they (were) asked, that's not really true, they did everything (FIL and FIBT) signed-off on.”

    McKeown said the Canadian and B.C. luge associations refused to grant access to tracks in Calgary and Whistler.

    Olympic Village

    Most units of the re-branded Olympic Village remain empty. (Getty Images)
    Sales of Olympic Village luxury condominiums were supposed to resume on the first anniversary, but will instead reopen Feb. 17.

    Receiver Ernst and Young has re-branded Millennium Water as the Village on False Creek and prices are being discounted by 30 percent. The 230 suites for sale are worth a combined $200 million.

    The May 2010 launch resulted in just 30 sales. Ernst and Young took over from developer Millennium on Nov. 17, 2010. Millennium owed $740 million to city hall. Only 32 percent of the 1,108 suites are occupied.

    Radio Interview

    Around the Rings Editor Ed Hula will appear on CBC Radio on Friday to discuss the legacy of Vancouver and what's next for London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

    The interview will take place at 10:15 Toronto time.

    Click here to listen live to the interview.

    With reporting from Bob Mackin in Vancouver.

    For general comments or questions click here.

    Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.