Cory Raven | 604-220-9399

VANCOUVER — The mortgage-rate fuelled bounce-back of British Columbia real estate in 2009 has probably used up most of the market’s growth for 2010 and 2011, according to a new estimate from the B.C. Real Estate Association.
Association chief economist Cameron Muir is forecasting provincewide sales in 2010 to increase only three per cent above a hot 2009’s results to 90,100 sales in 2010, then slip back three per cent to 87,500 units in 2011.
The provincial average price, Muir is forecasting, will advance five per cent to $490,900 in 2010 then eke out just one-per-cent growth to $494,800 in 2011.
Muir characterized his forecast as 2009 ending with a “gold-medal finish, [which] will give way to a silver-medal performance in 2010.”
“Affordability is the biggest factor over the longer term,” Muir added in an interview, “because home prices in markets such as Victoria and Vancouver are trending on record levels, and mortgage rates are likely to edge higher at the end of this year and through 2011.”

“That’s going to increase the carrying cost of housing, and by extension, overall housing demand.”

Home carrying costs, the monthly mortgage payment, taxes and other fees saw a dramatic trim during the downturn that lasted through the last half of 2008 and first part of 2009, but Muir noted that that advantage is rapidly disappearing.
And while B.C.’s economy is creeping towards a recovery with some job and income growth, Muir said the growth is not coming quickly enough to offset the rising unaffordability of housing.

“We’re unlikely to see record sales levels this year and next as a result of that,” Muir said.

However, Muir does expect B.C. home sales in 2010 and 2011 to remain slightly above the 10-year annual average, which is “what we would expect given the economy is just coming out of recession.”

In his forecast, Muir estimates that the markets that roared back the most in 2009 — Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria — will be among those with the most muted results in 2010 and 2011.

After rocketing back 44 per cent in 2009, Muir is projecting Metro Vancouver sales to advance just three per cent to 37,500 units in 2010, then slip back five per cent to 35,500 in 2011.

Muir is forecasting that the Metro Vancouver average price will jump seven per cent in 2010 to $636,000, then edge up just one per cent to $643,000 in 2011.
Victoria, which saw sales rise 24 per cent in 2009, will see sales edge up to 7,850 units in 2010, then fall back six per cent to 7,350 in 2011.

Muir is forecasting that Chilliwack and Kamloops will see stronger surges in 2010 sales with both areas expected to see 17 per cent sales growth in 2010, followed by two per cent growth in 2011.

For Chilliwack, that means 2,650 sales in 2010 and 2,700 in 2011. For Kamloops, that works out to 2,740 2010 sales and 2,800 2011 sales.

The Okanagan Mainline real estate board, which includes Kelowna and Vernon, is forecast to see 14 per cent growth in sales to 6,450 sales in 2010 followed by six per cent growth to 6,850 units in 2011.

The Okanagan is also expected to see stronger price growth with a five per cent rise to $398,000 in 2010 followed by four per cent growth to $415,000 in 2011.

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What are your thoughts on 270 sq ft places being made available for renters in Vancouver to live in?
Two Vancouver property firms are collaborating on the creation of 30 so-called "micro-lofts" as part of the redevelopment of the historic six-storey Burns Block at 18 West Hastings.  At approximately 270 sq. ft. — about the size of two municipal parking spaces — the market rental units will be the smallest in the city.

Two Vancouver property firms are collaborating on the creation of 30 so-called "micro-lofts" as part of the redevelopment of the historic six-storey Burns Block at 18 West Hastings. At approximately 270 sq. ft. — about the size of two municipal parking spaces — the market rental units will be the smallest in the city.

Photograph by: Handout, Peak Communicators

VANCOUVER -- The city’s smallest rental suites were unveiled Monday at a media event held in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Located in the century-old Burns Block building at 18 West Hastings St., the 270-square-foot so-called “micro-lofts” are expected to fetch an average of $750 a month, and, according to a company press release, attract “students, people in transition and those looking to work and live in the heart of the downtown area.”

The units drew praise from Coun. Raymond Louie, who was among those on hand when artist renderings of the suites were made public for the first time.

Louie called the suites “well-designed,” noting the efficient use of light and space.

“Although they are small, they are quite functional,” he said.

The images released Monday show efficient unit lay-outs, featuring a double-wide pull-down wall bed, integrated folding table, compact appliances, storage, built-in safe and a small “wet” bathroom, similar to what might be found on a boat.

In all, the project -- scheduled to be completed in March 2011 -- will see the construction of 30 units in the five-storey building. Units on one floor will come fully furnished.

The building will also feature a rooftop garden, basement gym and its original facade will be maintained.

Developers Reliance Properties and ITC Construction Group are behind the project, which was approved by city council in 2008.

Louie said the approval required council to relax the minimum suite size from 320 sq.ft. to 270 sq.ft.

He said it’s part of the city’s ongoing efforts to boost the number of affordable rental units available, particularly in the downtown core, where the vacancy rate is less than one per cent.

Louie said the project will also help to revitalize the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

Burns Block “is a closed building as it stands now. So, hopefully, this will add further confidence in the area and we will see a lot more warm bodies using the services available,” he said.

In an interview Friday, Jon Stovell of Reliance Properties said the lofts were created in response to the steady public demand for more affordable loft-style apartments in the city’s downtown core.

Reliance purchased the heritage building in 2007. It had been used as a single-room occupancy hotel until it was shut down over safety concerns by fire officials in 2006.

Louie said occupants evicted following the closure were offered alternative social housing.

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Tiffany Markwart works on 'The World Needs Canada' campaign Sunday at the Chapters bookstore in Vancouver.

Tiffany Markwart works on 'The World Needs Canada' campaign Sunday at the Chapters bookstore in Vancouver.

Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, PNG, The Province

Call it the parallel Olympics, or perhaps the winter gains.

While 2010 Games athletes strive for gold in February, local businesses will be competing every bit as hard in a battle of brands and clash for customers.

Businesses have been planning for years and spending untold millions to position themselves in this high-stakes dash-for-cash.

The Province surveyed the players and interviewed the experts to see who stands to add gold to their coffers, and who could get wiped out.

For real-estate professionals, and anyone interested in buying or selling property in Vancouver, the billion-dollar question is what effect the Games will have on the local market.

Peter Simpson, CEO of Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, hopes the Games will boost fortunes at a crucial time.

The year 2009 would have been the worst for housing starts since 1962, except for a surge in December, Simpson says.

"[The Games] will focus a lot of people's attention on the region," Simpson says. "With three billion eyes on Greater Vancouver, hopefully people will want to come and visit, and then they'll want to move here and buy homes and open businesses."

No one has more on the line than the City of Vancouver and its taxpayers, who could be on the hook for the $1.2-billion athletes village on southeast False Creek.

The city was forced to take over the project when its developer stumbled during the world credit crisis in 2008.

