Getting to know Vancouver

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For all of us who reveled in the show Salt Lake City put on back in 2002, we can't wait to see how Canada does with the Olympics to be held in Vancouver in 2010.

This will be the third Olympics for Canada -- there were the Montreal Summer Games in '76, and the '88 Winter Games in Calgary. Now it's Vancouver's turn.

Vancouver is a city built on the cusp of wilderness. As Colin Hansen, Minister for the 2010 Olympics, said, "Vancouver is one of those cities that has been a bit of a hidden gem."

And now we're on the cusp of the most exciting time in the city's long history. It's an excitement we know all about in Salt Lake City.

John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, known as VANOC, said, "I think the Salt Lake winter games was probably the best executed Winter Olympics, probably ever."

Furlong knows Salt Lake set the bar high, and he says Vancouver will do its best to meet it. "We've taken a lot of the knowledge of Salt Lake and applied it here, a lot of it!" he said.

Aside from being Olympic cities, Vancouver and Salt Lake don't have much in common. Vancouver is in the Province of British Columbia. It has a very Northwest feel, much like Seattle or Portland, with a similar climate and water throughout the year. But it's bigger than any of our Northwest cities, and with a population of 2.5 million, it's the largest city to host the Winter Olympics.

One thing Vancouverites do have in common with Utahns is they pride themselves in welcoming the world. Vancouver is even hoping people who visit for the Games never leave.

Phil Heard, with the Vancouver Economic Development Commission, said, "What we'll be doing with people visiting here is saying, ‘Are you having a good time? Have you ever considered moving here?'"

They also kinda talk like us. "We don't say the Ts in mountains," Mark, a Vancouverite, told us. And when we asked him to say Layton, it came out more like Lay-un.

Something we don't have here is a $2 coin. Neesha Hothi, with the Bay, explained, "So this is a tooney, a two dollar coin. Initially we had a looney with a lune on it, so when you had the two, you got the tooney."

Vancouverites are reserved, but friendly. They're fanatic about hockey and maple syrup. "We have the best syrup around. You know that! Everyone knows Canadian syrup is the best!" Hothi said.

Another Vancouverite, Evan, summed up living in Vancouver for us, saying, "Watching some hockey, aye drinking beer, getting screeched and having a good time! Cheers! Ha ha."

No doubt there's going to be a lot of good times to be had during the Olympics, aye? The Games start February 12, 2010, and go through Feb. 28. Dreams will be made and dashed, and days will be filled with lots of cheers and some tears, too.


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Amanda Butterfield


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