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Relive Vancouver’s Gold-Medal Glory

The 2010 Winter Games may have been eight years ago, but when it comes to Olympic activities, the city is ready for its victory lap

By JILL VON SPRECKEN
Feb. 2018

The Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza was lit by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. (Photo by KK Law)

In 2010, Vancouver had a gold-medal year. World-class athletes and their spirited fans crowded the streets to gasp and cheer over every triumph and defeat—from the mechanical malfunctions at the opening ceremonies to Sidney Crosby’s gold medal–clinching overtime goal.

From Feb. 9 to 25, the world is turning its attention to PyeongChang, South Korea, the official venue of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. But in Vancouver, the legacy still lives on. Here’s where to recapture that Olympic spirit.

Inukshuk

The official logo of the 2010 Olympic Games was inspired by an inukshuk, the traditional Inuit stone marker. In English Bay, a towering inukshuk marks the spot—of a quintessential Vancouver photo op.

Red Mittens

In 2010, red mittens were on everyone’s hands—even Oprah’s. Eight years later, it’s still possible to snag a pair of red mittens from the Canadian Olympic Team Collection at Hudson’s Bay. And now, just like then, proceeds from each sale support athletes through the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Warm hands, warm heart.

Skate for free at the Robson Square Ice Rink until the end of February. (Photo by KK Law)

Robson Square

During the 2010 Winter Games, Robson Square was the place to be. Tucked in behind the Vancouver Art Gallery, the square was where crowds congregated, and the adventurous flew overhead on a zipline. The dome-covered skating rink was resurrected just in time for the games, and now future Tessa Virtues and Scott Moirs can practise their triple lutzes for free until the end of February.

ROX

At the ROX, or Richmond Olympic Experience, you can slalom down the slopes or satisfy your need for speed in a bobsleigh—all from the safety of a sports simulator. This attraction is North America’s most interactive, with virtual reality exhibits, games and challenges galore. Plus, 570 unique artifacts are on display, ranging from uniforms to Olympic medals.

Channel your inner Olympic athlete with sports simulators at the ROX.

Olympic Cauldron

For those who tuned in to the 2010 Winter Games, the Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza may be the most recognizable landmark. The steel-and-glass structure reflected the theme of fire on ice, and Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky helped light the flame. Now, set against a backdrop of ocean and mountains, it makes the perfect photo op.

Olympic Displays

For podium-worthy displays of Olympic memorabilia, visit the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Olympic Legacy Display in the concourse connecting the Convention Centre’s (Map 1: B6) east and west buildings. Marvel over Olympic torches, full sets of Olympic and Paralympic medals, podiums and much more.

“The Birds” by Myfanwy MacLeod. (Photo by KK Law)

Public Art

The city got all spiffed up for the Olympic Games, leaving an eye-catching legacy of public art behind. A few of our favourites include “The Birds” by Myfanwy MacLeod (Map 1: E7), “The Words Don’t Fit the Picture” by Ron Terada (Map 1: C6), “Monument for East Vancouver” by Ken Lum (Map 4: D4) and “Aerodynamic Forms in Space” by Rodney Graham (Map 1: A3). “Nike” by Pavlos Angelos Kougioumtzis (Map 1: B5), a gift to Vancouver from the ancient city of Olympia, commemorates the Games.

Whistler

The neighbouring ski resort’s foundations are built on Olympic dreams. In the 1960s, the area was developed with the intent of bidding on the 1968 Winter Olympics. Three more bids and decades later, the town finally succeeded with the 2010 Winter Games. As the official mountain resort of the Games, Whistler has plenty of Olympic-related sights to explore. Start at Whistler Olympic Park, the home of 2010’s Nordic events, for cross-country skiing or biathlon lessons. At Whistler Sliding Centre, whoosh down the Olympian-tested track in a bobsleigh or skeleton sled. In Whistler Olympic Plaza, snap a photo of the Olympic rings, glide around the outdoor skating rink or take part in family-friendly activities at Family Après.

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