Crowds at Robson Square enjoying the sun and the great energy downtown
The #1 question we've been getting asked at CityCaucus.com for days has been, "will we be able to still see the pavilions during the Paralympics?" The Olympic Games end on Sunday, and with it will come the closures of the vast majority of the free venues. Today – Monday – is predicted to be the last full day of pure sunshine for the duration of the Olympic Games. If you were going to skip out of work, or take a day off from classes, then it would be our recommendation to get to downtown Vancouver. Surrey Celebration site is closed until Wednesday. Check out GlobalTV's piece on what venues will remain open, and which will close. Tourism Vancouver has provided a pretty good summary of what we know today is staying open, and you can read it here:
Just 12 days after the Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games kick off. From March 12 to 21, Vancouver and Whistler will host 1,350 Paralympic athletes and team officials from 44 countries in what will be the first Paralympic Winter Games ever held in Canada.
Inexpensive tickets, plentiful downtown accommodation, a wonderful celebratory atmosphere, and inspiring athletes will make the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games an event not to be missed. Here's a run-down of what you need to know to plan your trip.
Paralympic tickets: Paralympic tickets start at just $15! For most Paralympic events, tickets can be purchased on the day of the event, at the venue, or in person at one of the downtown Vancouver 2010 Ticket Centres. For high-demand events (such as ice sledge hockey), advance ticket purchase is recommended. Canadians can purchase advance tickets through Vancouver2010.com, while US and international visitors can purchase tickets through their National Paralympic Committee or the Official Ticket Agent representing their region. Tickets are on sale now.
Accommodation: Rooms at top downtown Vancouver hotels is readily available during the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and can be booked through Tourism Vancouver's accommodation page. Use Tourism Vancouver's new interactive map to choose accommodation near the Paralympic venues.
Events and venues: There are five competition sports taking place during the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling will be contested in Vancouver (at UBC Thunderbird Arena and Vancouver Paralympic Centre respectively), while alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-country skiing events will be hosted in Whistler. The venues have been specially built or retrofitted for Paralympic competition. For example, UBC Thunderbird Arena will have ice surfaces built into the benches and boxes to ease transition for players from resting areas to the playing surface (a first in Paralympic Winter Games history). Click here for the full 2010 Paralympic Winter Games schedule.
- Paralympic Torch Relay: Starting in Ottawa on March 3, the Paralympic Torch Relay will see approximately 600 torchbearers carry the torch across Canada.
- 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony (March 12, BC Place): A spectacular event including 1,500 athletes from 45 countries and 4,000 dancers, singers, acrobats, athletes and musicians of all ages.
- Gold medal ice sledge hockey game (March 20, UBC Thunderbird Arena): The gold medal ice sledge hockey game is bound to be the most talked about event of the 2010 Paralympic Games. This game is already sold out, but look for resale tickets on the official fan-to-fan marketplace or catch the game at restaurants and bars all across the city.
- Souvenir shopping: The cute plush-toy version of Sumi, the official Paralympic mascot, is the top souvenir of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Sumi, along with other official Paralympic merchandise, is readily available in Vancouver stores.
Where to party and explore during the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games:
- LiveCity Downtown (Georgia Street, between Beatty and Cambie Streets): The City of Vancouver-sponsored celebration site will feature giant screens and live performances. Open March 12 to 14 and 18 to 21, from 1pm to 9pm.
- British Columbia's Robson Square Celebration Site (Robson Street, between Hornby and Howe Streets): The GE Ice Plaza at the Robson Square Celebration Site will be one of the major gathering places during the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, featuring ice skating, athlete demonstrations, family events and BC-focused programming. The GE Ice Plaza is already open to the public with free skating and public events.
- BC Hydro Power Smart Village (333 Dunsmuir Street): This family-friendly celebration site will feature a dance floor that generates electricity as people dance. A section of the village will be devoted to showcasing Canada's greatest Paralympic moments. Open March 1 to 22 from 10am to 6pm.
- Canada's Northern House (602 West Hastings Street): Canada's Northern House showcases the culture of Canada's three territories including demonstrations of traditional Arctic games, craft displays and live musical events. Open March 1 to 31 from 10am to 5pm.
- Pride House Vancouver (1170 Bute Street): An inclusive, welcome space for LGBT athletes, family, friends and visitors to come together and celebrate.
- Centreplace Manitoba (at LiveCity Downtown): CentrePlace Manitoba features multimedia displays and an exhibit by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Open March 12 from 4pm to 7pm; March 13 to 14 and 18 to 21, from 1pm to 9pm.
On another note, we're hearing that the BC government is exploring the option of keeping the BC-Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Ziptrek open. Stay tuned for details.
Thanks to Tourism Vancouver for this great update! Visit them at www.tourismvancouver.com.