Vancouver 2010 Live Sites Poll

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

When tickets for the Vancouver 2010 games went on sale I didn’t even ante up as I was looking forward to covering the games from a community perspective – not necessarily from inside the rink (although okay, that would be amazing). Sharing stories and capturing the excitement from local pubs, restaurants, parks, friend’s homes, and group gatherings while celebrating the mix of culture all descending upon the city would be the ultimate coverage for someone like me.

There was talk of having “live sites” around the City where the general public can gather to watch events on big screens and celebrate the triumph of their nation’s athletes but recently there have been murmurs that funding has been cut and the “live sites” will not be as grand as expected.

In early March, they were still cautiously optimistic

“We still hope to obtain that [$4.5-million] number but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult,” city Olympic operations general manager Dave Rudberg said in an interview. “We haven’t revised the number down yet but we are faced with the realities of the market.” The province of Manitoba is a confirmed participant in the live site near Georgia and Beatty, while Coca-Cola is committed to the David Lam Park site. Rudberg said the city is negotiating with several others now but no new deals have been completed. [Vancouver Sun]

Although last week, the cuts were approved…

Vancouver is scaling back plans for public parties during the 2010 Games while leaving their budget to wine and dine politicians and corporate executives untouched. City council voted Tuesday to cut $5 million from their $23-million budget for public entertainment sites, citing trouble raising sponsorship money. Economic challenges and competition from other so-called live sites also means the city won’t rule out shutting down the smaller of the two planned sites to stay within the new $18-million budget. [Canadian Press]

The two planned sites were at David Lam Park in Yaletown and the former Bus Depot site on Beatty Street.


Cutting back on the budget for the public, who are in fact paying quite a handsome sum out of their pockets for the games, may not sit well. There are those that couldn’t care less about any kind of hoopla or fanfare during those two weeks next February but if even this past weekend’s Juno Fest is an example, the public love their outdoor events in Vancouver (especially when we can get that sun to shine).

Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs wrote on his site with regards to the cut backs:

“… council approved cuts to the two-site budget March 24 and left the door open for further reductions, including possible elimination of one site, if reduced budget projections fail to pan out. The next day this warning from the IOC: Vancouver is planning more downtown “activation” for the 17 days of the Games than any previous Olympic city, summer or winter. “They’ve made the observation that we may not need as much as is being planned,” VANOC executive vice-president Dave Cobb told reporters. Huge sections of the downtown peninsula are scheduled to be converted to free or limited access party areas, including the two city parks, a large Concord Pacific area between Science World and the Plaza of Nations, long stretches of Robson and Granville, and Robson Square. That’s not to mention the countless national “houses” for visiting teams and other Olympic-related installations. It may not be sustainable.” [Hat tip: Chris from 6S]

Quick show of hands – or mouse clicks, as it were – how important do you believe the “live sites” are to the Games or will be to your personal experience overall?

[poll id=”30″]

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5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Maurice CardinalTuesday, March 31st, 2009 — 1:13pm PDT

    We did extensive full time research regarding the impact the Games have on a Host community Rebecca, and the reality is that most locals cocoon, while the wealthy get out of town.

    Even though our premier and local news claim otherwise, the live site areas primarily attract out-of-town spectators. Don’t expect to see athletes or the Olympic Family huddled under an umbrella around the big screen. They have VIP areas that are much more comfortable and safer.

    I address a number of issues like this in my book.

    Statistics might lie, but history doesn’t.

    Here’s a tidbit local mainstream news media also haven’t shared yet; many business owners sleep on their properties overnight because they cannot afford the high security costs necessary to protect their stores, which means shop owners and their families won’t exactly be in a festive mood to party in the hood.

    Something else local newspapers haven’t shared is that violent protest is quite common in the areas surrounding the Olympic Zone.

    A trend that developed after the Olympic bombing in Atlanta is for spectators to NOT congregate in areas susceptible to terrorists. This means the areas just outside the Olympic Zone where spectators wait in line to enter are also not exactly party hot spots.

