Monday, February 15, 2010

playing olympic tourist

As I mentioned last post, we had fun this weekend playing tourist and observing all the visitors to a city I've always known. Friday evening we wandered among the crowd for a while, watching the huge screens scattered throughout downtown, absorbing some of the building excitement before heading home to watch the opening ceremony. Saturday morning, we decided to walk along English Bay and then cut across Denman to Coal Harbour for a look at the Olympic Torch. On the way, we noted that the once-controversial, now just iconic, Olympic inukshuk had been decked out with a cheery red pair of Olympic mittens (On my run the next day, I spotted these mittens hung 'round the neck of the Girl with a Wet Suit statue; then driving back Monday morning, I saw them on the paws of the lion statues guarding the Lions Gate Bridge).
A runner was doing her warm-up stretches nearby; a cyclist had parked for a viewing and photo break; and these paddlers were getting a workout in the outrigger -- perfect weather for the non-Olympic athletes.
I took numerous photos along the way, playing tourist, as I said -- Vancouver Biennale has resulted in some wonderful statuary scattered around the city and I've been meaning to photograph some of it for ages now. I'll show you some of my shots in the next few days.
Meanwhile, let's continue 'round to the recently-renamed Jack Poole Place where the just-barely-lit Olympic cauldron was attracting crowds (never have we seen so much red -- jackets, scarves, touques, mittens). Here's the approach -- I'll admit to loving the lines of the Conference Centre, altho' I had misgivings about its addition to the waterfront, the surrounding politics and economics. From my usual running route just across on the Stanley Park seawall, I love seeing its zig-zagging lines work their way down to the boats and seaplanes, and I love the winter colours of that living roof -- that tawny-golden dried grass against the greys of concrete and sky. I'm a sucker for the intersecting geometric regularities of architecture.

Since we visited, objections to (and ridicule of) this ugly chain-link fence have prompted Olympic organizers to make some changes allowing photo opportunities unobstructed by that screen. But this is how we saw it on Saturday . . .

And this last shot has nothing to do with the Olympics, except that it's of the area adjacent to the cauldron, but I couldn't resist it -- architectural geometry, again. The development in this area still staggers me -- a fairly recent imposition, and I can remember quite well what it used to be like. I find it overall rather sterile, obviously moneyed, very little in the way of a street vibe, but I also see elements I like. This stage of life, more and more one hears oneself comparing things with how they used to be, and I guard against becoming tiresome with that, but perhaps it's part of our role as elders. Trying to figure how to balance the resistance against with the pleasure in change is ongoing with certain personalities, but I imagine this will be one of my biggest challenges to come. Onward and upward, then, as those stairs beckon . . .


  1. "I'm a sucker for the intersecting geometric regularities of architecture." Well put. Me too.

  2. A New Yorker recently wrote that you're not a real New Yorker till you can say "this usta be" as in "this usta be that dry cleaner's that did the great dyeing". Same with our cities!

  3. LPC: yes, I find those regularities, their geometries, both compelling and soothing.
    Duchesse: love it! I guess I'm real Vancouverite then . . .

  4. Naturally the radio over here is giving reports from Vancouver ( all the time practically ). Everything is not about the Olympic games, but I have been listening to the description of Vancouver as a city. The comments have been very praising. A beautiful city, so I have heard. And the red mittens have been mentioned too!


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...