#1 TOUR THE LANTERN FOREST AT LUNARFEST
Wander Granville Street between Robson and West Georgia Jan. 22-Feb. 28 to enjoy a forest of lanterns made by local children and public art sculptures. On Feb. 13-14 the whole family can enjoy a parade by Public Dreams and make their own lanterns. The festival is just one of many activities expected to take place on the designated pedestrian corridors along Granville, Robson, Beatty, Hamilton/Mainland.
#2 VIEW THE DA VINCI EXHIBIT AT VAG
From Feb. 12-18, admission to the Vancouver Art Gallery is free. From 10am to 5pm enjoy full access to the BC Pavilion on the fourth floor, a landmark exhibition of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, two major outdoor installations and a survey of B.C. visual art.
#3 SKATE AT GE PLAZA AT ROBSON SQUARE
Take a whirl on the newly restored and already highly popular ice rink from 9am to 9pm. Rent skates for just $3 or bring your own. The Square will also feature a free zip line for the adventurous, entertainment and hundreds of media from around the world broadcasting on-site at the BC Media Centre.
#4 BROWSE THE OLYMPIC SUPERSTORE
It’s free to look, although you will be tempted to buy all things Olympic, at the Olympic Superstore located inside The Bay Downtown. While there, you can also look/shop at the International Village for the uniforms of about ten other countries or see the infamous pin trading in action. While the Canadian Olympic Committee house located inside the store will be private, athlete and dignitary watching comes at no cost.
#5 WATCH THE GAMES AT LIVECITY DOWNTOWN
The City is hosting LiveCity Downtown on the parking lot at West Georgia @ Beatty from 11am to 12:30am from Feb. 13-28. No tickets, passes or fee required. Visit the Vancouver, Manitoba and Canada pavilions, watch the Games on a giant screen and other entertainment. Food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be for sale.
#6 TAKE IN THE SIGHTS
Downtown will be transformed with thousands of banners, window decorations, building wraps and people. Simply walk around to take it all in. Keep your eyes out for celebrities, athletes wearing their medals, pin traders and public art. Drop into a restaurant for a bite – many will be open for drop-in customers and most will be open late. Many retailers are also extending their shopping hours to 11pm. Ask a Downtown Ambassador where the ‘hot spot’ of the day might be.
#7 TOUR THE COUNTRY AND PROVINCIAL HOUSES
Countries and provinces will be erecting houses to both host private functions but to also welcome the public. German FanFest will be located in the parking lot beside Steamworks on West Cordorva, for example. Experience the diversity of Aboriginal art, business, culture and sport from across Canada at the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion hosted by the Four Host First Nations on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Sochi Russia 2014 will welcome visitors at Science World, Ireland invades Doolin’s on Granville Street and Nunavut Northern House (three territories) will be located in the old Export Canada Centre on West Hastings at Seymour. See the DVBIA’s unofficial, unverified map of downtown activities. The map will be updated as more information becomes available.
#8 CELEBRATE WITH THE SPONSORS
Major Olympic sponsors are throwing open their doors to the public: Budweiser is on tap at The Commodore Ballroom, Omega has opened a boutique in the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel and the BC Hydro Power Smart Village will be located outside its head office on Dunsmuir St.
#9 CHEER ON THE TORCH RELAY
On the morning of Feb. 12 after 100 days on the road, the Olympic Torch Relay will wind its way around downtown Vancouver before its put away for a few hours in advance of that day’s Opening Ceremonies at BC Place Stadium. Simply step outside sporting your red and white and celebrate the historic moment. The route will be announced two weeks in advance.
#10 EXPERIENCE THE 2010 CULTURAL OLYMPIAD
From artistic collaborations that fuse contrasting perspectives to emerging talents re-inventing the voice of contemporary Canada, the Cultural Olympiad running Jan. 22-Mar. 21 has something for everyone with many activities free or affordably priced. This amazing showcase of Canadian and international arts and popular culture will feature an unparalleled variety of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, outdoor spectaculars and digital media experiences. Tip: buy your tickets now before the world comes to town.