Vancouver 2010 Spectator Tips

Comments 17 by Rebecca Bollwitt

A few days into the Olympics and I’ve come to realize what you need when you are getting around town to multiple events. Yesterday I put together a list while I was sitting inside Canada Hockey Place, after waiting 45 minutes to get through their security. Here are my top things to remember when you’re an Olympic spectator.

2010 Olympics - Vancouver's Robson Square
Photo credit: to be, inspired on Flickr

Wear comfortable shoes
Without cars and with transit re-routed due to street closures, walking is your best option around this city. I walk from the West End to the BCIMC at Robson Square, to Olympic venues and hospitality houses. Warm socks and running shoes have prevented my feet from being rubbed down to a nub. Wear shoes with support and some that can get wet as these are being dubbed “The Rain Games”.

Carry as little as possible
Heading through security at the Olympic venue yesterday there were families with backpacks full of picnic food that of course, they weren’t allowed to bring in. Some tossed items away while I saw at least half a dozen people polishing off apples near the security tent before being let through. Your bags will be searched, your pockets will be emptied. Try to carry as little as possible and only the essentials if you’re going to any live celebration site or venue with security.

Carry transit fare
I have been walking everywhere but the SkyTrain and Canada Lines have been saviors in hurried times. They’re probably your best bet for distance travel right now so be sure to carry at least $2.50 to board. If you have an Olympic ticket for an event, you may ride transit for free on the day of your event.

Show your colours
Whether you support Team Ukraine or Team Canada, wear your nation’s colours on your sleeve – literally. You can hit up the official Olympic Superstore at HBC or visit Roots & Lululemon for unofficial and international merchandise. One thing I must note though is that my husband’s been getting sour looks for wearing Team USA gear. We’re very welcoming of every nation yet his Team USA gear always brings attitude out in people (moreso locals). Lets make sure to have the right attitude as we are welcoming the world, even our brothers to the South.

Get a cowbell. Ring it. Go Canada. Repeat.

Thank the blue jacket volunteers
Thousands of those blue jacket Olympic volunteers are out there showing you the way, getting you into your event, and wrangling the massive crowds to make sure everyone’s on the right track. They’re kind, they’re local, they’re not being paid but they’re here to help. If you get the chance, thank a blue jacket volunteer today.

Leave lots of time
Since there are crowds of thousands meandering through the streets of Vancouver make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. Allow at least an extra hour in travel time whatever your destination may be.

Those are just a few of my tips for spectators and Olympic visitors in Vancouver right now. If you have any of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

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17 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. KelliSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 10:18am PST

    After you thank a volunteer, thank a police officer! They’re working so hard to keep us safe and make sure this celebration isn’t ruined by a few spoil-sports.

    Also, keep your valuables in a secure spot on your person. Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket and, ladies, don’t carry open totes. Zip up! You’re going to get jostled around in a crowd, so make sure nothing can fall out or be snatched away from you.

  2. LisaSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 10:20am PST

    hahaha This is funny, the cowbells!
    All this is so true though, good advice. And bring an umbrella with you, because chances are, it will rain 🙂

  3. Tyler IngramSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 10:25am PST

    Oh good tips!

    I would recommend people treat the security lines as if you were going to board a plane. You just don’t have to take off your shoes!

    I would have to say the volunteers are extremely helpful and friendly! Always smiling and going that extra mile (kilometer) to say hello!

  4. KerrySunday, February 14th, 2010 — 10:27am PST

    Don’t bring an umbrella, I’ve been poked in the face numerous times already in lines, just wear a hat!

  5. Angie NSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 10:30am PST

    Definitely second bringing an umbrella! We’ve been finding ourselves in a lot of lines outside, and were stuck in the rain yesterday for over an hour without one. It sure would have been useful!

  6. MehnazSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 10:42am PST

    Don’t forget the rain gear. Even if it’s an indoor venue, you could be in an outdoor lineup forever! This is vancouver, never leave home without it!

  7. timSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 12:03pm PST

    Aquabus and False Creek Ferries haven’t been particularly crowded in the evening — both drop off and pick up right at David Lam Park (LiveCity Yaletown) and ferry to the Olympic Village or to Granville Island. The Vancouver Police kept the water off the dock closed for about half an hour after the end of fireworks last night, though, so it’s not the best plan for a quick exit from downtown.

  8. Mom-In-LawSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 2:05pm PST

    Thanks for reminding me of my cow bell. I just took it out of my china closet and will ring it as I watch the games on TV.

  9. eternalcanadianSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 4:53pm PST

    Awesome tips. I also checked out the VANOC spectator guide ( That guide saved me a lot of problems, especially with the food and bag size issues.

    I agree with those that said to bring a brolly. Just don’t bring those huge golf brollies, a little mini one will do just fine.

    Basically be prepared for huge line-ups, long walks, packed transit, and rain. This is an awesome time for Vancouver, and those that remember Expo 86 know how rare it is to see Vancouver as host city for a major event.

  10. DebraSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 6:16pm PST

    Regarding umbrellas…I went to the Richmond Ozone last night and there was a whole pile of larger umbrellas which were not allowed in the venue. So go mini or small!

  11. MichalSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 6:58pm PST

    Do they show the sport events inside the houses/pavilions or anywhere else outside? The 2 livecity sites open up at 11am and competition starts at 9 or 10am every day.

    I want to head over to downtown tomorrow morning but don’t want to miss the skiing event at 10.

  12. JenSunday, February 14th, 2010 — 8:39pm PST

    We were downtown tonight, and there were sports playing on screens everywhere. In windows, pubs, stores, etc. And CTV broadcasting on Burrard and Robson have a big screen outside and inside, so you will definitely be able to see the events!

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  14. A Little CoffeeTuesday, February 16th, 2010 — 3:04pm PST

    Absolutely true about the sour looks from locals for those supporting other nations. And it’s not just USA – my boyfriend is a very proud Czech-Canadian and has both flags on his car, and noted one local driver with Canadian flags on her car looked at him, then looked up at his Czech flag, then back at his face and gave him a nasty, dirty look. Come on, let’s be supportive of all the nations who are here to compete fairly and cleanly for medals!

  15. JeffTuesday, February 16th, 2010 — 5:44pm PST

    Has anybody been going to the venues to see if people are selling tickets for decent prices out front? The f2f marketplace is so ridiculously expensive!

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