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  • Vancouver View -- One-Year Anniversary Celebrations


    (ATR) Rain dampened crowds but not spirits when the first anniversary of Vancouver 2010 was commemorated Saturday.
    John Furlong (left) and Premier Gordon Campbell led a rendition of "O Canada" in Jack Poole Plaza. (ATR)

    Granville Mall was closed for street hockey and ice skating was free on the Robson Square rink while admission was waived for the day at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

    More than 3,000 people, however, huddled around Jack Poole Plaza for the reactivation of the Olympic cauldron. It was originally lit after the Feb. 12, 2010 opening ceremony by hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

    Premier Gordon Campbell and dozens of blue-jacketed VANOC volunteers led a countdown this time around before an unidentified control room operator inside the Vancouver Convention Centre turned on the five burners on the 31-foot-high sculpture.

    “It didn’t matter if you had a ticket to an event or not. When you came to Vancouver’s Olympic Games you were going to have the time of your life,” Campbell said.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, it was the time of our lives!”
    Performers from the 2010 opening and closing ceremonies reunited at the Olympic cauldron reactivation. Many of them came in costume (ATR)

    Saturday's event was one of the last for Campbell, who will be replaced Feb. 26 when the B.C. Liberal Party elects a new leader. 

    “The Canada that is often seen around the world as a country with great geography and iconic images became a country seen through its people,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong.

    “The human Canada. We did this together, all of us.”

    Furlong, still in his blue jacket, was joined at Rogers Arena (aka Canada Hockey Place), where he dropped the puck in a ceremonial faceoff before the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames on Olympic memories night.
    Vancouver big band leader Dal Richards, 93, was among the last torchbearers on Feb. 12, 2010 and was part of the first anniversary ceremony on Saturday. (ATR)

    Furlong was joined by Canadian Olympic champions Ashleigh McIvor (skicross), Denny Morrison (speedskating), Becky Kellar (hockey) and Lauren Woolstencroft, who won five gold medals in Paralympic alpine skiing.

    The game featured Canadian gold medalists Jarome Iginla and Roberto Luongo, U.S. silver medallist Ryan Kesler and four members of the bronze medal Finnish team. It was refereed by Bill McCreary, who officiated Canada’s Feb. 28, 2010 gold medal win at the same rink.

    Former VANOC employees gathered for a private evening reunion party at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

    Public festivities also took place in Whistler Village at the site of the medals plaza and at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
    The international plaza at Vancouver's Olympic Village was a haven of activity on Feb. 12, 2010. One year later, it is 68 percent vacant and in receivership. (ATR)

    More than 200 people marched from the Downtown Eastside site of a Games-time tent village to the Olympic Village to protest homelessness. Protesters walked into the Creekside Community Recreation Centre, where they briefly interrupted Olympic pin-trading and appeared to outnumber those who came to celebrate at the civic event. Protesters postponed their threatened tent village until Feb. 26.

    Low-income housing at the Olympic Village was reduced from 252 units to 126 last spring. The $1.1 billion, 1,108-unit complex went into receivership last November over developer Millennium’s $740 million debt. Sales are to resume Feb. 17. Receiver Ernst and Young says it is 32 percent occupied. A bank and liquor store are the only commercial tenants open.

    With reporting from Bob Mackin in Vancouver.

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