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How will the 2010 Olympics change my city?

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Shot on the Flip Ultra HD.

I live right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. And like many Vancouverites, I feel a responsibility to make the 2010 Olympics a great success. I want visitors fall in love with my city and enjoy all the sights and experiences Vancouver has to offer.

I feel happy when I see crowds of smiling faces milling around the Olympic Countdown clock in Robson Square, snapping photos and “ohhing” and “ahhing” at the bright, snow-capped mountains and tall, glass buildings that frame our picturesque downtown.

For the most part, I’ve embraced the many permanent changes I see appearing all over our city. Every so often, I’ll see something that will make me grumble about the games, like the huge, garish McDonald’s mural painted on the Hamilton entrance of the Vancouver Public Library,

Yes, we are welcoming the world to our city, but I can’t help but wonder what Olympic mementos, good or bad, the city will be left with when the 2010 party bus leaves town.

Will the Olympics change a city for the good or bad? Thoughts?

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Craig
    February 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    While away on vacation last week, I heard a story of a realtor who has a place in Whistler. Unfortunately he was forced to pay exorbitant park fees for his own parking spot. (I believe $3500 a week was what I was told). He decided to head back to Vancouver. Of course, Vancouver is overrun now too so he headed to Hawaii. Yes, I know…life is hard when you have to leave your mountain side chalet AND your urban refuge to go to Hawaii.
    Anyways, is the Olympics good for Canada and B.C. specifically? Absolutely. Is there a cost for this? Certainly.
    I was living closer to Edmonton when the Olympics came to Calgary but the legacy of the ’88 games definitely lives on here as I am sure it will in Vancouver as well.

  • Reply
    Jim Cutler
    February 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Terrific. Really good angle on what it feels like to be amongst the Olympic changes happening in your city. Hope you will do that followup after it’s over. How fast to the new decorations come down? What will stay? Well executed and hosted. Cheers from NYC.

  • Reply
    Sascha Vogt
    February 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Not so long ago we had the European Soccer Championship here in Vienna. They had several public viewing areas. So a lot of roads were closed which caused traffic-jams anywhere else.

    Also a lot of clubs, coffeeshops and bars put up TV’s everywhere so it was impossible to have a decent conversation in most places. And most of them tried to make a quick buck too.

    So unless you are in some kind of gastronomy related business where you might get some overtime or dips, you as an average citizen will just be allowed to proudly handle the problems caused by an event like that.

    I feel for you..

    Sascha

  • Reply
    Jay
    February 10, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    It’ll probably be the same gray, cloudy, rainy city that it is now. Except with a boatload of debt from hosting the games. Sure, you got some new buildings and a shiny facade, but it’s still a city that I love to visit but hated to live in.

    The Olympics won’t bring sunshine to Vancouver and until that happens it’ll be the same ‘dreary for 8 months of the year’ city that it is now.

  • Reply
    Mully410
    February 10, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Vancouver is a beautiful city and Whistler is a wonderful place to ski. I hope the games don’t change anything for the worse.

  • Reply
    Joe Ascanio
    February 10, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    It’s a tricky thing, and there are valid arguments on either side. From a strictly tourism standpoint, hosting the Olympics often boosts the economy for an immediate period, but then statistics show a dramatic fallout in the years after.

    One thing for certain is that the Vancouver Olympic Committee is taking some great strides in not only “greening” up the festivities, but playing close attention to the impact the Games will have on the communities as well as indigenous cultures.

  • Reply
    makemineamac
    February 10, 2010 at 11:19 PM

    Well Jay, the sun has been shining constantly since you left!

    And Joe, you’re right, Vanoc appears to have done an outstanding job all around and have set great standards for the future games to learn from.

    And as for a boatload of debt, everything has been paid for up to now, with no cost overruns, so we hopefully will be good after the games as well.

    In any case, not sure how much it will change our great little city here, for certain it will not be exactly the same, but there will be legacy venus that we will benefit from well into the future.

    In addition, many millions of people will be seeing it on television for the first time, and whether it’s sunny or not, it really is a special city that lots of people I’m sure will want to come and visit. We’ll welcome them as we welcome everyone else.

  • Reply
    Stefan
    February 11, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    All right. You got me hooked up now.
    Now, I wanna see Vancouver some time.

    http://twitter.com/stelten

  • Reply
    Stephen
    February 11, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    Great video Lisa. I live in Sydney and I can still remember the incredible 3-4 weeks over the Olympic period in 2000. I hope your experience in Vancouver is as good as ours!

  • Reply
    Jan Ole Peek
    February 11, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    I think the Olympics where there are no cost overruns don’t exist. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of money being spent and if this were purely a business the ROI would make no sense. But it’s not just a business, it’s about bringing people together across the world. In that sense I hope Vancouver will be remembered as doing a good job in that field. As for the cost, I think all of us British Columbians will feel that, but hey, that’s why the Olympics only come around once in a lifetime :)

  • Reply
    Max
    February 11, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    For me there’s no difference (and I’m consciously writing this comment without having read the other ones before) because I fell in love with Vancouver weeks or months ago (not least because of your blog).
    I’ve been planning my trip to Canada and Vancouver all fall and it turned out to be impossible to fund for my wife and me so we’ll stay in Germany or probably have our summer vacation in France again.
    And I’m truly depressed because of that. My wife’s family has many relatives in Canada and although they live in Ontario, I just HAVE to visit Vancouver and it doesn’t make any difference if there are Olympic Games in this wonderful city or not. I just have to go there.
    The Olympics just imply a beautiful opportunity for me to learn about Vancouver. And I honestly don’t care about 7$ for Potato Wedges or if they take 200$ for getting around the Olympic Village because that’s what they’d do EVERYWHERE. I’ll concentrate on the information about culture and life which run apart from the contests. That’s what made me start studying East Asian studies after Soccer World Cup 2002, that’s what’ll keep me fascninated about Vancouver and Canada.

  • Reply
    djam
    February 12, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Great idea to share with us your olympics experiency and how Vancouver handle this event.

    live from Paris ;)

  • Reply
    Rona Santrizos
    February 13, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    I completely agree with the above comment, the internet is with a doubt growing into the most important medium of communication across the globe and its due to sites like this that ideas are spreading so quickly.

  • Reply
    Christina Warren
    February 13, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    I’m loving your coverage Lisa! It’ll be interesting to see what changes, longterm, you notice. When Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, the short-term was pretty expected, but the long term has been interesting. Both good and bad. Good, of course, added structures, a bigger worldwide name for our city, the fact that the Olympic Village ended up becoming dormitories that my University purchased (which 5 years after the 1996 Olympics, saved me from the hell that is communal bathrooms/showers), a new baseball stadium, etc.

    The bad was that not all of those structures really added anything to the city post-Olynpics, some were shoddily built (see the Olympic Village, which they figured out was sinking my freshmen year ( my University then shrewdly sold the building to Georgia Tech, who thinking that they are awesome engineers and stuff figured they could fix it — heh. Yeah. Whoops.) and the shitty downtown area never turned around.

    Almost 15 years alter, I’d say Atlanta is better for having the Olympics for sure. It’ll be interesting to see your thoughts on the immediate and long-term changes that come to Vancouver.

  • Reply
    Neil
    February 14, 2010 at 3:14 AM

    Hi Lisa,

    loved the quality of the video – I didn’t know the Flip was that good! Seriously considering getting one now.

    What software did you use to edit?

  • Reply
    Some great posts from Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Bloggers - masey
    February 22, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    […] How will the 2010 Olympics change my city? […]

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