Reliving the Party of the Century

Urban Compass by Paul Sullivan, published in Metro Vancouver

I’m having flashbacks.

No, I’m not ready for the Charlie Sheen Memorial Rehab Ward just yet. It’s this magnificent burst of Wet Coast sunshine that’s taking me back to the same time last year when the sun came out and turned the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics into the Party Of The Century.

And now we get to remember them every year, right around Groundhog Day. If the sun comes out every year at exactly the same time — bonus.

As these anniversary stories go, there will be a lot of talk about the legacy of the Winter Olympics, and that legacy will be compared to Expo 86 and so on.

Expo 86 was the Miracle Of Yaletown, multicultural diversity, tourism and convention business, not to mention that Vancouver was thrust onto the world stage, liked it and has stayed there ever since.

It’s still a bit early to figure out the 2010 legacy since it’s still a work-in-progress. But the trend is good: My contacts at Tourism Vancouver tell me 2011 will be our biggest year ever in terms of convention business, likely a combination of the convention centre getting built in time for the Olympic media and all those beauty shots of Vancouver on NBC.

(For those of you who are lucky enough to hold your convention in sunshine enjoy the seawall. For everyone else, welcome to the Wet Coast.)

By the time we’re done analyzing, we’ll probably conclude the legacy of 2010 is like 1986, just more: More condos, more cultural diversity, and even higher prices for teardowns.

But there is one vital difference: 2010 showed the world that Canadians, and especially Vancouverites, really know how to have a good time. All the problems and anxieties of the first couple of days were overwhelmed by a tsunami of celebration.

I’m still blown away by that YouTube video of 10,000 people flash-dancing in the street.

The other thing that’s clear: Robson Square is the heart of this city. If we really want to wave our red mittens high, we’ll do everything we can to build on that legacy. If that means preserving the square for sidewalk cafés, street vendors, pedestrians and zip rides, let’s do it. If that means keeping at least part of the Vancouver Art Gallery in the square, let’s do it. If that means reliving the Party Of The Century same time every year in the square, let’s do it.

In a world where taking to the streets usually means something different, what greater Olympic legacy could we hope to have?

About Breakthrough Admin

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.