Condo marketing mogul Bob Rennie said there were no buyers for about 700 athletes village market condos as the credit crisis continued in 2009, so he advised bringing the units back to market following the Games.

On May 15, his team will "invite the city and the world," to the relaunch, and he's confident the strategy is golden.

"There are not many world addresses in our city, but the Olympic Village is an address to be reckoned with," Rennie says.

But Tsur Somerville, a University of B.C. economist, doubts real estate will get an Olympic boost.

In fact, he's studied six Olympic markets -- including Salt Lake City, Calgary, Sydney and Vancouver to date -- and has come to a surprising conclusion.

"We are not seeing any evidence whatsoever of any consistent Olympic effect in house prices in the aggregate," he says.

Somerville says only hotels and tourism will rake in huge Olympic dividends.

Industry experts agree the 2010 Olympics buzz saved tourism in B.C. from dropping into a deep slump in 2009.

Since 2004, when Tourism Vancouver began tracking Olympic tourism-related data, more than 2,000 media members have asked the group for help with coverage.

In all, Games organizers have booked about 15,000 rooms in Vancouver and Whistler for Olympic family.

Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association said all hotels "are reporting near total occupancy for the period of [the Games.]"

Likely business winners such as HBC, Chapters/ Indigo, the Pacific Centre and Granville Entertainment have "centre ice" Olympic zone locations and have extended their hours and mounted flexible operational plans, Gauthier said, adding that official Canadian 2010 team sponsor HBC's flagship store has seen store visits quadruple in the run-up to the Games.

Sandi Green, senior marketing director for Cadillac Fairview, operator of the Pacific Centre, said the shopping centre's hours will be extended to 11 p.m., and the centre has ramped up hiring for operations and security, to handle added Games traffic.

Granville Entertainment Group chief financial officer Ron Orr said properties such as Doolin's Irish Pub and The Roxy are expecting to host St. Patrick's Day and New Year's Eve-like crowds for 18 straight days during the Games.

But, as Somerville notes, for retailers outside pedestrian zones and saddled with strict road closures and parking restrictions, the Games could be less fun.

"For local businesses that won't see any tourist foot traffic -- I think there are a lot of potential losers that will get really hurt by the Olympics," he says. "Maybe they should look at taking that early vacation."

South Granville BIA executive director Sharon Townsend said merchants are hoping to entice adventurous Olympic tourists outside downtown pedestrian zones to shop and dine in "the real Vancouver."

To that end, South Granville and Yaletown merchants have combined on a $250,000 investment to lay about 500 decals of 80 flags from participating Olympic countries along the 35-minute walk between the areas, over Granville Bridge.

Townsend said merchants along Broadway can't afford to shut down, even with parking and traffic restrictions.

A few businesses are trying to reap Olympic profits while not contributing to VANOC.

Lululemon Athletica launched its Cheer Gear clothing line with the cheeky branding of a "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition."

VANOC was not amused.

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Despite a challenging 2009, Metro Vancouver office market shows underlying strength

           Avison Young releases its Metro Vancouver Year-End 2009
                            Office Market Report:
             Region's vacancy rate notches up to 7.8% over past
                 half year, but pace of increase is slowing

VANCOUVER, Jan. 26/2010 - Following a steep downturn in the first half of 2009, overall economic conditions started to improve towards the end of 2009. Fewer vacant subleases were delivered to the market, deal velocity picked up considerably in the downtown core, some office projects that had been stalled recommenced, and corporate tenants were again examining properties. Institutional owners, primarily of class AAA and A buildings downtown, continued to be relatively well-positioned with vacancy rates at or below expectations. Suburban office markets, however, still face many challenges.

These are some of the key trends noted in Avison Young's Metro Vancouver Year-End 2009 Office Market Report, released today. The semi-annual survey covers vacancy, absorption and new construction trends in the Downtown, Yaletown, Broadway, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, New Westminster and North Shore submarkets, which total 45.5 million square feet (msf) in office space.

"The wait-and-see approach prevalent throughout 2009 may continue until after the 2010 Olympics when many leases roll over," comments Avison Young Principal Bill Elliott. "But overall, the market continues to rank among the tightest in North America with new speculative construction in check and no major downtown office tower expected to come on stream before 2014. While hesitant decision-making muted overall demand in 2009, Metro Vancouver's fundamentally-strong market continues to display stability, and renewed demand will be a function of core economic recovery and growth."
According to the report, the Metro Vancouver office leasing market witnessed a marked slowdown in leasing activity and a rise in sublease space in 2009 as companies delayed expansion plans and downsized to reduce occupancy costs in light of the global economic downturn. As a result, vacancy rates climbed, rental rates softened, and landlords, particularly in the suburbs, offered larger inducement packages to attract and retain tenants.
However, while vacancy rates continued to creep up in the latter half of 2009, they did so at a slower pace than in the first half. Metro Vancouver's overall vacancy stepped up to 7.8% at year-end 2009 from 7.4% at mid-year 2009 and 5.4% at year-end 2008. Downtown's vacancy rate ticked up to 5.5% from 5.0% at mid-year 2009 and 2.5% at year-end 2008. Suburban vacancy remained relatively unchanged at 9.2% from 9.1% at mid-year 2009, but is up from the 7.7% recorded at year-end 2008. (Note: downtown's "availability" rate is 7.8% if you include space that is being marketed for lease but is not physically vacant.)
"Smaller tenants in the downtown marketplace will continue to have options available to them; however, as we move through 2010, these tenants will begin to see rental rates increase," explains Avison Young broker Glenn Gardner. "Tenants who are able to address their leases today will be able to achieve better business terms than tenants who address them tomorrow. This is because downtown vacancy will start to trend downward, as there will be no significant new inventory coming to market in the foreseeable future, thus forcing rates to rise."
He adds: "Larger downtown tenants, however, will have limited options as the larger sublease pockets that were previously available have now been absorbed. These tenants will have to begin the process of evaluating their alternatives far in advance of their lease expiration dates in order to facilitate any growth they may have. Tenants will either have to stimulate new construction by taking a significant prelease commitment or look to other marketplaces to accommodate their needs, just as HSBC Bank Canada did by preleasing 100% of Broadway Tech Centre 4 (173,000 sf), which will complete construction in 2012 in East Vancouver."
Deal velocity increased significantly in the downtown core in the second half of 2009 over the first half, with approximately 20 lease deals completed involving spaces 10,000 sf or larger. There are few vacant and available large blocks of space greater than 25,000 sf.
Vacant sublease space in Metro Vancouver fell by 25% to 709,870 sf at year-end 2009 from 948,872 sf at mid-year 2009, but is still up 37% from 516,627 sf at year-end 2008. The recent drop is the result of fewer vacant subleases being delivered to the market, absorption of existing sublease opportunities, and termination of sublease listings as tenants take back the excess space.
Suggesting improved business confidence, the current vacant sublease offerings also represent only 20% of Metro Vancouver's total vacancy of 3.5 msf. This compares to 28% at mid-year 2009 (which was at that time the highest percentage of sublease vacancy in more than a decade), 21% at year-end 2008 and 14% at mid-year 2008. Most of the current vacant sublease space exists downtown with 307,718 sf, down one-third from 460,158 sf at mid-year 2009 but still up from 188,472 sf at year-end 2008.
While overall absorption of negative 287,650 sf in the second half of 2009 was an improvement over the first half of 2009, it brought annual absorption in 2009 to negative 1.03 msf - the lowest annual net change in occupied office space since 2001. The downtown core accounted for the brunt of the region's negative annual absorption in 2009, with tenants leaving behind 556,876 sf more space than they took up between January 1 and December 31. Most of the net outflow took place in the first half of 2009. All submarkets posted negative annual absorption with the exception of Broadway.
The Broadway Corridor office market closed 2009 with the lowest year-end vacancy rate in the region at 5.2%. "How restrictive the market is really depends on the square footage a tenant is looking for. There are limited options for tenants looking for more than 5,000 sf, and very few alternatives available in class A buildings," notes Avison Young Principal James Lewis. "Larger tenants looking to renew in 2010-2011 will likely need to look outside the Broadway Corridor for options. If they can be in Burnaby or Richmond, that's where they will find real value."
He adds: "For tenants requiring less than 5,000 sf in the Broadway market, it's still a very competitive market. Landlords who understand this disconnect - and adjust expectations for smaller units accordingly - have fewer vacancies."
On the construction front, while Metro Vancouver developers delivered 600,000 sf of new supply in 2008 (mostly in the suburbs), construction slowed in 2009 with just over 400,000 sf added to the region's inventory. New construction completions are expected to meet 2008's level again in 2010. Burnaby continues to lead the region in sod-turning activity.
GWL Realty Advisors' sale of 900 Howe to a private buyer in December 2009 represented the only sale of a class A building downtown in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Metro Vancouver's overall office vacancy rate is forecast to nudge up in 2010, encroaching 8%. "The downtown market should remain relatively strong while landlords in suburban submarkets, particularly Burnaby and Richmond, will face oversupply challenges and increased competition for tenants," says Elliott. "Accordingly, landlords are expected to face further downward pressure on rents and continuing upward pressure on inducements. There is not a lot of pent-up demand in most suburban office markets right now."
Overall, the Metro Vancouver market is still quite healthy compared to other Canadian and international markets, according to the report. "After a slight fourth-quarter 2009 uptick, the BC economy is expected to lurch at times during 2010 until employment shows consistent month-to-month improvement. The 2010 Olympics should help spur a recovery in the short term that will lead to long-term benefits," says Elliott.

