Wikivoyage:Past events/Vancouver 2010
It should be read together with the articles of the host cities.
The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The games began February 12, 2010 and the closing ceremonies were held on February 28. Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games were organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).
The 2010 Winter Olympics were the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia. Canada was home to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Vancouver is the focus of the 2010 Olympics, but the events are spread across the British Columbia's Lower Mainland.
- Vancouver - The largest city in the region and host of the hockey, curling, figure skating and short track speed skating events.
- Richmond - Suburban city immediately south of Vancouver. It will host the long track speed skating events.
- West Vancouver - Suburban city north-west of Vancouver in the North Shore mountains. It will host the snowboarding and some of the skiing events.
- Whistler - Popular ski resort and year round holiday destination 1.5 hours north of Vancouver. It will host the alpine skiing, cross country skiing, ski jumping and sliding events.
VANOC has been releasing tickets for sale to Canadian residents in phases. The next phase starts Nov 14, 2009. Tickets can be purchased online through the Vancouver 2010 website or through the ticketing call center (1-800-842-5387).
International ticket sales (for anyone living outside Canada) occur through the official ticket agent of each country's National Olympic Committee. A list of official ticket agents is available on the Vancouver 2010 International Ticket Sales site.
Each venue will also have a box office that may have tickets for sale starting on the first day of competition at that venue.
Citizens of some countries will need to obtain a visa before entering Canada. This has to be done in advance, from your home country, as visas cannot be purchased upon arrival at a Canadian airport or land crossing. Further information is available on the Canada page. The Canadian government maintains an informative website for non-Canadians wishing to travel to Canada.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Vancouver, Whistler and the surrounding area. However, as with any special event, accommodation should be booked well in advance of arriving. Rooms will be scarce and expensive during the Olympic period.
If driving across the border from the United States, there are four border crossings in the area that are described in more detail on the Lower Mainland page. If you plan on driving into British Columbia from the United States during the 2010 Olympics be prepared for extremely long border delays (2-3 hour waits).
Don't expect to get around Vancouver quickly while the Olympics are on. The sheer volume of visitors combined with road restrictions are very likely going to slow down vehicle traffic and public transit. Buses and trains will run more frequently during the Olympics to compensate, but plan ahead and give yourself lots of time to make it to your destination.
If going to an Olympic venue, it is highly recommended to use the Translink public transit system. In fact, it's almost mandatory. No Olympic venues have public parking available and some venues, like Whistler and Cypress Mountain, will have limited car access. Olympic venues are generally located close to SkyTrain stations and bus stops and some venues will have express shuttles connecting to specific SkyTrain stations.
Olympic Bus NetworkShuttle buses, called the Olympic Bus Network, will run from various pick-up spots in Vancouver, Burnaby and North Vancouver to Cypress Mountain and Whistler. Seats are round-trip and must be booked in advance with tickets for sale on-line from Nov 24, 2009. Round-trip tickets, not including taxes or admin fees, will cost:
- Cypress Mountain - $12 if purchased by Jan 3, 2010; $24 if purchased after
- Whistler - $25 if purchased by Jan 3, 2010; $50 if purchased after
Not all venues have the same pick-up spots, so please be aware of where you need to go to board your bus. Departure spots for the venues are:
- Cypress Mountain - Lonsdale Quay and Capilano University in North Vancouver, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby
- Whistler Creekside - Langara College (100 W 49th Ave) in Vancouver
- Whistler Olympic Park - BCIT (3700 Willingdon Ave) in Burnaby
- Whistler Sliding Centre - BCIT in Burnaby and Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver
All departure spots have easy access to public transit. With the exception of Lonsdale Quay, they also have parking available if you wish to drive or carpool.
The Olympic Bus Network is only available to Olympic event ticket holders.
Note that you will have to purchase separate round-trip tickets for each event, even if events are in the same location and/or same day.
Olympic Line StreetcarFrom Jan 21, 2010 to Mar 21, 2010, a streetcar will connect Granville Island with the Olympic Village station on the Canada Line. Streetcars will run every 6-12 minutes and will be free.
Whistler Travel RestrictionsCar access on the Sea to Sky highway (Hwy 99) north of Squamish will be restricted from 6AM-6PM Feb 11-28. During these hours, a checkpoint will operate and only residents and visitors with accommodation in Whistler displaying a permit will be allowed on the road. Anyone staying at a hotel in Whistler should receive their permit prior to arrival, if you have not, you should contact the hotel.
