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 CityCaucus.com 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 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.
Located 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
For 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.
**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.
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.
CentrePlace 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)
Located 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.
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.
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.
**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.
Located 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.
**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!
**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. CityCaucus.com 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.
Bring 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.
This 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.
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.
Historic 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.
Nightly Medal Award Ceremony 1 comment
This 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).
17 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.
Located 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…”
Located 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.
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.
The 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.
This 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!
There 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.
The 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.
You 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.
More 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!
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.
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.
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 CityCaucus@gmail.com 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!!