Founded in 1978, Avison Young is Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company and the only national, Canadian-owned, principal-managed real estate brokerage firm in the country. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and ranked among Canada's leading national commercial real estate organizations, Avison Young is a full-service commercial real estate company comprising more than 500 real estate professionals in 16 offices across Canada and in the U.S. The company provides value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management and financial services to owners and users of commercial, industrial and multi-residential real estate properties.

    Editors/Real Estate Reporters:

Click here to view Avison Young's Metro Vancouver Year-End 2009 Office Market Report:

    For further info/comment/photos:
    -   Sherry Quan, National Director of Communications & Media Relations:
        (604) 647-5098; cell: (604) 726-0959

    -   Bill Elliott, Principal, Avison Young: (604) 647-5062

    -   James Lewis, Principal, Avison Young: (604) 647-5072

    -   Glenn Gardner, Broker, Avison Young (604) 647-5092

Editors/Reporters can now follow Avison Young on Twitter:

For further information: Media Relations: Sherry Quan, (604) 647-5098 or (604) 726-0959, email:

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If there is one regret I have looking back at my years in real estate, it would be not documenting the thanks and testimonials that I received early on from clients and other Realtors.  In fact, it wasn't until quite recently that I have started doing so.
I have always had great feedback from those that I assist in buying and selling their real estate, but to tell you the truth I think I took it for granted a little bit.  Not the appreciation of the client, that I will never, I think I failed to realize that not every Realtor has past clients signing their praises and I have now made a conscience effort to document the feedback I get.
With the internet moving from a place for companies and professionals to have online "brochures" to a two way communication and fact exchange source, I think giving everyone their say is more crucial than it has ever been.
So now, if someone is googling "who is the best realtor in vancouver" or "which realtor has the most satisfied clients" or "is Cory Raven held in high regard by his past clients?" who knows, maybe they'll stumble upon my website and give me a chance to introduce myself.
Here are two recent testimonials
"I love my new home. The more I speak to my homeowner friends about their real estate experience, the more I appreciate all that you did, to make this so easy. Being a first time home buyer comes with an overwhelming amount of information, you simplified it for me and had wonderful input and advice. When it comes time to relocate, I cant imagine doing it without you. Thanks Cory"
"this was our first home and we had a lot of questions. Cory Raven continually took all of our worries seriously (even when they came late at night!). he guided us through each step of this complicated process but always ensured we were making our own decisions. he was there with information, advice, calm reassurance and continual validation that buying a home is a roller coaster. ultimately we appreciated all of these things in working with Cory, but we also had fun in all the time we spent with him. if you can have a bit of fun while learning about the legacy of leaky condos, it's a pretty good sign! we'd happily recommend him to our friends and family.

barb & kate
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What will the real estate market do in 2010? Will Vancouver's prices go up in 2010? Are mortgage interest rates expected to rise in 2010?

Metro Vancouver real estate hot, not yet overheating: Conference Board

 By Derrick Penner, Vancouver SunJanuary 22, 2010
Sales of existing homes reached a record high for the month of December, according the Canadian Real Estate Association, with annual sales coming in above 2008 levels.

Sales of existing homes reached a record high for the month of December, according the Canadian Real Estate Association, with annual sales coming in above 2008 levels.

Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER - Metro Vancouver’s real estate market warmed up considerably at the end of 2009, but likely won’t overheat as 2010 progresses, new data released Friday by the Conference Board of Canada suggests.

While Metro Vancouver home sales in December tracked a pace that was nearly three times higher than sales last January, board senior economist Robin Wiebe said new listings also rose keeping the overall market in balance.

“Though [the market] is closing on the top of the balanced range, buyers are provided with a reasonable choice as the go out searching for homes,” Wiebe said in an interview.

However, Wiebe added that “it wouldn’t take much to tip [the market] over into seller’s territory.”

That is one factor that has the Conference Board putting Metro Vancouver on the list of cities it expects will see property prices rise between five and just under seven per cent along with Victoria, the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa and Halifax.

Edmonton, Saskatoon and Montreal are among the cities that the Conference Board expects will see price increases over seven per cent, with Winnipeg Toronto and Hamilton among cities that should see price increases between three and five per cent.

