The Downtown Vancouver Experience…

I was in Downtown Vancouver this afternoon.

I haven’t spent any time walking around downtown for years, but drive through every few months.

Exploring Downtown Vancouver, in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -
 Exploring Downtown Vancouver, in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -
 Exploring Downtown Vancouver, in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -
 Exploring Downtown Vancouver, in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -
 Exploring Downtown Vancouver, in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -
The Media and News coverage, in the last while, when talking about the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics, has been very… downside-related… talking about the problems… the downside… the security issues… the cost concerns… the military presence… and ALL the concerns that they need to present, as part of a free and open media.  It just seems that there wasn’t a positive counterpoint presented.This afternoon, I spent a few hours awash in Canadian Pride.

Stores are ablaze in Red and White.

A whole building was covered in a Canadian flag.

The Robson Square skating rink was TEEMING with families, skating.

A few feet away, a crew was working furiously… and joyfully, on preparing a stage.

The Olympic Clock was down to 9 days and change. Foreign News Correspondents were lined up to report from in front of it.

On Granville Mall, amidst the sculptures under the Lantern “Trees”, we discovered members of the Russian Team, posing and taking pictures.

In the Hudson Bay Olympic Superstore, there were clerks representing all creeds and colours, helping people wanting to buy Olympic merchandise. In the Buffet, the family of a Swiss coach waited patiently in line with everyone else… blending in, other than the small emblem on his jacket.

At the Art Gallery, a small army of ground crew teams were scrambling and working to prepare the landscape, in advance of the bark mulch spreaders. There were three people charged with the responsibility of making sure that no pedestrians tripped over the 6” bark mulch hose.

Everywhere you turn, there were people, walking… looking round, drinking in the experience.


I was quite literally stunned by the overwhelming quantity of people with “ASK ME” buttons, Olympic officials, and Downtown Ambassadors.Exploring Downtown Vancouver, in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics -

Very different from what I was expecting… What the Media had led me to expect through their coverage.

For me, the Olympics had lost some of their luster, under the immense burden of Negativity… Too many security cameras… What about the homeless… What about the Athletes Village… Why do we have a Battleship in the harbour…

Today, I embraced the Vancouver that I love… with people who are positive, excited, and ready to have a FANTASTIC Olympic Games.

I cannot wait for the next time I go Downtown, when I will spend more time, and take a better camera.

More than ever, I am looking forward to the Events I have bought tickets for.

I’ve bought my Team Canada jersey, to go with my red scarf and mitts. Canadian Flags are proudly displayed on my car and my House.

As I experience the joys of the coming weeks, I’m SO looking forward to sharing them with you, and sharing a wonderful sense of pride at the Games that are going on in OUR City !!!

Let’s GO !!!



This is the fine print, and what FINE print, it is.

I am a big Fan of the Olympics.

I am a bigger Fan of the city of Vancouver.

 I’m just a big ol’ capital ‘F’ Fan !!!

I was hugely excited when it was announced that we got the Olympics.

We got them, and, after that, some bad stuff happened. 


The Olympics are upon us.  They are OUR Olympics.  They are happening in OUR town.  We can have a blast, or we can pout.

I am NOT going to let a bunch of nay-sayers convince me that my glass is anything but brimming !!!




  1. Suzanne Bell on February 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Your “Downtown Vancouver Experience” woke me up. I have been rather lacking in the joyful spirit. I also love Vancouver and your words and photos totally reminded me to get on board. It is so easy to not feel part of it outside the downtown area. I look forward to more. Thanks so much!!!

    • Bob Gray on February 5, 2010 at 12:13 am

      Thanks for your kind comments. I think the media coverage has given Vancouverites a very “Glass half full” perspective. I was somewhat ambivalent, until I got downtown, and saw the joy and happiness that people were taking from experiencing Vancouver in Bloom. It was a revelatin to me, and I hope people experience the games for what they are… and don’t avoid them, because of what they AREN’T !!! My cup runneth over, and the Games haven’t even STARTED yet !!! See you there !!!

  2. Stacey Robinsmith on February 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I particularly like the way that the leaky-condo owners have gotten in the spirit as well. They have removed their blase blue tarps and wrapped their buildings in Canadian flags. That’s the way to show the spirit!
    But seriously, I love the energy that the Olympics are bringing to Vancouver; let’s celebrate this event!!

  3. Patti Stockton on February 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for posting this blog, Bob. (And thanks to Suzanne Bell for pointing me in it’s direction!). I’ve a friend in her 90s who’s going to the opening ceremonies, and she’s been a bit nervous about the trip from Victoria to Vancouver, and what Vancouver will be like. Your blog has changed that for her and now she’s just looking forward to it! It’s been a gift for her. Thanks again.

  4. Patti Stockton on February 8, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Wish I was going.

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