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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Being Canadian: The Big Show (Vancouver 2010)

The Big Show (Winter Olympics) is coming to an end this Sunday. Sure, the Paralympics is still ahead for March, but the majority of the pavilions and events in the city will be over in a couple of days. 

Since before I moved to this city from Calgary plans have been in place to construct different sites, the Olympic Village and a new mass-transit line to Richmond and the airport. It feels really strange to me. . .  all this build-up and expended energy (with humans and hydro-wise) for this (essentially) 2 week event, and soon it will all be over and millions of extra people will go home. I was kind of worried about all the extra people invading the buses and sidewalks of my city for so long, but then it all started, and people began to pour in. It was actually really nice to have so many people around downtown (walking distance from my place) especially, and out later than usual. Most places seem to close really early (by my standards anyway), around 5 or 6pm, so malls and other areas being open until 9pm, 11pm or even midnight (and some 24 hours!!) has been amazing! 

The day before the opening ceremonies (February 12th), my Art History Canadian Symbolism seminar met downtown and went to a few different pavilions to check things out and to be critical of the displays and what-not. The picture above is from the BC pavilion on the top floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery, which had free entry during the Olympics. We also went to the Royal Canadian Mint pavilion and Canada's Northern House. That is the kind of stuff I love - museums, cheesy touristy things and art galleries! I loved receiving some pins, even though I don't like the idea of more 'junk' being collected in my home. 

I have never really been sure how I felt about the whole Olympics thing, especially happening in my home town. (I was 8 when the Olympics happened in Calgary, but I lived in Houston at the time, but I did see some of the Olympic stuff there when I visited the city in 1987.) I definitely think that the millions (billions?) of dollars could have been better spent, but at the same time, I can't help feeling happy about certain aspects of the Big Show: the Canada Line to the airport which opened in August 2009, for instance! It sucks that for the entire time I have lived here since moving back (2004) just about everything has been under construction, and it feels like none of it was for us. Now that the Big Show is over I wonder what will remain - a void? Will all of this craziness have been worth it?