Keeping cool – VPD members remain relaxed as thousands pour into downtown
Widely celebrated for their part in a successful, high energy 2010 Games, the Olympic volunteers (aka the Blue Coats, or Smurfs), police and security forces deserve to be feted in Vancouver and Whistler. We suggest that these cities should recognize these folks for their exceptional work over the 2010 Games by throwing them a little party.
Granville Street, newly decorated and full of lovely light fixtures, became a true centre of the region with its art displays, and spontaneous street hockey matches. For the Vancouver volunteers and security, Granville Mall seems like a natural spot to invite all these folks down to celebrate. Same for the village square up in Whistler – invite those folks who made the Games such a success up the Sea to Sky corridor to your party.
While some have puzzled over why we had such a fun and relatively problem-free celebration in Vancouver's downtown core, I know that it was the presence of children and families which made the difference. In fact, all future large-scale celebrations must factor in affordable, family-oriented activities to ensure success and to help keep a lid on rowdiness.
There's been talk of having street hockey competitions on Granville Mall – a great idea. However, don't think for a minute this should involved only young adults. If you do that, it's guaranteed to become a giant piss up with all the problems that follow. Instead, tournaments must include little kid leagues, boys and girls, and even leagues for older folks – the ones with beat up knees and hips.
And for gosh sakes, have some decent food to eat on-site. I've been to too many events in town where the food line-ups are as atrocious as the quality of nosh served. Get some real chefs on board and serve up some good grub.
What better way to kick off a downtown celebration like this than inviting the volunteers and security folks who kept us safe and happy? Give each of them vouchers that they can spend on food, drink or swag, and let everyone else who comes down pay cash. It could be Vancouver's first post-Olympics celebration that confirms that we are no longer a No Fun City.