The Conference Board is estimating that no Canadian cities will see price decreases in 2010.

Wiebe said that the estimates are not based on a full economic forecast, but does reflect the recent strength of sales and prices in Metro Vancouver compared with longer-term averages for sales and price performance.

“We’ve seen average prices[in December] up 11.9 per cent from a year ago [to $655,234], [and] the pace of price increases is accelerating a little bit.”

The Conference Board’s examination of sales figures took December’s sales and estimated that if home sales continued at the same pace, Metro Vancouver would see 50,016 homes sold over 12 months compared with a 12-month pace of just 18,138 based on December 2008’s results.

However, calculating the same figure for December’s new listings shows that Metro sellers were on pace to list 73,938 homes for sale over 12 months compared with a pace of 54,306 new listings based on December 2008’s results.

The resulting ratio of sales to new listings of .72, or 72 per cent, Wiebe said, places Metro Vancouver close to the top of the range that the Conference Board considers a market that is balanced between buyers and sellers. That range is between the sales-to-new-listings ratios of 44 per cent and 75 per cent.

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How much money do you really need to buy a house?

Based on the average sale price of $320,333 last year, the federal government says you must come up with about $16,000 before you can consider getting a mortgage to buy the rest of that home.
Current rules require mortgage insurance for anyone borrowing more than 80% of the value of their home from financial institutions covered by the Bank Act. Under the rules, consumers must have at least 5% down and cannot amortize their payments over a period of more than 35 years.
Those stipulations came after Ottawa’s supposed crackdown on the housing sector which had allowed zero down mortgages and 40-year amortizations.
Now, with the housing market red-hot again, there is talk about increasing the down payment requirement and shortening the amortization length back to 25 years. Jim Flaherty, the Finance Minister, has said he is keeping a close eye on the sector, which has been boosted by interest rates that have new mortgages being offered as low as 2.25%.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the real estate community is fighting against changes that would make it harder to buy a home. This month, the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) produced a study it says shows an overwhelming percentage of Canadians are shielded from potential interest rate hikes because they opted for fixed-rate products.
But that study also showed a huge portion of those consumers would be in big trouble if they had to come up with a larger down payment. Will Dunning, chief economist for CAAMP, said 65% had down payments that were worth 10% or less of the value of the home being bought.
“Absolutely,” says Mr. Dunning, about whether a change would take some consumers out of the market. “The change in the 40-year amortization just worsened the downturn in the market. In a fragile housing market you don’t want to impose too many restraints.”

Ben Myers, executive vice-president of Urbanation Inc., which tracks Toronto’s condominium market, has little doubt about what would happen if consumers were forced to come up with more cash up front.

“A large percentage of the market is investors and first-time buyers and they are very sensitive to the down payment they need and the amortization because it affects their monthly payment,” says Mr. Myers.

From an industry standpoint, the status quo is easy to defend. The delinquency rate — defined as loans more than 90 days behind — is only 0.45% of the market. That’s well below the 0.70% high reached in the last recession.
Derek Holt, an economist with Bank of Nova Scotia, wonders whether the industry is borrowing customers from tomorrow to fuel today’s market.
“We are overheating at the expense of bringing forward future buyers. The risk here is you wind up a year or two down the round with a demand vacuum,” says Mr. Holt. “Sure, if you tighten the rules you cool demand, but you distribute demand more evenly.”
Basically, people would save a little longer or perhaps buy a little less house.
Taking a more conservative approach to buying is not the worst thing that can happen, says Julie Jaggernath, director of education at the Vancouver-based Credit Counselling Society. More than one person has walked into her agency with credit problems caused by taking on too much house.

“They might buy a home with a smallish down payment but then they furnish it on their credit card,” said Ms. Jaggernath. “It is not unusual to see people spending 60% of their net income on housing costs.”

She suggests looking at your current housing and then doing the math on what your housing costs would be for what you want to buy. “Set the difference aside for six months and see if you can make that budget,” says Ms. Jaggernath.
Her group is anticipating a larger client base when interest rates rise because many consumers are now biting off more mortgage than they can chew.
“Some people want to travel to Mexico three times a year but they can’t. Some people should never buy a home,” says Ms. Jaggernath.
It’s too bad we can’t go on vacation with 5% down and pay for it over the next 35 years. There would be a lot of Canadians lying on a Mexican beach right now.


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Property Photo: 2245 154A ST in Surrey
I have listed a new property at 2245 154A ST in Surrey.
Centrally located on a quiet street, this home has a lot to offer. Great yard, open plan, and totally renovated. Come see this open Cape Cod floor plan. The home is perfect for a young family or retired couples. Shows like a 10!
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Property Photo: # 526 2008 PINE ST in Vancouver
I have listed a new property at # 526 2008 PINE ST in Vancouver.
MANTRA is centrally located steps from shopping & restaurants on W 4th Ave, South Granville & Granville Island. A GEOTHERMAL, concrete residence BY CRESSEY. This 1 bedroom & 2 bathroom home comes complete w/ KitchenAid Architect II series appliances that include a gas cooktop, built-in wine fridge, built-in oven and dishwasher. It also has a large walk-in closet, hardwood flooring and a built-in entertainment niche. Geothermal heating & cooling for convenience & cost savings and comfort. Large patio, approx 200 sq ft.
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Courtesy of the folks at

2010 Olympic Games Free Attractions

Affordable venues to get the most out of Vancouver's 2010 Games

The largest Canadian flag in the country is proudly positioned in the shadow of the official Omega Olympic countdown clock in downtown Vancouver

Are you excited about the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Vancouver, but worried your budget won't allow you to participate in any events? You're not alone. That's why has developed this one-stop page where you can find out about some of the coolest and most unique events/venues that are being launching starting in January 2010.

The following list provides you with some excellent links and descriptions of some of the top free and low-cost venues in Metro Vancouver. As more events/venues become known, we're adding them to this list - so check back here often. We hope you and your family enjoy everything Metro Vancouver and the Games have to offer. See you there!

UPDATE: Check out the four pavilions we just posted below including Irish House, House of Switzerland, German Saxony House and Canada's Northern House. There are more to come, so check back here often. We have also just added a new comments section and place for you to rate each of the venues over the coming weeks.

Abbotsford Live Site    

rec_centre Abbotsford Recreation Centre will transform into an Olympic Hub February 12-28, 2010. The Live Sites program was created to help residents share in the Spirit of 2010 as well as to help B.C. communities, in all regions of the Province, find a way to develop a lasting legacy from the 2010 Winter Games. Abbotsford residents will have a place to go to share the Olympic spirit. Olympic themed public skates, swims, and programs will welcome Abbotsford residents. There will also be a free night market and inflatable fun zone Thursdays & Fridays 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Saturdays 9:00am – 9:00pm and Sundays 12:00pm – 9:00pm. The Russian figure skaters will be practicing as well. For our out-of-town visitors, Abbotsford is located about an hour or so drive east of Vancouver on the TransCanada Highway. Check here to get the latest information.

