I love this city, but when I see this, it makes my heart pound. This photo of a spontaneous street hockey matchup on Granville street on Tuesday night (courtesy of John) is another example of our city at its best. Apparently, five guys from Minnesota challenged Canadians to a game, only to be defeated. Downtown Vancouver has become in some ways a giant, joyful pickup street hockey game. Repeatedly we see the smiles as people move through the streets, venues and local restaurants to watch big screen Olympics.
Yesterday, I spent the day with my family visiting Granville Island before heading downtown riding the Aquabus across False Creek. On the ride over I met a guy I used to work with at Electronic Arts, and haven't see in nearly a decade. He was with his folks, who described their first visits here during Expo 86. Also on the boat were a father and son from Punxsutawney, PA, in the USA. They were over the moon about Vancouver, and coming here for the Games. They shook my hand as though I was the city's representative and said, "thank you for being a great host."
Realizing we had underdressed for the cool evening, we lined up (again) at what I call "The Bay pavilion" to buy more Team Canada/Vancouver 2010 gear. It was a relatively swift 30-minute line-up, despite the fact it was a block long.
We made friends with our neighbours in the queue, a couple who, like us, were just wanting to experience this amazing event taking place in our city. So far, however, they haven't been able to persuade their teenage kids to come downtown. Hopefully those kids wake up to the fact that this festival ends in nine days. I know that my child, who has now seen two fireworks & laser shows down at Robson Square, will always remember that the Games were in Vancouver for the rest of her life.
The spontaneous hockey match-ups are a fantastic use of public space, and symbolic of the spirit of this event.
Just a note to pick up 24 Hours Newspaper today for my column (see it on 24 Hours' website). I interview the former Commissioner General of Expo 86 Patrick Reid, asking him to compare the 2010 Games to Vancouver's Expo.
- post by Mike