Guide to 2010 Olympic Venues, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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The 2010 Winter Olympics being held in February in Vancouver, British Columbia will include a number of sites and venues.  If you are a first time or returning visitor to Vancouver you may want to secure a map of the city that is available online specifically designed to highlight the various locations in which the events will be held.  The map is available at www.vancouverinfocenter.com/Vancouver_2010_venues_map.html.  In general, events taking place in and around the city are within a relatively short distance of each other.

BC Place Stadium is located in downtown Vancouver and is the site of the opening and closing ceremonies.  Of note, is that this stadium features the largest air-supported roof in North America, along with state-of-the-art technologies.  The closest transportation drop-off is the corner of Nelson Street and Marinaside Crescent, enter through Gate “J” or the corner of Abbott Street and Keefer Place.  Gates open 4 hours before ceremonies. 

Canada Hockey Place or GM Place is located in downtown Vancouver (close to the desirable tourist-oriented community of Yaletown) and is the venue for the ice hockey tournament.  This is the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.  This is an indoor arena with North American size ice surfaces (rather than international size).  It is important at this venue to check your ticket and enter the venue through the correct gate.  As well, if you have purchased back-to-back tickets for events you will have to leave the area, remain in a holding area until the next session, and then return to your seat.  Any questions can be directed to the Information Center at Section 114 and 310.  Rapid transit via Expo Line/ Millennium Line, as well as buses, will provide direct access to this venue.

Cypress Mountain is the official freestyle skiing, snowboard parallel giant slalom and snowboard cross venue for the 2010 Olympics.  Cypress Mountain, located in Cypress Provincial Park, is one of the most well-used and popular ski areas in British Columbia.  It is located in the District of West Vancouver and therefore within close proximity to the City of Vancouver.  This is a venue with limited shelter, therefore dress appropriately for cold and wet conditions.  To get to this venue take the Olympic bus network rapid transit (review options).  From the drop-off point you will be required to walk approximately 1.6 kilometers to reach the freestyle stadium and 2 kilometers to reach the snowboard and ski cross stadium.  The snowboard and ski cross stadium walk will include an uphill climb with stairs. 

Richmond Olympic Oval is located on the banks of the Fraser River, 14 kilometers south of downtown Vancouver in the northeast corner of Richmond, within close proximity to the Vancouver International Airport.  This is the location chosen to hold the speed skating events for the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games.  This is a multi-use facility that is designated to hold 12 medal events over 14 days, making it one of the busiest Olympic Games venues.  Of note, this is the site of the official “Olympic anti-doping lab” set up to play an important role in achieving “drug-free” Winter Olympic Games.  Rapid transit will take you within walking distance of this venue (1.5 kilometers), but you should dress warmly and comfortably for your walk along the Fraser River.

Pacific Coliseum is located at 100 N. Renfrew Street in East Vancouver.  This venue is hosting short track and speed and figure skating events and is the home of the Western Hockey League’s BC Giants.  Of note, is that “complete silence” during the starting procedure of the short tract speed skating event is expected.  Rapid transit and/or buses are easily accessible to take you conveniently to this location. 

UBC Thunderbird Area is the chosen site to host the men’s and women’s Olympic ice hockey competition and the men’s Paralympic ice sledge hockey competition. UBC Thunderbird Arena has recently been renamed the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre giving this community a new world-class legacy venue.  It is located on Thunderbird Boulevard adjacent to the University of British Columbia.  The arena will host 17 Olympic events, along with 20 Paralympic Game events in men’s ice sledge hockey, including a gold medal game.  This facility will accommodate 250,000 athletes, spectators, workers, volunteers and media representatives.  Of note, is that you will be required to leave the seating area at the end of each session, and if you have tickets for the next session, you will be required to remain in a holding area for perhaps 1 hour.  This site is easily accessible by rapid transit or/or bus.    

Vancouver Olympic Centre is located in a South Vancouver community that includes Queen Elizabeth Park, offering views of the local mountains.  This venue is part of the 2010 Olympics Aboriginal Art Program and it will feature contemporary artwork by First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists from across Canada.  This is the curling venue site and is being overseen by the World Curling Foundation.  This venue has a state-of-the-art ice quality monitoring system called “Eye on the Ice”, as well as high-quality heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.  At the end of each session you will be required to leave the seating area and if you have tickets to the next session, you will remain in a holding area for perhaps 1 hour.  This site is easily accessible by both rapid transit and/or bus.

Whistler Creekside is located near Whistler Village.  This site will host men’s and women’s downhill skiing.  Of note and interest in this location are the extremely steep sections and sharp turns, a definite challenge to the participants.  The “Fallaway” on the men’s course, is a steep section that turns the skiers left and drops them into a compression.  “Hot Air” is a jump to the finish – designed to thrill spectators.  Visitors from Vancouver will make their way to this venue via the Olympic Bus Network and/or BC Transit buses.  Of note, is that you can take a chairlift up to the viewing areas, but be sure to arrive in advance of the events to ensure boarding.  Since this location has snow and is mountainous, you will require appropriate winter clothing and footwear.

Whistler Medals Plaza is the location in which the nightly 2010 Olympics Victory ceremonies will be held.  This is an outdoor celebration plaza located in Whistler’s town center.  One of several Olympics legacies, the area provides the opportunity to highlight each day’s high achievers and medal winners.  Of note, there is no Olympic Bus Network to this location but visitors can take BC Transit.  Dress appropriately for cold mountain conditions.

Whistler Olympic Park will host 28 Olympic events or one-third of the winter games to include Biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping, as well as 32 Paralympic games.  Of note, is that in order each stadium, it is necessary to have the ticket for the specific event, and for Nordic combined, you must ensure that you have a ticket for both events.  Transportation to this site is via the Olympic Bus Network from Vancouver, or if you are already in Whistler, you can take the shuttle from designated stops within Whistler Village.  There is no BC transit to this venue and travel from Vancouver via transit to this location is approximately 3 hours.  Be sure to dress appropriately for winter mountain conditions. 

Whistler Sliding Centre is located on the shared territories of the Squamish and Lil-wat First Nations, a spiritual place.  This venue hosts one of the only 15 sliding tracks in the world for the combined bobsleigh, luge and skeleton venues.   This centre won a 2008 BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association Award for Excellence in Concrete Construction, as well the as Century Award given to VANOC and the project team, since something like only comes along every 100 years.  Of note, you should check out all the corners of the track as various locations give different perspectives on races.  Be prepared to walk approximately 40 minutes to the spectator plaza, and walking is the only way to access this venue.  Transportation from Vancouver is via The Olympic Bus Network.  If already in Whistler, shuttle service is provided. 

Further information can be accessed online at www.vancouver.2010.com

References:

Tourism Vancouver

2010 Olympics venues, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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