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Alberta House    

Photo-Asset-Plaza.jpgLocated on the corner of world famous Robson and Beatty Streets immediately west of BC Place, Alberta House and Alberta Plaza are a central location for Canadian and international guests to meet, gather, and learn about Alberta as a place to invest, work, live and visit. An architectural expression of Alberta’s identity, they combine function, sustainability and innovative design - offering a genuine Albertan experience in the heart of Vancouver with street level programming and multi-function space.

Alberta Plaza – open to the public, the plaza will highlight Alberta tourism and industry sectors during the day and showcase Alberta artists for national and international visitors in the evening. 60,000 Olympic guests, Vancouver locals and visiting Albertans will be enticed to stop and experience dynamic presentations, and Alberta’s new brand message: Freedom to Create, Spirit to Achieve. See more info here.

Rate or leave comment on Alberta House >>

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Atlantic Canada House    

AtlanticCanadaHouse Atlantic Canada's best will hit the world stage during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador along with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency present Atlantic Canada House in Vancouver from February 13 to 28, 2010.

For two weeks, Canada's east coast will come alive on one of Vancouver's most historic sites, Granville Island. A popular local venue, Granville Island is expecting over 35,000 visitors daily. It is easily accessible by water taxis, bus, bicycle, street tram and foot. It is highly recommended you leave your car at home as there will be limited parking available.

Once at Atlantic Canada House, guests will find an authentic and inspiring setting. It's here you'll be treated to East Coast culinary delights, discover the region's culture and spirit, and share in Atlantic Canadian hospitality.Within the pavilion space, you'll find the Granville Island Stage, the Revue Stage and the Backstage Lounge. Atlantic Canadian artists will be featured nightly, and daily performances on the Revue Stage will celebrate the region and welcome guests to the Atlantic Canadian way of life. The pavilion is located at the Arts Club Theatre.

Rate or leave comment on Atlantic Canada House >>

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BC Hydro PowerSmart Village    

bc-hydro-powersmart This winter during the 2010 Games, BC Hydro will be opening the doors to the BC Hydro Power Smart Village, another free attraction. Visitors are welcomed to celebrate the spirit of the Games in a theme of conservation and sustainability. Members of your entire family will enjoy a wide range of activities like dancing on a sustainable dance floor, creating an inspirational message on the digital expression wall or even taking a break from cheering on athletes to check out First Nation carvings or our "the future is now" home exhibit. You'll even have a chance to win Olympic tickets by taking part in one of their many events. The venue is about one-block from the LiveCity Downtown site and the Canada Pavilion in Vancouver. Don't miss it!

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Bell Ice Cube    

bell-ice-cube The Bell Ice Cube will be a 3,000 square-foot temporary building located at Robson & Beatty street in downtown Vancouver and will open to the public on February 11th.  It will be open February 11th to 28th from 11am to 11pm and will feature entertainment, Olympic ticket giveaways and interactive product demonstrations. The unique high-tech design of Bell Ice Cube will provide visitors an opportunity to view ceremonies and competitions on multiple plasma screens in high definition Bell TV. During the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and during major sporting events, visitors will be able to watch the magic on a large projection screen.

Every day at 3 pm, there will be a live show called Ice Talk, where Olympians will be interviewed by five-time Olympian and Bell Champion Charmaine Crooks. Athletes will share their own Olympic stories and sign autographs for Games fans. Bell Ice Cube will also feature guest performances by internationally acclaimed vocal play group, Naturally 7. In addition to brilliant harmonies, every instrument sound is created by the human voice. From musical styles that range from pop to R&B, Naturally 7 has charmed fans around the world.

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Bombardier Streetcar   1 comment


This is a demonstration project between Granville Island "French Quarter" and the Olympic Village Canada Line station. A modern and "high-end" European streetcar will shuttle passengers by rail between the Canada Line and the “French Quarter” at Granville Island. It is free to ride, but they are expecting over 500,000 people will take the trip over the two month period when it will be in operation. The train is scheduled to start running in mid-January through the Olympics and Paralympics.

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Canada Line    

canada lineFor about the price of a cappuccino coffee, you can jump aboard the new Canada Line Skytrain and head from the downtown waterfront location to the Vancouver International Airport. Along the way, you will cross the mighty Fraser River and have the opportunity to stop at trendy Oakridge Mall and Cambie Village. When you arrive at the airport, take the kids to one of the most beautiful airport observatories found anywhere on the planet. A number of interactive displays are available for the kids, not to mention all the jumbo 747s that provide "live" entertainment.

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Canada Northern House    

husky-eyes**NEW**Located at 602 W. Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver, Canada’s Northern House is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. You can expect to be captivated with the simulated northern lights shining from the windows. The lights will draw them in to view and get information on Nunavut art, business, athletes, cultural performers and artists.Visitors to Northern House will be greeted at the entrance by an inuksuk built earlier this month by former Nunavut Commissioner Peter Irniq, using stone from Nunavut, Northwest Territories and British Columbia. Canada’s Northern House will showcase talented performers such as Artcirq and throat singers, drum dancers, and traditional games athletes during the Olympic Games. Television, radio and online journalists will cover events and broadcast live from the media room. Canada’s Northern House will have an art lounge, story telling area and an exhibit called “The North Today” featuring interactive displays on living, visiting and investing in Nunavut. There will also be business information about the three territories. The House is open to the public between January 15th through March 31, 2010.

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Canada Pavilion    

canada-flag Centrally located at Vancouver's LiveCity Downtown Celebration Site, the Canada Pavilion will demonstrate Canada's commitment to creative excellence, sustainable development and fostering diversity with informative and innovative content that is sure to make Canadian's proud. The 2010 Games will inspire Canada's young people to get active in sports and live a healthy lifestyle. The Pavilion will provide an opportunity to learn more about Olympic and Paralympic sports and help them to choose the activity that's right for them.

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CentrePlace Manitoba    

centreplace manitobaCentrePlace Manitoba is a 2,560 sq ft, pre-fabricated, sustainable building featuring Manitoba products and technology. Multi-media exhibits, developed in Manitoba, will showcase tourism, business, immigration and sport and highlight our province’s prosperity, opportunity and potential. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be a partner and have a feature exhibit in the pavilion.

