City crews put together new street furniture on Granville Street
Sporting my shiny new 2010 Games Transit Pass I returned home on the Canada Line after an evening out Thursday night. I sat patiently waiting for a connection bus at King Edward & Cambie, and watched the Vectorial Elevation light show start its first night cutting up the sky. Earlier I saw a 2-man band hold the attention of a crowd down at Granville & Georgia. The light beams and lively streets made me feel like this isn't Vancouver – it's Gotham City, and the big beams are a signal to the Dark Knight himself.
I strolled home while a warm breeze shook the empty branches of street trees. El Niño clearly didn't get the memo about us holding a Winter Games in Vancouver. Today was warm enough for shirtsleeves, or a light jacket at least. Think about the folks traveling here from back east or Europe, where Old Man Winter has been merciless. I hope they pack something light.
Today was a bit of a whirlwind for Daniel and myself. My 24 Hours column came out titled Come on, let's party! The message was straightforward, get out and enjoy all the free activities we've been writing about. A reporter from News 1130 followed up, adding the "free" theme to their news cycle all day. We met up with GlobalTV's charming health beat reporter Linda Aylesworth, and while shooting some b-roll on Granville Mall we happened to meet up with two lovely ladies who told Linda they were checking out the art exhibit because they read about it at CityCaucus.com. It was a precious unscripted moment that I hope somehow doesn't wind up on the cutting room floor.
We wandered Granville Street, just amazed at the beautiful new street furniture going in here. City work crews, both staff and contractors alike have moved mountains to get our city to sparkle for the Games. I consider it a heroic feat. Vancouver looks amazing.
We've been asked where we'll be for the next few weeks. Our goal is to continue to build and refine the information we have here on CityCaucus.com's 2010 Free Events Guide, while letting as many people know as possible about Vancouver 2010's free events. Our collaborators in this effort are GlobalTV, CBC, and 24 Hours newspaper. With the hundreds of thousands of clicks we're getting here, combined with the reach of these media outlets, we're sure to get the word out in time.
Other media have been hugely supportive. Staff at CKNW Radio and the Bill Good Show have been phenomenal in their support of promoting our Free Events Guide. Jeff Lee at the Vancouver Sun has been plugging us. Jeff Nagel with the Black Press has spread the word about the Free stuff in the Fraser Valley. In fact, a comment from a colleague of Jeff's (Jessica Murdy, editor of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer) sums up why we've been knocking ourselves out for weeks.
Great info, Jeff! Here at the Agassiz-Harrison Observer, my online readers told me they don't believe families can afford the Olympics. My 10-year-old son told me the same. And I believed them. Then I read your story about free Olympic venues and activities. And now, I want to prove them all wrong.
So, I've decided to pull my kids out of school and hit the road next Thursday with cameras, notepad and sense of humour up my sleeve.
We are setting out as a family of four and a budget of $100 (solely for food and transportation). We'll be driving from Chilliwack to Surrey, hopping on the Skytrain and hoping we'll find fun when we reach the end of the line in Vancouver. We'll be on the lookout for free swag, and will leave room in our bags to haul the Olympic loot home.
But I need help!
In the coming week, I'll be planning the trip, mapping out routes, creating a time line and crossing my fingers for warm weather in the city and snow in the mountains. If any readers have any advice for me, please post it here and I'll do my best to follow it. Thanks, and wish us luck!!!
I don't know about you, but that's just amazing to me. Here's someone who couldn't afford to take her family to the sport events, but armed with the knowledge that there's something to see for free, she's doing the 2-hour commute (longer when you've got kids) all the way into town to be a part of the celebration.
I'm grateful for the patience of everyone around me – family, friends, clients. They're not seeing me much lately. Same goes for Daniel. We're sacrificing sleep and ignoring common sense in order to get the word out on Where 2 Be for Free.
Thanks, everyone, for your part in spreading the word. The thousands of emails, Facebook shares and ReTweets are going to make these the world's first social media Games success story.
From where I stand it's been a great week, and it's only going to get better.
- post by Mike