Monday, January 11, 2010
Vancouver Prepares for Olympics
Photo by The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER - Vancouver is putting on its Sunday best with just a month to go before the Winter Olympics.
Banners and signs are sporting the official colours of the Games, downtown buildings are wrapping themselves up with Olympic spirit and even bed-bug-sniffing dogs are getting in on the action as the city puts on its best face to welcome the world.
Up until a few months ago, the most visible indication that Vancouver was about to host one of the biggest events in the world appeared to be the ever-present construction that has irritated residents and clogged up traffic.
It's true - The Olympics are coming soon and the construction had better wrap up. All my favourite resturants and bars and nightclubs will be packed with tourists and it will be an amazing time to meet people from around the world.... if you can find your way and don't mind the buzzing atmosphere.
The regional health authority rescheduled annual inspections to take a look at every one of the 7,000 restaurant and food vendors in the city during the past six months. Several dozen restaurants were forced to close, most for a day or two, to fix violations that ranged from pest infestations to a lack of hot water.
I have mixed feelings about heading downtown during the Olympics. Part of me thinks, "it will be way too busy and I should just avoid it all together" while the other part of me, which is far more dominant, screams, "go!!! experience this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity and take it all in!"
I will likely listen to the second voice... it's louder and usually far more entertaining than the first.
But downtown Vancouver is only one part of our city.
I hope that tourists step outside of the downtown core to experience more of Vancouver and the surrounding area.
Photo from Image Bank/Getty Images
Many "Guide to Vancouver" websites have suggestions for tourists visiting our city:
Escaping downtown will be especially important starting Feb. 13, when the Vancouver National Organizing Committee (Vanoc) will start running two "LiveCity" sites, one right downtown, the other a few blocks away, in Yaletown. Featuring live music and food, "interactive sponsor pavilions" and giant television screens, these sites promise to be bustling, popular and commercial—in other words, places some people might want to avoid.
There will be areas that will be too crowded to venture into unless you are prepared to wait, and wait and wait....
As a local, I have a ton of recommendations for tourists which I will be featuring in upcoming weeks. Resturants, Bars, Tourist Sites, Beaches, Mountains, Events..... not just from my own experiences but from many of my friends who live in the downtown core.