CentrePlace Manitoba will be located at the LiveCity Vancouver – Downtown site (on Georgia Street at Cambie)

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Four Host Nations Pavilion    

fourhostnationsLocated on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Georgia and Hamilton in downtown Vancouver, within easy walking distance of BC Place (venue for opening ceremonies) and GM Place (venue for men's ice hockey), the 8,000 square-foot 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion will be right in the heart of Olympic activity, with Vancouver’s Celebration Site located immediately across Cambie Street. The pavilion features a high-tech 3,000 square-foot sphere, surrounded by a Coast Salish Longhouse. The Longhouse, which features a 1,500 square-foot Trading Post, will be relocated after the Games as a permanent legacy. As well, the adjacent 2,000 square-foot QE restaurant will be converted into a reception hall, featuring an Aboriginal showcase and cuisine. Special “theme” days will showcase Aboriginal groups from all regions of Canada. Live events will include Inuit throat singing, Métis jigging, hoop dancing, as well as spotlighting contemporary Aboriginal performances and other fields of achievement. Check out this photo of the building under construction.

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French Quarter (Granville Island)    

Located just south of the downtown, this popular tourist attraction will become the place to celebrate Canada’s French heritage. There will be two pavilions, a French bistro and pub, as well as a stage for concerts. They also intend on creating an "artists' alley" like Rue Sainte-Anne in Quebec City. You can get there by taking the free streetcar from the Olympic Canada Line Station to Granville Island. Vancouver's famous False Creek water taxis will also provide transportation across the water during the Games. Expect this site to be extremely popular so get there early and take transit if you can.

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GE Plaza (Robson Square)    

GE Plaza photo 2.jpg

This is the official site for the International Media Centre during the Games and centrally located at Robson & Hornby Streets. It is also home to the new GE outdoor skating rink. Thanks to the generous contribution of the Province of BC and General Electric, the skating is free, but skate rentals are $3 a pair. The rink is open daily from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This will be an extremely popular attraction. If you'd like to see a few photos and video of GE Plaza and Robson Square, please click here.

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German Saxony House    

germany-skating **NEW** During the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park will be transforming into the Saxony House. Be sure to drop by this free pavilion to experience the Olympics in true Saxon style! You’ll have the opportunity to watch the games, meet medal winners, listen to live music and enjoy traditional German food and drinks. The Vancouver Rowing Club will transform its 19th century aura into a glittering Saxony House, offering magnificent views of Burrard Inlet and Downtown Vancouver. What better place to exhibit the prowess of Saxony's art, culture and booming economy, its sports and the innovative drive of Saxon inventors! The Saxony House is open free to the public, February 12th - 28th, from 12:00pm- 2:00am. There is plenty of low-cost metered parking during the day. Parking is free after 6 pm. Click here for more information.

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Heineken House (Holland)    

heineken-houseLocated near the O-Zone in Richmond, the highlight of the Holland Heineken House experience is the main hall, which can host thousands of people every night, and features celebratory medal ceremonies for successful Dutch athletes as well as nightly performances by renowned Dutch artists and DJ’s. The uniquely close relationship that Dutch sport fans have with their heroes - coupled with their penchant for the national colour of orange - makes for a vibrant and unforgettable atmosphere during celebrations and performances. More than 100,000 people visited the Holland Heineken House during Winter Games in Turin and 95,000 at the Beijing Olympics. At the last Summer Games, supporters were able to celebrate a total of 16 medals for the Dutch Olympic Team. There are plans for HH to serve beer to 4,000 people nightly at its Medal Ceremony Hall and stay open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. The Heineken House will be located at Minoru Arenas (MA) 7551 Minoru Gate in Richmond.

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House of Switzerland    

Bridges **NEW** Located on picturesque Granville Island in Vancouver, Bridges restaurant will play home to the House of Switzerland during the Games. They are planning on dressing up the restaurant and their menu in a Swiss theme. We’re told to expect a lot of Swiss athletes there on a nightly basis. If a Swiss athlete wins a medal, they will be taken from BC Place and brought to the pavilion by water taxi that evening. The athletes then plan to hold a media event outside the House of Switzerland as well meet with all the patrons inside. Pavilion organizers tell us they will have on-hand some of the best Swiss chocolates, wine, cheese for the public to sample. The venue is free to the public and will be officially open from Feb 5th - Feb 28th. The hours of operation starting on Feb 12th will be 8 am to 2 am each day. Note that public parking will be at a premium and is limited to the west side of the Island only. Metered parking is in effect and will cost around $6 for 2 hours. Consider taking transit there if you can. Expect this to be one of the top hot spots in town!

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Irish House    

doolins **NEW** The 9,000 square-foot Irish House will house 750 visitors at a time at the temporary site, conveniently located adjacent to Doolin's Irish Pub, located in downtown Vancouver. The Irish House site will facilitate Doolin's trademark ‘Irish family feel’ in ambiance, culture, and music. The Irish House will be a welcoming gathering place with a boisterous traditional Celtic atmosphere. During the day, the pavilion will feature family-friendly entertainment with music and cultural exhibits. Multiple televisions and projection screens will run highlights of the Games. In the evenings, the true Irish pub culture will come to life, and visitors will experience a party where it will feel like every day is a St. Patrick’s Day party.

Local and international media personalities will be in attendance throughout the two weeks, with familiar names such as Red Robinson, Dave Abbott, Ron Coleman, and Jim Byrnes invited as guest MCs. The official opening on February 11 will kick off with The Most Reverend J. Michael Miller - the Arch-Bishop of Vancouver performing a blessing on the pavilion. A traditional Celtic Standing Stone monument, custom designed and created for the Irish House 2010, will be a featured display piece in pavilion and auctioned off on Saturday February 20. Irish House 2010 will be located at 620 Nelson Street in Vancouver, BC. The hours of operation will be 7 pm-3 am February 8, and noon to 3 am February 9 – 28. The venue is family friendly from noon – 7 pm, then only 19+ permitted 7 pm onwards. has confirmed there will be a $5-20 entrance fee for adults (depending what time of day you arrive) and kids are always free. As with any Irish Pavilion, get ready for a load of fun and entertainment. For more information, call (604) 331-7854 or click here.

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Laser Waterworks Show    

lasershowBring the family along to see the nightly laser light shows which will take place at the LiveCity Yaletown location. A large pipe in False Creek will stream water high into the air providing the backdrop for what will become a must see event. Across False Creek you will be able to see the Olympic Athlete’s Village. Details of the laser light show are still unknown, so tune back here to get more details once they become available.

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LiveCity Downtown    

skyline2This site located at Georgia and Beatty will open during both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and will be Vancouver’s version of a downtown “piazza” with a large outdoor screen, daytime interactive school programming, engaging street entertainment, and late-night entertainment. Additional partners and governmental agencies will bring programs and pavilions to complement the site. The site will be open and programmed throughout the Olympic period commencing the day after the Opening Ceremony and concluding right before the Closing Ceremony (February 13-February 28). During that period it is anticipated that LiveCity Downtown will be open daily from 11am through to midnight. The site will reopen during the Paralympic period (March 12 through March 21) with a mix of on-screen programming, demonstration sport events and entertainment. Both the Canada and Manitoba pavilions will be on-site.

