This isn't a summer fair, it's actually Surrey's 2010 Olympics celebration zone
It was another glorious sunny day in Metro Vancouver with temperatures in the Fraser Valley reaching 16 degrees Celcius (61F). That's why I slapped on a bit of sunscreen and put on my sunglasses before heading out to the Surrey 2010 Celebration Zone. The best way to get to this pavilion is on SkyTrain. Don't even attempt to park in the area as it's just a zoo. As for the venue, I was pleasantly surprised with I found when I arrived on site.
At first you kind of feel like you've entered into a small town community fair (absent the rides), but as you walk through the various booths, the place kind of grows on you. Set in Holland Park, the venue is open, airy and by no means crowded like its LiveCity cousins in Vancouver.
There is a security checkpoint, but it mainly consists of someone looking at your bags before entering. Unlike the LiveCity sites which are full on with magnetic wands, scanners and pat downs, this place has a slightly more community feel to it. Even the RCMP who are hanging out near the door greet you with a smile and occasionally give the kids a Surrey 2010 pin! That said, I still think all the fencing and high security presence is a bit of a downer.
Upon entry you can visit Surrey House which is basically a large tent with a stage built at one end. When I was there a troop of young Indo-Canadian women were performing to some very enchanting Indian music. The tent is huge (and also quite dark) and can accommodate a large number of people inside, so it didn't feel claustrophobic at all.
A large outdoor stage is the most dominant feature of the site. It has two large screens flanking it on either side which were providing a live feed to CTV's Olympic coverage. The screens face south, so the bright sun did make it a tad difficult to see them mid-day. On stage were a Surrey youth choir singing a song written in celebration of the City's participation in the 2010 Games.
There is also a small kids zone on site which has a limited number of activities, but it should entertain kids under 7 for a about a half hour or so. A young staffer at the booth was responsible for pushing the sale of these flashy red balls and encouraging us to buy raffle tickets etc...that portion of the kids area wan't a big hit.
There was also a huge line-up for the toboggan ride which did seem a bit lame...that is unless you're 7 years old or younger! As for the plastic skating rink...well, I just kind of felt sad when I saw it. However, there were a number of kids who were trying to make the best of it. What else do you expect when it's 16 degrees outside!
If you have to go to the washroom, you need not worry. I snapped this photo of what seemed like an endless row of porta potties lined up on the outer edge of the property.
As for the RCMP musical ride, I never had a chance to see them as all the tickets were already scooped up. Needless to say, this is probably the most popular component of this venue and rightfully so. My best advice is to line up early and get your tickets as soon as possible in order to guarantee you are one of the lucky 3000 or so folks who get in to see the show each day.
If you want so see our Flickr photo collection from this venue, click here.
Overall I would say the Surrey Celebration Zone is a good place to go if you want to zip out of the crowded downtown core and get a different kind of Olympic experience. It's easy to access by public transit, clean and a good place for the family to visit. I'd recommend it.