Sunday, March 21, 2010

2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games

Thank you world, for coming to Vancouver and Whistler to share the fabulous Games with us. It all began with a 107 day Cross Canada relay that began before Halloween 2009, a relay that was designed to and successful in embracing all Canadians. From dogsled to canoe, floatplane to foot, the methods of transport covered everything we could imagine, and a little bit more. Whether it was plus 10 or minus 20, Canadians came out and celebrated. When I have asked friends and colleagues, many from countries around the world, who were part of the team that traversed the country what their highlights were, it always came back to the people. From our First Nations reserves and military bases, to the small towns and capital cities, the welcome was consistently overwhelming and their memories are unlimited. The Ceremonies including the nightly victory and medal presentations, the Sports, the athletes and their vast supporting teams, the visitors and the fantastic weather all wove the fabric for a fantastic experience shared by so many. The many pavilions were a highlight for both visitors and for locals, and again the experiences, even with lines from one hour to eight (the wildly successful Royal Canadian Mint was beyond popular) all contributed to the emotion. The National Houses, from Russia to Italy, Switzerland to Holland, and so many more showed off the best of these locations as they presented the face of how they are now wanting to be perceived in the world provided a reason to go out and see these. The Canadian pavilions beyond the Mint, from our country pavilion to each province, the Northern House (still open through April) all showcased the best coming out of these provinces from music to sports and culture and provided a great reason to come downtown. Oh downtown... Robson and Granville at the heart of the city, became the must attend place. With six hour line-ups to ride the zipline across to the Art Gallery landing pad, a skating rink, live bands and the collective energy of thousands daily, this was Canadian-ism at its best. CODE is the forum set up at that provided the avenue for all people to contribute their digital memories to be shared with the world, and its success also unprecedented. We were lucky to have had a hand in pavilions, hospitality programs and to get out and attend a variety of ceremonies and sporting events at both the Olympics and Paralympics, and what a positive experience. Everyone on our team was lucky to have been a part of this, and as we settle back into the routine, we are excited to bring this energy and positive force to the programs that build on the reputation developed even further of Vancouver and Whistler as truly exciting destinations that must be added to everyone's bucket list. Welcome world, we look forward to seeing you here.

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