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LiveCity Yaletown    

Thumbnail image for LiveCity_Yaletown_230.jpg This site at David Lam Park in trendy Yaletown will offer Vancouver residents and visitors the complete Olympic Winter Games experience: the best in Vancouver and Canadian live arts and entertainment as well as Olympic sponsor pavilions, Vancouver House, refreshments and sport highlights on giant screens. LiveCity Yaletown is the place to be for free, fun, family Games-time memories. The site will be open and programmed throughout the Olympic period commencing the day after the Opening Ceremony and concluding right before the Closing Ceremony (February 13-February 28). It is anticipated that the Site will be open daily from 11am through to 11pm. Several well-known corporate sponsors will have their public pavilions onsite including Coca Cola, Samsung, Acer and Panasonic.

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New Westminster (Keep the Dream Alive)    

newwestHistoric New Westminster (Western Canada's oldest incorporated city) is hosting something they are calling Keep the Dream Alive. Join the excitement of the Olympics! Watch Canada bring home the gold at the Queensborough Community Centre. Learn about local Olympic athletes that will be competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Catch the Olympic spirit in New Westminster. For more information on hours of operation, call 604-525-7388.

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Nightly Medal Award Ceremony   1 comment

new stadium.jpgThis is the most inexpensive way to participate in an official Olympic event. Tickets costs as little as $22 dollars per person and this provides you access to some of North America’s best entertainers as well as the medal winning athletes. Some of the confirmed bands include Barenaked Ladies, INXS, Nelly Furtado, Headley, Theory of a Dead Man and many more. The warm confines of the newly renovated BC Place Stadium will play home to this nightly event which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. If you are taking the Expo Line SkyTrain, get off at the "Stadium" station. You will have to walk about 5 minutes to get there. A note for out-of-town visitors, BC Place will undergo a massive renovation after the Games and will have a brand new retractable roof installed (see illustration).

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O-Zone Richmond    

ozone.jpg17 days and nights. Exhilarating. Amazing. Once in a lifetime. The O Zone is where you can be part of a real Olympic Games experience, with thousands of your closest friends, cheering on Canada’s athletes, exploring cool stuff, and rocking to some of the hottest young bands in Canada. The O Zone is also the biggest celebration of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, amassed over 60 acres in the heart of Richmond City Centre, just minutes from the new Canada Line Brighouse Station near Richmond City Hall and Minoru Park.

You’ve never seen Richmond like this: mammoth ice art, massive high-definition screen, outdoor skating on real ice, entertainment from around the region and around the world, art, athletes, exhibits, virtual reality (bobsleigh ride anyone?), food and fireworks. Bands like Our lady Peace, Hawksley Workman, Bedouin Soundclash, Toyko Police Club and Wintersleep headline. Theme nights saluting Canada’s diverse cultures and regions from World Beat rhythms and South Asian dance and music to Pan Northern sounds from above the Arctic Circle. There’s something for everyone, and for all ages. Did we mention it’s free?

The site is located just a few kilometres south of downtown Vancouver and a short hop on the Canada Line, starting Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 28, 2010. Every day. Every night. Check back closer to the dates for a complete line-up of what’s happening and who’s on stage.

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Ontario Pavilion    

muskokaLocated in between BC Place Stadium and Sochi House (Science World), the Ontario Pavilion plans to set a new standard in creativity and innovation. It will be striking in its design; feature exciting and original exhibits, events and performances; showcase made-in-Ontario products and services; and be technologically state-of-the-art while being supported using environmentally sustainable systems and technologies. The Ontario Pavilion will offer visitors a unique, one-of-a-kind, inspirational experience that will live on in their memories for years to come and reinforce Ontario’s Olympic brand message — “There’s No Place Like This…”

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Quebec House (Maison Quebec)    

quebec pavilionLocated at the Concord Pacific site between Sochi House (Science World) and BC Place in Vancouver, this is anticipated to be one ultra cool venue. Check out this site to see what it will look like. Expect it to become a centre piece of Quebec culture and food over the course of the Games. The fact it is situated next to Hockey House and the Ontario Pavilion will also help to make it a premiere destination. What follows is a blurb (en Francais) for our French readers:

Ce lieu démontrera aux milliers de visiteurs étrangers sur place le caractère distinctif du Québec soit par notre culture, notre savoir-faire et nos attraits touristiques. La Maison permettra également d'accueillir les athlètes, avec leurs familles, et leur apporter notre soutien. Plusieurs artistes s'y produiront et auront ainsi l'occasion de rayonner sur le plan international. Un bistrot offrira des produits agroalimentaires du Québec.

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Saskatchewan Pavilion    

Saskatchewan Pavilion Located in between BC Place Stadium and Sochi House (Science World) in Vancouver, this free pavilion will consist of two structures. One will house a business centre, the other an entertainment venue featuring Saskatchewan entertainment and food. There will also be a pavilion at Whistler during the Paralympics. Through these venues, people from Canada, and around the world, will be able to learn about Saskatchewan business opportunities, vacation destinations, immigration and quality of life.

See this promotional video for more information.

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Sochi House (Russia)    

scienceworldThe Russians are known for putting on a real show when it comes to their pavilions. They did so in Torino, and you can expect their pavilion at Science World in Vancouver will knock everyone’s socks off. There are no details yet regarding either their official plans or how much public access there will be, but you can expect the pavilion will be spectacular.

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Surrey 2010 Celebration Zone    

rcmprideThis celebration zone at Holland Park is promising two fun filled weeks of excitement and activity for the whole family! The Sliding Zone, Skating Rink and Curling Zone will be a great way to take in some classic Olympic sports and winter activities. Step into the future with Simon Fraser University’s cutting edge Interactive Digital Media display, explore your creativity in their Kids World craft tent or cozy up in the Storytelling tent brought to you by Surrey Libraries. The RCMP Musical Ride will be performing shows daily, as well as other classic Canadian entertainment. The activities are abundant so bring your energy and enthusiasm to the Festival Activity Zone and prepare for an experience of Olympic proportions!

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Vancouver "Streets to Watch"    

robsonThere will basically be four main thoroughfares in the downtown core which will have festive programming on a daily basis. These include Robson Street, Hamilton, Street, Mainland Street and Granville Street. With the exception of Robson Street (which will be closed east of Jarvis street only) all the streets will be closed to vehicular traffic. Expect tens of thousands of people to be walking up and down here every night enjoying the atmosphere.

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Vancouver Art Gallery    

art galleryThe Vancouver Art Gallery located at Georgia & Howe Streets is a historic site was once home to the British Columbia courthouse. During the Games it will transform into the British Columbia, Canada Pavilion (located on the 4th floor). You can expect to see a number of interactive displays that will highlight the rich cultural fabric of both British Columbia and Canada.

