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!