Remember when everyone wanted to be in Richmond?

Post by Mike Klassen in


4000 swaying Heineken beer drinkers loving a bit of Dutch fun

For the 17 days of Vancouver's 2010 Olympics, one of the more well-planned celebration sites was Richmond's O Zone. It became a showcase for how the city sees itself in the future – transit-oriented, hip, walkable and central. Getting Holland's Heineken House to base itself in Richmond was a coup for the city. Yes, the speed skating oval was in the city, but Heineken could have sought a Vancouver location.

While we did our Where 2 Be for Free reports my phone would ring several times per day with questions about Heineken House. Can minors go? What time is it open until? How long is the line-up and do I need a Dutch passport? At that time Heineken House probably resulted in more queries than anyone else.

Richmond's O Zone in my opinion was a real success for the city. Richmond still has a long way to go before moving away from bedroom community/strip mall shopping status, but I know that the presence of Canada Line and a vision for transportation-oriented development are going to bring the city kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

The night I went to Heineken House it was hot, crowded and chaotic, but a heckuva lot of fun. Hopefully the smart folks at Richmond City Hall are looking for ways to re-capture the excitement felt on the grounds around No. 3 Road & Granville during the Games. You can bet a whole bunch of us will hop on the Canada Line and head back there when they do!


The presence of Heineken Holland House and those other attractions certainly added to the Olympic festivities and gave initiative for people to check out the O Zone and Richmond.

Richmond would be wise to emulate the concept again if they needed an excuse for another civic celebration. There's also a real potential for that area to turn into a permanent,cohesive gathering place for locals and even visitors.

+1 You read my mind, John. The area seems to be uniquely set up to be a multifaceted fairground of some kind. Having activities for young, old and in-between would be a real draw, and the Canada Line can be the means of delivering patrons.

Indeed, based on its success the Richmond O Zone will likely live again. We've trademarked the name and and are considering plans to use it again for future events.
While the O Zone was created for the Games, we always viewed it as abuilding block in the City's Major Events Strategy, which over the long-term aims to establish Richmond as a regional destination for major events. But I really wanted to comment that part of the success of the O Zone is due to City Caucus. I knew your Olympic celebration site guide was popular, but was impressed to find that more than 35,000 users were directed to our O Zone website from City Caucus. The Where 2 Be For Free section was indeed the definitive information source for folks who wanted to enjoy the the Games beyond the field of play. Well done

Ted, thanks for your comments. It's really exciting for us to know that we could help.

As for the future of Richmond's O Zone, please keep us abreast of what's next. I realize you have to probably take a breather, but you've got a good thing on your hands and we look forward to seeing O Zone Two Point O.

Check out!

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