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  • On the Scene - Low-Key Anniversary for Vancouver 2010


    Former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell (seated left) and VANOC CEO John Furlong (seated right) were among the anniversary guests. (ATR)
    (ATR) Vancouver marks the second anniversary of the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in subtle fashion. 

    The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at B.C. Place Stadium celebrated its grand reopening over the weekend with a private party on Feb. 10 attended by Nancy Greene Raine and Johnny Lyall.

    Greene Raine, the Grenoble 1968 alpine skiing gold medalist, was among the last five torchbearers at the Feb. 12, 2010 opening ceremony in B.C. Place. Snowboarder Lyall spectacularly jumped through the Olympic rings at the start of the ceremony.

    The Sports Hall’s Vancouver 2010 gallery boasts the biggest public display of artifacts from the Games.

    VANOC CEO John Furlong signed his Patriot Hearts memoir on Feb. 11 to begin the Sports Hall’s two-day, half-price admission Red Mitten Weekend and blue-jacket reunion for Games volunteers and workers.

    Former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell spoke at a Feb. 10 Vancouver Board of Trade lunch. It was his first appearance in B.C. since becoming High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland last year. Campbell was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to represent Canada in London during Queen Elizabeth II’s June diamond jubilee festivities and the 2012 Games.

    Furlong, VANOC chief financial officer John McLaughlin and Darlene Poole, widow of founding chairman Jack Poole, attended the Vancouver Convention Centre event. Campbell’s successor, Premier Christy Clark, did not attend. Her office scheduled meetings on the same day with Christine Gregoire, the Governor of Washington.

    During his speech, Campbell recounted how he arrived late at the opening ceremony after a bus driver shuttling dignitaries got lost and stuck in a traffic jam.

    “I get on this bus, I'm feeling pretty darn excited about this. There were some good things and bad things about the bus. It was great to have Darlene (Poole) on the bus with me, wasn't as keen about Dick Pound,” Campbell said.
    Mascots Miga, Quatchi and Sumi are now frozen in time at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. IOC rules prohibit the costumes from being worn after the Games. (ATR)

    Amid the gridlock, Campbell demanded the bus driver let passengers out so they could walk the remaining two blocks to B.C. Place. He said he was “frankly livid” when he arrived late, along with chiefs of the Four Host First Nations.

    “I looked out across this huge crowd of people at Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympic Games opening and I remembered something that Jack Poole used to say all the time for us,” Campbell said. “The Olympics is not about us, it's about the other guy. It's about the athlete, it's about the artist, it's about the the people that make it work, it's about the volunteers, it's about the workers.”

    Despite Campbell’s return and Sunday’s second anniversary, the Olympic cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza was not reactivated. In May 2011, officials of B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the public agency that manages the convention centre, decided to charge event producers more than $3,500 for a minimum four-hour activation.

    Elsewhere, the Richmond Olympic Oval held an indoor and outdoor hockey festival as part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s nationally televised, annual Hockey Day in Canada on Feb. 11. Snowboarding and freestyle skiing venue Cypress Mountain teamed up with Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour, downtown hoteliers and nightclubs for the first three-day City and Slope Festival.

    The only prominent Canadian Olympian appearing in Vancouver Feb. 10-12 at a 2010 venue was Sydney 2000 gold medal-winning doubles tennis player Daniel Nestor.
    Nancy Greene Raine next to the torch. (ATR)

    Nestor and Canada’s Davis Cup team lost a world group first round tie to France at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, the secondary hockey rink built for the Games at the University of B.C.

    Meanwhile, the Province of B.C. will not have a trade or tourism promotional presence at London 2012.

    “We think it would be very crowded and cluttered, particularly during a Summer Games held in Europe,” said Jobs, Tourism and Innovation minister Pat Bell. “So, to have the level of impact that we would need would’ve required an expenditure, we couldn’t justify.”

    B.C. spent more than $25 million on pavilions during Turin 2006, Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010.

    When budget cutbacks nixed a British pavilion during Vancouver 2010, the B.C. government gave hospitality space to U.K. Trade and Investment, Visit Britain, British Olympic Association and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

    U.K. generally delivers 200,000 travelers and 2,000 immigrants a year to B.C. and bought $293.7 million in 2010, mainly coal, lumber and fish.

    With reporting from Bob Mackin in Vancouver.

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