If you have a ticket to an event in Whistler, you can use the Olympic Bus Network. Other travellers who want to visit Whistler as a day trip during the Olympics can use one of the bus lines (Greyhound or Pacific Coach Lines) or a taxi/limo service. It's also possible to drive up to Whistler prior to 6AM and after 6PM, but there is very little parking available.
BC Placephone: +1 604 669-2300address: 777 Pacific BlvdOpening and Closing Ceremonies
Canada Hockey Placeaddress: 800 Griffiths WayHockey
address: top of Cypress Bowl RdSnowboard and Freestyle skiing events
Pacific Coliseumaddress: corner of E Hastings and RenfrewFigure skating and Short Track speed skating
phone: +1 778 296-1400address: River Rd & Hollybridge WaySpeed skating (long track)
UBC Thunderbird Arenaaddress: Westbrook MallHockey
Vancouver Olympic Centre/Vancouver Paralympic Centreaddress: Dinmont AveCurling
Whistler CreeksideAlpine skiing events
Whistler Olympic Park/Whistler Paralympic ParkSki Jumping, Biathlon, Cross-Country skiing and Nordic Combined
Whistler Sliding CentreBobsled, Luge and Skeleton
See and Do
Many of the municipalities in the Vancouver region have set up free public sites with food, entertainment and large screens so you can watch the events with a crowd.
GE Plazaaddress: Robson & Howe Sts, VancouverThe GE Plaza is one of the busiest spots downtown. There is an ice skating rink open to public with daily performances from the three Olympic mascots and a Zipline overhead.
address: Cambie & Georgia Sts, Vancouver
LiveCity Yaletownaddress: David Lam Park, VancouverDaily entertainment including TVs showing the games, live performances and a nightly laser waterworks show in False Creek.
address: Minoru Park at Granville Ave & Minoru Blvd, RichmondFood, ice carving contests and a skating rink set up in Minoru Park.
Olympic Cauldronaddress: Thurlow St & Canada Place, VancouverThe Olympic flame is on display although it is fenced off so you can't get too close. If you want to see the flame (or take a picture) without the fence in the way, walk down the steps to the west of the plaza and there will be a ramp (and lineup, most likely) leading to the roof of the western most part of the convention center.
address: King George Hwy & Old Yale Rd, SurreyA number of free activities such as a sliding zone (toboggans), skating rink and curling, plus a dog agility show and the RCMP Musical Ride show. Canadian musicians will perform daily.
Most of Canada's provinces and many of the countries participating in the Games have pavilions set up around the Vancouver area. What's on offer varies, ranging from tourist info on the region to local food and drinks to a chance to meet athletes from the country. Almost all are free but some apply a cover charge in the evenings. Many pavilions are popular so expect lineups of at least 15-30 minutes to get in.
British Columbia Canada Pavilionaddress: 750 Hornby St, VancouverDisplays on BC tourism, nature and local multimedia companies that do special effects for video games and movies. The second and third floors have displays from BC artists and photographers that look at BC's past and present.
Canada Pavilionaddress: Cambie & Georgia Sts, VancouverDisplays on Canada's Olympic history, Canadian trivia and virtual games.
Casa Italiaaddress: 181 Roundhouse Mews, VancouverHas some tourist info on Italy, displays on Italian sports technology and an Italian team merchandise shop. Wine tastings and food available at select times.
German Fan Festaddress: 555 W Cordova St, VancouverServes German sausages, desserts and beer. There's a large tent with bench seating for eating or watching the latest highlights on the massive TV. Live entertainment nightly.
Holland Heineken Houseaddress: Richmond O Zone site, RichmondThis pavilion has a mixture of Dutch themed stuff tourist info, team merchandise, games for various winter sports and some Dutch food. DJs are brought in nightly. There are also free bikes available for day use - but they go quickly.
phone: +1 604 687-4400address: 1696 Duranleau St (Granville Island), VancouverThis pavilion is mostly about Swiss food - a chef was brought over from Switzerland and the menu now includes items like raclette pizza, fondues and strudel. Swiss companies, such as Lindt, also have events where Swiss chocolate and cheese are provided.