Olympics Craziness – LiveCity Downtown & Canada House

Location: On Cambie, between W Georgia and Dunsmuir, the entry is at street-level.  The Canada House pavilion is to the left when you enter.  The LiveCity screen is in the centre, and a concession and sports-watching tent is in the far-right corner.

Lineup time: As mentioned below, for an early afternoon on a Saturday – about 1 hour to get into the LiveCity site. Once you’re in, it’s another 45 minutes to 1 hour for Canada House, but for the majority of the time, you can watch their big TV in the main square.

What’s Inside? Well unless an event is happening, the LiveCity screen is the main attraction.  The image is remarkably good for an outdoor TV, and the sound is not too loud and not too quiet.  The concession tent smelled like delicious pizza (which we didn’t have – darn!) and it’s licensed (you need to let the security folks know when you enter that you’ll be buying alcohol – they’ll give you a wristband after checking your ID).  Seats were comfy though lined up stadium style (no tables in main seating area).

Inside the LiveCity concession tent

Canada House – we were very curious to check this out after hearing much speculation about whether it would be ready on time from the CBC morning show, and then hearing mostly neutral-to-negative reviews from folks who visited the pavilion.  We waited patiently to get in, and then were somewhat underwhelmed by the structure itself.  Compared to other buildings set up specifically for pavilions, this one gave you the definite sense of a temporary structure (though not as bad as Quebec House – more on that later!)  It was decorated in Olympic colours, with light-weight fabric screening being used to provide dimension to the space.

Inside Canada House

If you were told this was a “great moments in Canadian Winter Olympics History” you’d think this is a GREAT pavilion.  A Gretzky jersy was set up nicely for picture-taking.

There was also an actual torch like the ones used for the relay.

And a replica torch (silver instead of white) that you could pose with 🙂

There’s also one more notable item that was on display when we visited, but we need to keep a few surprise pictures for our Christmas Newsletter!

Beyond these items, there were a few interactive touch-screen games, some displays of equipment (hockey, skiing, curling, snowboard), a 2-man bobsled which you could take your picture with, and some videos of our athletes (which have been playing on TV and at movie theaters for months here).  There was little information written up on the walls next to these displays.  One example of this is the Order of Canada display which was located near the Gretzky jersey.  It didn’t say what these medallions were for, or who had received them.  If you didn’t know what they were, you’d maybe assume that these were national sports medals or awards.  While there were volunteers there, they seemed to be occupied taking pictures of the visitors, not really available to explain what was being displayed.  There was also more security personnel here than at any other pavilion we’ve attended, which is fine I guess, but was distracting.

I am not sure what I was expecting – I was happy to get so many neat pictures, but this wasn’t a good pavilion to explain the geography, history, culture, tourism and economic opportunities available in Canada to visitors.  Most of the other pavilions did provide this – some with truly remarkable results (I’ll describe the Canada’s Northern House later this week) – so this was overall a missed opportunity on behalf of Canada, I’m sad to say.

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