More Iconic Olympic Photo Memories. Part 2

Inukshuk statute with 2010 Olympic mittens. English Bay, Vancouver BC. Feb. 2010. Photo by J. Becker
Inukshuk statute with 2010 Olympic mittens. English Bay, Vancouver BC. Feb. 2010. Photo by J. Becker

Different Inukshuk Symbols to Welcome the World
It is just a matter of time before those popular iconic Olympic torchbearer red mittens are removed from the Inukshuk statue by English Bay near a popular walking and cycling path.  Soon we will not see that quirky adornment in a few weeks, of which by now Hudson’s Bay Co. will have sold up to three million pairs.  Who would have thought that there was another impromptu cousin  to the official 2010 Olympic emblem, Ilanaaq.  Which version represents the spontaneous spirit of Ilanaaq, Inuktituk word meaning “friend”?

Ilanaaq. Revealing of Olympic emblem event. GM Place. 2005
Revealing of Ilanaaq Olympic emblem event. GM Place, Vancouver, BC. 2005. Photo by J. Chong

Flag Colour Craze
Or will anyone miss that  gently mocking Australian team flag with its punchy kangaroo draped outside their Olympic Village suites. Luckily for the team that had their suites facing prime flag viewing areas from the False

Australia kangaroo flag. Feb. 2010. Photo by J.Chong
Australia team Olympic kangaroo flag. Olympic Village, Vancouver, BC. Feb. 2010. Photo by J.Chong

Creek area and several road bridges. Not   surprisingly, a couple of other country flags crept onto other suite balconies during the Olympics.

While the Canadian flags, red and white colour palette splashed across the clothing of many people in the city, it was also a time for brandishing whatever country flag colours you supported or whichever mascot you adopted for luck. Often it appeared the Olympics was just a wonderful excuse to wear one’s country colours in fashionable or wacky, bold ways for several days without any apology or explanation.

Korean fans by interviewed by former 1994 Canadian Olympic figure skater, Josee Chouinard. Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC. Feb. 24, 2010. Photo by J. Chong.
Korean fans by interviewed by former 1994 Canadian Olympic figure skater, Josee Chouinard. Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC. Feb. 24, 2010. Photo by J. Chong.

This unscripted enthusiasm was as contagious as some of the flash mob dancing that occurred at the public gathering spots downtown.  I heard several people yelling into their cell phones: “You have to come downtown where everyone is, where the action is”.

Happy Crowd Crazy
The crowds that milled around happily downtown in both good and rainy weather day after day, surprised most locals.  VANOC officials  were caught off-guard by thousands of people wanting to view and snap photos of the outdoor Olympic cauldron by the waterfront.

Multi-patriotism adorned people and streets. Downtown Vancouver, BC. Feb. 2010.
Multi-patriotism adorned people and streets. Downtown Vancouver, BC. Feb. 2010. Photo by J. Chong

Travis Lupick in The Georgia Straight newspaper marvelled over impromptu hockey games struck among strangers, in  public spaces created by roadblocks. Or a downtown spontaneous wooden sled race down the asphalt  road while police look on in amusement.   Even with the collapse of the wire barricade at  the LiveCity Yaletown during a concert start after 20 people were hurt, didn’t deteriorate into a riot of 8,000 people:  “But a few people’s anger was quickly overwhelmed by a spontaneous singing of the national anthem”.  Amazing.

For just transit fare, one could hang out  downtown to soak in the Olympic spirit  with free public art, the free skating rink,

Silver medal for Canadian women's 5000 metre speedskating relay team. Pacific Coliseum. Vancouver, BC
Silver medal for Canadian women’s 5000 metre speedskating relay team. Pacific Coliseum. Vancouver, BC. Feb. 24, 2010. Photo by J. Becker

street buskers, Royal Canadian Mint displays and the pavilions, if you had several hours to wait at certain venues.  At one shopping mall, many people were happy to sit there to watch an Olympic hockey game on the flat screen tvs provided temporarily.  If you worked in any eatery, it was probably helpful the establishment had a tv for patron contentment over coffee or a beer.

The unexpected festive marathon celebration and cooperation of large crowds on the streets, at

Robson Square, overlooking GE Skating Rink. Vancouver, BC. Feb. 2010
Robson Square, overlooking GE Skating Rink. Vancouver, BC. Feb. 2010. Photo by J. Chong

Olympic public venues and on the transit system has generated discussion among downtown business owners, planners, politicians and local commentators on civic and urban matters:  How could Vancouver sustain after the Olympics, a slice of this shared energy, convivial

Cherry tree burst fireworks. Seaside Path, Yaletown. Vancouver, BC. Feb. 28, 2010.
Cherry burst fireworks. Seaside Path, Yaletown. Vancouver, BC. Feb. 28, 2010. Photo by J. Chong

public gatherings, use of public space and increased use of public transportation? Will Vancouver have more tourists over the next few years  after viewing the party on tv or online?  There will be micro experiments –maybe rethinking of car-free days in certain areas, mass public festivals and reconfiguration of public space areas, tiny areas.  Tiny steps.

For now, we will just carry on into the spring, post Olympics  with the cherry blossoms that have burst  early now.  May the blossoms not drop off too soon.

 

Interesting Reading:
“Flash Mob in the City- Part 2.” In Inside Vancouver Blog. Feb. 26, 2010.

Lupick, Travis. “Olympics Bring on the Party”.  In The Georgia Straight. Feb. 25, 2010.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Manjot says:

    Great pictures, I enjoyed seeing a different side of Vancouver, and the poignant questions you ask. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Olympic presence alters the landscape of Vancouver – or if things stay the same and if it will feel like the Olympics never happened.

    http://torontotutti.wordpress.com

    Like

    1. Jean Chong says:

      Vancouverites also hope for some improvements in certain downtown areas where there would be more support for closing off certain streets for cultural festivals, etc. Certainly some of the businesses are more receptive to the idea. TransLink, which the equivalent of TTC, is surveying residents on their level of receptivity in using public transit more often after the Olympic experience.

      Like

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