17 amazing days await

Post by Mike Klassen in

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The Olympic Torch Relay, as it passes through one Vancouver community

As I sort through video clips that we'll be posting during Friday on CityCaucus.com, I'm finally sitting at my desk almost too exahusted to comprehend the scale of what lay ahead. Tomorrow night the Olympic Torch enters BC Place Stadium, and the 2010 Olympic Games begin. Today, the torch passed near my neighbourhood in East Vancouver. A number of parents gathered up their kids after school and marshaled along 37th Avenue, just west of Main Street. I'm not sure how many noticed that this was right beside the controversial Little Mountain social housing development, now razed to the ground as the City and Province decides what will replace it.

This morning I got to perform as part of a gag video production based upon Vancouver's Protocol Handbook. I played the foil to Aussie comic Mick Molloy, who is described as a down under version of Stephen Colbert. I don't know Mick's work, but he was indeed funny and charming in person. The video was shot in a room downstairs at the International Media Centre, also known as Vancouver's new Convention Centre.

I was informed about the extreme level of security at this building by Bob Mackin over at 24 Hours. He wasn't kidding. In order to get to the office set up for Australia's Channel Nine network, I had to get a guest security pass. To get that pass I needed to provide details of my passport in advance. Then I had to bring my passport to the check-in desk, which they kept until I exited the building. The check-in was very airport like, with a body scan and all my possessions emptied out of my pockets and x-rayed.

It sounds like a hassle, but really the pouring rain was more of an inconvenience.

The rest of the day was a continuation of the wild ride CityCaucus.com has been on for the last few weeks. Our web traffic looks like it will push 100,000 page views for today, with no signs it will die down much during the Games. We learned that we have received a very special invitation for Friday, that we are extremely flattered and excited to be a part of. We'll reveal details about this before noon.

I managed to make a whirlwind visit of the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion. It's a place that I recommend everyone checks out. You get to see the Olympic medals up close, and have the opportunity to touch them at one of five special presentations staged each day. I was blown away by the crowd that packed the place just after I arrived.

After that I managed to swing by the German Fan Fest on West Cordova Street. As I walked up I ran into my friend Gord Price, who had just imbibed a glass of German beer to wash down a bratwurst & bun combination. In my opinion, German Fan Fest has what Irish House lacks, despite the fact they are both just tents in a parking lot. I predict this to be one of the great party zones of the 2010 Games. Our Pavilion Profile on it is coming soon.

In the afternoon I headed back to my neighbourhood to get ready for the arrival of the Olympic Torch. I was joined by thousands from the community. I heard the same story from my family who also visited the Torch Relay route in other parts of the city. Big turnouts, lots of excitement. I cobbled together this video of the torch run along 37th Avenue.

After that I did something I should have done weeks ago. I decided to go to The Bay to buy some Olympic swag for my family members. It was pretty picked over, but I managed to find shirts that fit us all. The crowds at the 2010 stores have been apparently been much larger than predicted.

I hopped back onto the Canada Line, then onto the Bombardier Streetcar to get to the opening of Place de la Francophonie on Granville Island. I'm not totally sure how this mostly outdoor venue will work. When I arrived it was dark and pouring with rain, and I didn't really want to stay. I hope that the weather behaves for their sake.

I wrapped up the day attending Kla-how-ya Welcome Reception and Aboriginal Feast at the Pan Pacific Hotel (thanks again to the miracle that is Canada Line). I got my fourth interview of the day with Keith Henry, CEO of the Aboriginal Tourism Association. Maybe it's the bubble I've been in, but I really feel that one of the most exciting stories of the 2010 Games is the emergence of a new Aboriginal culture, one that embraces innovation and enterprise, while remaining defiantly proud of their heritage. More on this topic in the days to come.

Thanks again to all our readers. It's been thrilling to get your feedback, and hearing your stories from Vancouver 2010. Hang on tight, as we're all about to begin a wild ride when the Games begin.

- post by Mike

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