Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Day Six

Day six of the Olympics was Wednesday, February 17th. After work I visited my parents in Steveston and we decided to visit Richmond's O-Zone for the evening. O-Zone is the official Olympics site in Richmond where a variety of pavilions, stages, and attractions are located. We arrived at 5pm and surprisingly, there was no lineup and the crowds were minimal. While it was sunny, the was a very cold wind blowing - the first time that it actually felt wintery during the Olympics. Here are a few shots from that night:

The main stage at Richmond O-Zone. Speed skating was playing on the big screens.

Holland's Heineken House - one of the most popular pavilions in all of the Olympics.

Vancouver legend Dal Richards performing on stage
Richmond City Hall all lit up

Inniskillin winery had ice wine tasting flights - 3 for $10. Well worth it!

Ice Gate - a colourful ice sculpture by local artist Gordon Halloran

All bundled up with the red Olympics mittens!
Beautiful lanterns add to the magic of the atmosphere.

All in all, we spent about 3 hours at Richmond OZone and it was a memorable night. There was an outdoor ice rink for ice skating and live music at the big stage. Quite a few big names were scheduled to play there, including Canadian bands such as Our Lady Peace,  Hawksley Workman, and the Bedouin Soundclash.

Heineken House had a large line-up to get in, so we didn't bother, although if you had a Dutch passport, you have your own separate VIP lineup. They essentially turned Richmond's Minoru Arena into the official Dutch headquarters during the Olympics. I can't imagine how they did it. I used to ice skate in that arena as a kid... and I have a hard time believing they converted it into a beer hall, dance floor and fan club! I never did make it out there, but my sister ended up going there a few nights later with a friend and was treated to a surprise DJ set by Armin van Burrin! It's true that, despite being out in Richmond (ie: not your standard nightlife destination), it's become the hottest party venue during the Olympics.

Across Minoru Blvd from the main stage and Heineken House, between Richmond Centre and City Hall, were some more Richmond OZone pavilions. City Hall was open to the public with a variety of displays on Richmond's varied industries. Large screens showcased Olympic events happening, while public art in the form of ice sculptures and laterns added to the atmosphere. Inniskillen Winery had an ice wine tasting. My Dad, being the wine lover that he is, treated my sister and I to a flight to ice wines. Definitely an enjoyable experience. It's such a treat to drink ice wine... it's almost like a dessert wine. Very sweet, almost like syrup, but very exquisite!

My favourite part of Richmond O-Zone was BC Street. Essentially it was a pavilion put on my Tourism BC featuring all the different regions of BC. Cariboo's pavilion was great - they had a guy dressed up out of Barkerville (BC's gold rush national historic site/town) and they had various businesses set up and First Nations with informative displays. Vancouver Island had a great display where they replicated Sooke and Tofino's ecosystems. And all throughout they had representatives from the various tourism centers and local businesses happily answering questions and sharing their passion for their homes. While Ozone won't be open for much longer, if you get a chance, it's well worth a visit!

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