The news that some of the 2010 free attractions will remain available during the Paralympics takes some pressure off of folks to line-up for Ziptrek, or trying to touch the Olympic medals. Great stops like Canada's Northern House will remain open as well, but the vast majority of sites are closing up this weekend. You've got until Sunday evening, then we must say goodbye to whole bunch of the free fun. Here are five things I suggest you do before it's all done.
#1 Skate on the go-cart track at Richmond's O Zone. When I visited O Zone this week I couldn't believe how cool (literally) the long-track free ice skating rink located here. It's a long course that curves and bends like a go-cart track (Richmond is home to a great destination go-cart track, by the way). The ice is kept solid by an innovative cooling system. Skate rentals are 2 bucks.
#2 Get a photo with a giant fish at Saskatchewan House. There's not a lot of wow factor at Saskatchewan House, but the great thing is that they're "keeping it reel" – as in fishing. You can stand in front of a green screen and pose with a giant fish, and the hosts will email you the image. Good kitschy fun.
#3 Ride a packed Canada Line full of proud Canadians. To me, one of the great stories of the 2010 Games has been how our transit system and volunteers have shined. Canada Line is our state of the art new rapid transit service, and it's been moving record numbers of folks. Many of the riders are sporting their Team Canada gear, pavilion pins, and big smiles. It's a great feeling just to be in a packed car full of locals and visitors to our city. Bonus points if you also line up at The Bay for swag.
#4 Eat at Jack Poole Hall at Four Host First Nations Pavilion. I wasn't kidding when I said that some of the best food you'll eat at these Games is being prepared in a cozy space located just behind the pavilion located on Georgia and Hamilton, on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Note, it's only open after 8pm. Beer and VQA wine is also servied there.
#5 Take a photo by the Olympic cauldron while it's lit. Sure, the cauldron will be there during the Paralympics, but it's unlikely that you'll be accompanied by 10,000 other camera-toting fans. Just being down there, especially after dark, is an indescribable thrill.
What are your suggestions? Leave a comment below at something someone MUST do before Sunday night. If you can't do any of the above, just get to downtown Vancouver and walk around Granville Street and Robson Square. You'll be glad you did.