Wearing a red Canadian hockey jersey, Gregor Robertson, Vancouver mayor and co-founder of the Happy Planet juice company, encouraged all to have fun and help visitors during the Games. (You can check out live tracking of the final legs of the torch relay here.)
I took the brand-new Canada Line from the City Hall to downtown. Built for the Olympics, the Canada Line connects downtown with the Vancouver International Airport. Back downtown, I gave my little Canadian flag to a foreign visitor who was delighted; I witnessed a stylish parade of grey-clad Four Seasons hotel staff with grey umbrellas ushering NBC staffers from bus to hotel; I ran into a horde of Finnish athletes heading to the Pacific Centre for shopping; and I photographed the Olympic clock in front of the Art Gallery showing only 1 day to go!
The city looks ready, the streets are eerily calm, and along the main shopping area on Robson Street, signs show the three Olympic Mascots – Quatchi, Sumi and Miga – welcoming visitors in various languages, even in Finnish!
A few last-minute tips:
1. Do not carry large bags or purses to ticketed events. The fewer belongings you have, the less unlikely you are to have to go through a gear security check-up that could slow you down significantly.
2. Public transit is free for the days you have an Olympic event ticket, but plan for delays and don’t expect to get quickly from one venue to another. Trying to get to two events in one day is probably not a good idea. Check out transportation and transit info here.
3. Figure out your transportation plans first. If you are planning on buying tickets, especially to the Cypress Mountain events in West Vancouver or anything in Whistler, don’t do it unless you have your transportation figured out. You will need to buy separate transportation tickets for these events, and they may not be available. Private cars are not an option. Transportation info for those events here.
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[All photos by Tuija Seipell and Ted Topping]