Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympic Update: Vancouver Day!

Yesterday, G and I had a reception to attend in Vancouver with David Suzuki and the Play it Cool Athletes, so we decided to make a day of it and headed down to see what was happening in the Host City.

The reception was one of the better ones I've ever been to (and I've been to a few). It was small, which meant we got to speak with pretty much everyone in the room, including David Suzuki and athletes such as Adam Van Koeverden (Kayak medal in Beijing), Warren Tanner (racing moguls in Vancouver) and Justin Lamoureux (best Canadian half-pipe finish ever!). The table was set with all kinds of gluten free treats, cheeses, veggies and fruits and trimmed with real plates and cloth napkins so we didn't make any waste. All the more delicious!

Justin and I enjoying the brownies on offer

Play it Cool Athletes: Warren Tanner (Freestyle Moguls), Adam Van Koeverden (Kayak), David Suzuki, Justin Lamoureux (Snowboard Half-Pipe), Zac Plavsic (Sailing), Nikola Girke (Windsurfing), Jake Cohn (Extreme Skier)

We were there because Gerhard has organized a partnership with Play it Cool, pairing with them to produce carbon-neutral trips for some of Snowboard Canada Magazine's feature articles. It's a really great way to spread the message about climate change. A fact echoed by David Suzuki in his remarks. He basically said that no matter how many slides and charts that are out there, our athletes remain the most powerful tool for spreading the message. Their stories about receding ice floes, cancelled races, and shortened seasons mean a lot more than "the science". It reaches more people, so more people might try to make the changes we need.

We also talked about the Games and their impact. The David Suzuki Foundation has awarded the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games a bronze medal for their green initiatives. From my own experience, I can tell you the "back-of-house" work areas include a zero-waste campaign. All of our plates, and cutlery are compostable. They gave us reusable travel mugs to fill with coffee/hot chocolate. However, they also give us a bottle of water every day, so I don't know. The bottles claim to be made from "plant" materials and they are all being recycled to make hats, scarves and mitts. So maybe it equals out. Anyway, they estimate that because of a letter signed by over 70 athletes and sent to John Furlong, VANOC took notice and offset over 118,000 tons of CO2. That's something for sure.

So, after an inpsiring afternoon of Suzuki and athletes, we headed down to the Ontario House Pavilion I've heard so much about at the Concord City Place. Our neighbours include Saskatchewan House, Maison du Quebec, and Hockey Canada House. Pretty sweet spot! Once inside, I got us a sneak peek at the Ontario 4D ride which takes you through some really amazing Ontario vistas across the province, including wind farms, solar farms, Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands and on and on. You get splashed by a canoeist, and ride down a roller coaster and a tobaggan hill. It was pretty awesome. The future of movies?

After that we met up with Ross, and colleauge Michele for the hockey game. So we drank Mill Street Organic, contemplated more brownies (from Dufflets) and snacked on the "Trillium Trio" -- a meat and bread platter for $5 dollars featuring some smoked duck. yum!

The energy at Ontario House was amazing for the game, so I'm glad we went there. Canada mopped the floor with Germany, I think the score was 7-2. Of course, most of Canada's goals happened while I was either taking a phone call, or in the ladies' room. Typical "Lake Effect" in effect. On one of the screens, I noticed Canada's ladies bobsleigh duo performing some amazing feats. They head into the finals tonight in first place, so I'll be biting my nails for them! And of course huge congrats to our ski cross and ice dance gold medalists!!!

After hockey, we decided to cruise around Vancouver and do the tourist thing. They've got it going on there, that's for sure. There were people everywhere and yet everyone said it was a "slow night". We walked through some cool art displays, watched some busking while people ziplined over our heads through Robson Square. Down below, you could rent some skates and do some laps. It was very cool.

No trip to Vancouver during the Olympics would be complete without a walk down to the Olympic Flame, so we checked out the cauldron, and the rings across the strait and then called it a day. I could barely stay awake on the drive, but we got here so Gerhard must have done a great job getting us home on his own. This morning when we got in the car to get pancake supplies, the air conditioner was on full blast, hmmmm.

Anyway, today we're just taking it easy. Finally got a nice sleep in, made afore-mentioned pancakes (with applesauce, flax seed, hemp seeds and bananas topped with pure Canadian Maple Syrup ... soooo good) and watched Clara Hughes make Canadian history in an edge-of-your-seat speed skating race. Now that blogging is done, perhaps I have time for a run before tuning in for bobsleigh.

Whistler tomorrow? Skiing at last? Powder in our future? Fingers crossed!

1 comment:

  1. Did I mention that I am envious and that you are spoiled rotten? :)
    I really enjoy the blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it. It has a flavour that isn't avilable on TV.
    Love you