Yesterday, I spent the day volunteering for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the morning felt more like June than February. Everyone on the ferry heading from Victoria to Vancouver was pumped. We’d been watching the sea of red on Vancouver streets and at the events, and wanted to see what it was all about. A couple in their 70’s were holding hands as the ferry docked, and said they just wanted to walk around the city and take in the cultural events, hoping to get into the Vancouver Art Gallery’s free exhibit of DaVinci sketches.
While the Canada Line was crowed, there was no wait, and everyone on board was chatty and made room for people getting on at the next stop. I once lived in Vancouver, and go there often, so I was able to give directions to a mom and her son who needed to get to GM Place to their hockey game. They had won VIP passes and hoped to get her son’s jersey signed by some hockey players. He was about nine years old, and still at the age when mom and son can be best buddies. They had both dyed a red streak into their hair.
I made my way from the Canada Line to the Expo Line and then to Concord Place. At 10:15 there was already a line up at the Russian pavilion. Looking over False Creek, I could see the Quebec and Saskatchewan pavilions. Tourists, maybe athletes, were laughing and taking pictures. The mountains in the background were showing Vancouver in a great photo-op light.
I was a volunteer at the Saskatchewan pavilion, and as a traffic director, among the many visitors that I spoke to, I met two couples from Hong Kong who had many questions to ask at the map of Saskatchewan. They wanted to know what they would find if they visited the Athabaskan Sand Dunes. Would they see the Northern Lights? What kind of fish could they catch?
When people left the food and entertainment tent licking their lips, I asked if they had enjoyed the buffalo burgers. They said the burgers were the best, lean, and full of flavour. Likewise for the sausage in a bun. Several people were disappointed that the Saskatoon berry tarts were still baking.
After seven hours on my feet, I walked back downtown to check out Granville and Robson Streets. Along False Creek a man had built nearly 1,000 Inukshuks.
At Granville, lanterns built by school children lit the street. At Robson, I watched a daring duo ride the zip line, and a group of girls take turns having their picture taken in a bobsled.
The streets were filled with people enjoying the skating at Robson Square, the food kiosks, and buskers. Folks, young and old, rich and poor, from many different countries and walks of life just enjoying the setting within the spirit of competitive celebration, hope, and determination.
It was a busy and very full day; I got the chance to welcome over 2,000 people and tell them a bit about another province within Canada while they visited BC. No controversies, no ideologies, just one person talking to another.