    It’s highly unlikely live sites will be popular for locals, but outlying areas will certainly be more welcoming for anyone concerned with their safety. The challenge will be to get to them considering the transportation system will be turned upside down.

    As we get closer to the big event locals become tired of the hassle. Given Vancouver’s penchant for pot, not many will want to be continuously subjected to dogs sniffing their nether regions.

    Once you’re in the Olympic Zone you’ll be able to relax a bit, but getting to it, and into it is another story.

  2. ktThursday, April 2nd, 2009 — 10:10am PDT

    “A trend that developed after the Olympic bombing in Atlanta is for spectators to NOT congregate in areas susceptible to terrorists. This means the areas just outside the Olympic Zone where spectators wait in line to enter are also not exactly party hot spots.”

    Oh brother
    How much you wanna bet we’re gonna have a threat scale like Homeland Security by the time the games roll around?
    Threat Level Orange today kids!
    We don’t all live on a diet of fear.

  3. AdamThursday, April 2nd, 2009 — 10:16am PDT

    Good article, sharing on FB.

    It doesn’t really surprise me that the non-ticket-holding CEO’s are getting screwed out of live sites. Really kinda predictable, and very disappointing. We should start our own fund to get one or more live sites back up and running. By the people, and for the people.

    What sayest you?

  4. WillThursday, April 2nd, 2009 — 10:58am PDT

    I’ve never been to an Olympic public site but I can share a comparable story with regards to public viewings of major events: Fifa World Cup 1998 vs 2002.

    In 1998 I was backpacking Europe. I caught the first few games in numerous pubs throughout England and Ireland. The first big public site viewing was in a field on a big screen with about 30,000 people at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark… not quite public as you needed a ticket to the festival but there were almost 100,000 people at the week-long festival. Then I caught the last game Denmark played that tournament in a small town square in (I forget the name) some city in Denmark. Following that was live outdoor public broadcasts in Berlin while Love Parade was happening. There was public drinking and revelry, bars were hopping, the crowd was buoyant and friendly, and not once did we see any hooliganism or serious trouble (the Berlin police are not ones to mess with and the Danes/Swedes/Fins are just plain cool). This was by far the greatest international gathering I have attended without even really being there (host country was France).

    Contrast that with Japan (Osaka, specifically) and there were no outdoor broadcasts. All viewings happened in the incredibly numerous bars throughout the city with the most fun to be had in and around the Dotunburi area. Kirin, a major brewery, has a huge landmark building there and had big screens inside that could be viewed from outside. Why is this area important? Because the ignorantly conceived notion that Japanese people are reserved is quickly dismissed once you see them party in Osaka, drunk or ebullient, looking for an excuse to jump off the low bridge into the disgusting waters (and other effluence) of the Dotonburi river. They do this whenever the local baseball team wins or when a national team is victorious. The games end and everybody rushes to the bridge to party together. Police gather to “control” the crowd which really just requires a message of “Please be responsible and polite” (paraphrased). It was a good time, for sure.

    Now we come to Vancouver. Will there be public viewing spots outside of Van? Big question. And will it be overpoliced? I bet it will. The Straight did a great story on how the Junos were really two parties, the let-down public ones and the private ones. And maybe that has to do with a few mistakes made in the past (rioting ‘Nuck fans, G’N”R fans, and a few childish asses at the fireworks). Toss on the fears of gang violence and is it any wonder we won’t get the great opportunity for a community party but instead some sedate dull-fest?

    Me? I’ll be at pub somewhere. You can always catch a good atmosphere at a pub. Probably not in Van. Maybe Schanks in New West? Though t would be sweet to catch Team Canada in an outdoor venue (weather matters not for the best events).

  5. LiveCity Vancouver 2010 Public Live Sites » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittThursday, October 8th, 2009 — 3:34pm PDT

    […] name for the public celebration sites that will be hosted around downtown Vancouver. Back in March cutbacks were announced but today the City revealed that it’s all about the […]

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