Should the City of Vancouver open up a few venues to the public for free?
If you’ve been following the media lately, no doubt you know a few folks are choked with the Olympic cauldron being kept off limits to the public. Despite moving the chain link fence closer to the flame, the compromise solution still doesn’t appear to be winning over many fans. Perhaps it’s time for the Mayor to “kick it into gear” with Plan B. With a little over one week left until the Games are over, and line-ups at the free Olympic pavilions stretched for blocks, could a little bit of creativity help to get us out of a public relations pickle? Might I humbly suggest the following...
Why doesn’t the Mayor look at a few public venues under his control in Vancouver and throw them open to the public during the last week of the Games as a goodwill gesture? This would not only help to make up for Vancouver's Olympic PR disaster, it would also provide a set of new venues that local tourists could visit in their last week in town. If the City of Vancouver were willing to consider it, here are three public institutions they may want to consider adding to our Where 2 Be for Free guide.
Maritime Museum: Located in Kitsilano, a stone’s throw from downtown Vancouver, this museum celebrates Vancouver’s martime history. A ship called the historic St. Roch is located inside. The venue is a bit tired looking, but rest assured it would get lots of interest if we added it to our list.
Bloedel Conservatory: The Mayor announced he was going to shut this 40 year old institution down a few months ago. It is located in beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park near the Olympic curling centre. If they opened up their doors “by donation only”, they may well get more revenue than a regular week. Who knows?
Stanley Park Petting Zoo: The City of Vancouver is also planning on shutting this venue due to budget cuts. This petting zoo is located in beautiful Stanley Park and would be a big hit with parents looking for something to keep the kids entertained for an hour or two.
If you don't think throwing open the doors to a public institution would be successful, just check out what happened to the Vancouver Art Gallery when they got rid of their entrance free. The line-ups are now snaking around the block, and tourists (as well as locals) are having a great experience as a result.
While we’re at it, perhaps a few other private tourist destinations may want to show their hospitality by providing free entry for one day next week as part of this Olympic Cauldron promotion. How about the following as a good start:
- Vancouver Aquarium (Vancouver Park Board provides support)
- HR MacMillan Space Science Centre (City of Vancouver provides support)
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Van Dusen Gardens (City of Vancouver provides support)
- UBC Botanical Garden
If each of these venues started announcing they were opening up their doors to international tourists next week to help VANOC make up for their cauldron gaffe, just imagine the kind of publicity they would receive.
In the short term, it may cost the City a few bucks to open up their three venues to the public, but it most certainly would go a long way in helping to repair some of the damage done to Vancouver’s reputation. And it might the be the last kick at the can for two institutions which are set to close in a few months. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.