A series of displays highlighting BC industry will also be onsite. Visitors will get complete access to the Art Gallery for free during the Games and the venue is anticipated to be open between 9:00 am – 9:00 pm daily. There will also be a special Leonardo DiVinci exhibit available for public viewing. Located in the heart of downtown across from the largest Canadian flag in the world and right beside the GE outdoor skating rink, this will become a popular gathering place. The north lawn is also home to the official Omega Olympic and Paralympic Countdown Clock.

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Vancouver City Hall    

vancouverhallYou can expect that Vancouver City Hall at 12th Avenue & Cambie Street will become a hub of activity during the 2010 Games. A parade of dignitaries will be making their way in and out of the Mayor’s office. This is also the site of the 1952 Oslo Flag which is encased in glass on the main floor of the building just as you enter. Once the Games are over, the flag will be placed back in its special case and delivered to the Mayor of Sochi, Russia, host of the 2014 Winter Games. There will also be nightly light shows on the outside of City Hall which should prove to be quite interesting.

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Vectorial Elevation (English Bay)    

laserlightshowMore than two million people are expected to view the Vectorial Elevation Light Display installation in person in Metro Vancouver, as well as internationally. The at English Bay event runs regardless of the weather until February 28, 2010. Visitors to this website can design how the lights will move, their angles and how they are clustered in timed sequences to create their own patterns for the world to see. A personalized webpage will be automatically created for each participant to document their design. Organizers estimate 130,000 different patterns will be created in the 24 days the project operates from dusk to dawn. Why not design your own light show in the sky today!

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West Vancouver Spirit Square    

Over the course of the 17 days of the Olympics West Vancouver, a venue city, will activate their Spirit Square. Discover your inner explorer and soar into the cosmos with the Canadian Space Agency. This rare experience provides a fun and interactive learning experience for everyone. Enjoy your self–guided tour of a scale model of the International Space Station and gain a sense of what it’s like to live, work and play sports in space. Models of Canadarm2 and Dextre will be there for all ages to enjoy. Evenings will come alive with an array of national and local talent, from rock to pop to classical performances in the Atrium. Celebrations at West Vancouver’s Spirit Square will showcase the unique character of the West Vancouver community featuring live performances, visual artistry, traditional and contemporary music. There will be a lot to see so check here for more programming details.

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This is just a start in terms of all the community activities and venues that will be active prior to and during the Games. We're also aware that CTV News (official Olympic broadcast network) will be broadcasting their newscasts every day from Robson Street (beside their HQ). Hosts Bill Good and Pamela Martin will be on-hand nightly. In addition, Global TV will be broadcasting their newscasts from the rooftop of the Concord Pacific presentation centre.

For information about free events happening in Whistler during the Games, click here. To access our pre-Olympic downtown Vancouver photo gallery, click here.

If you are aware of a free or low-cost Olympic community related event happening somewhere in Metro Vancouver, please drop us a line at and we'll consider adding it to our growing list. Please include as much information about the event as possible in order that we can streamline the process. We hope you enjoy everything the Games has to offer Metro Vancouver and please consider sending a send a link of this page to your friends, family and colleagues. Help us to spread the word!!

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Note, the article calls Bob Rennie a local developer... he is actual a real estate marketer, director of Rennie Marketing Systems
Woodward's 'W' is back!

Amanda Wawryk Jan 09, 2010 16:30:42 PM
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - It was a symbolic part of Vancouver for years and today the Woodward's red 'W' returned.

Construction crews put it back up this morning and the 'W' will be fully active next Friday during an unveiling ceremony.

Local developer Bob Rennie says he's happy to see it go back up and says it's a heritage memory for a lot of people.

"To me it has also been that walk from Army and Navy to Woodward's to Eaton's to the Bay and then as Eaton's moved and Woodward's closed it completely changed the fabric of the city."

Rennie says working on the Woodward's development stood out for him. "For me, out of every development I have done in the last 35 years, nothing stands out like doing Woodward's because it really brought balance to a neighbourhood."
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Are you planning a visit to our beautiful city during the Olympics?  Be aware that due to the high demand for short term rentals, there are a large number of scammers out there on various websites.

See article below

Olympics schemers already at start line

Appeared in print: Sunday, Jan 10, 2010

The 2010 Olympics are approaching, but the scams already have arrived, according to the Oregon Better Business Bureau.
These include phony ads for British Columbia rental properties that are popping up on craigslist and other online classifieds, the BBB says.
Victims of these type of rental scams typically say they were told by the supposed landlord that they needed to wire a large deposit in order to receive the keys to the rental home.
When the victims ask if they can check out the property first, the landlords claim that they are out of the country. Often, the scammer lifts photos of actual houses that are for sale that have been posted online — a scam that also showed up in Eugene last year, real estate agents reported.

The BBB advises people who are looking for rentals for the Olympics to watch out for these red flags:

The landlord claims to be located outside the area where the rental is and will only communicate via e-mail. Scammers frequently say they’re out of the country for a job or on missionary work.
The landlord asks the potential renter to wire money through wire transfer services, such as Western Union or MoneyGram. “Money sent via wire transfer service is extremely difficult to retrieve,” the BBB says, “and once the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse — if any — for getting your money back.”
The landlord requires a big deposit before giving you the keys — or even showing the home. “Don’t pay any money before inspecting inside the property,” the BBB says. If you absolutely can’t inspect the property in advance, the BBB says, get a contract with all the terms, details and conditions spelled out. Make sure the rental is furnished, ask for proof that the person actually owns it, and ask if you can pay when you arrive, after signing a contract, instead of in advance.
Homeowners who are renting out their home, condominium or apartment for the games are required to have a business license through the city of Vancouver — ask for a copy. A license is not, however, required to rent a single room.
Finally, the Olympics has an official Web site, , with a list of hotels, bed and breakfasts, private home rentals and rooms on cruise ships.
Cory Raven
Managing Broker
TAC Real Estate Corp.
604.220.9399 (direct)
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The Capitol Residences are coming along nicely, as seen in this photo found on
Capitol Residences at 833 Seymour as of January 2010
Capitol Residences, built by Wall Financial (Run by Peter Wall and Bruno Wall) was sold a few years back by Bob Rennie and Rennie Marketing Systems.
What is the address of Capitol Residences?
The address is currently slated to be 833 Seymour Street,Vancouver.  This may change at completion.
Who is the builder of Capitol Residences?
Capitol Residences is being developed by Wall Financial Corp.
What is my condo at Capitol Residences worth?
For a free evaluation of your condo, conact Cory Raven of TAC Real Estate Corp at 604-220-9399
When will Capitol Residences be completed / finished?
Capitol residences is slated to be finished in late 2010.
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Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website.  In the meantime, you may access all my blog posts by clicking here.
Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website to provide you with even more timely and topical information on our market and the process of buying and selling.  In the meantime, you can access my blog by clicking here
Cory Raven
Cory Raven - Managing Broker
RE/MAX Select Realty
4806 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3R8