Two decades after the 2010 winter Olympics, Vancouver has the chance to show the world we can do it right
Katherine Griffiths // Contributor
Megan Barry // Illustrator
Vancouverites love something to brag about. We have Lululemon, Botox, Greenpeace, and the California roll to throw down whenever bragging rights are required. The 2010 Winter Olympics gave Vancouver something to be proud of; a veneer to cover over our less attractive athletic headlines such as the 2011 hockey riots. We, as a city, waffle with our love/hate relationship with Vancouver in a careful balance of loving things such as the seawall, every television show filmed here, and our cultural diversity whilst simultaneously complaining about what we hate such as dating, flaky people, and the cost of living. The Olympics gave the city both sides of the same coin. The construction of barely finished housing, the lack of snow, and the infamous Olympic flame—that well, didn’t quite light—allowed Vancouverites to complain to their hearts’ content. However, as a city, we did receive many benefits from hosting two weeks of the best of the best. We now have the Canada Line SkyTrain, the redesigned infrastructure built for the events, and an incredible sense of pride that we, as a city, rocked something memorable more recently than the 1986 Vancouver Expo. Not so bad, Vancouver.
Vancouver needs something to look forward to again. We can have our moments when we band together and stand as a city that we are proud to call our own. These moments can often be harder to find in this city than one would think. But when we are singing our national anthem, in our city, wearing our red and white toques, and cheering for our Canadian athletes, we are one. We buy into our sense of pride in the best way possible. And we all know that Vancouver loves buying into something that other people want, especially if we can flash how many dollar bills it cost us. While we would need to find another corner of the city to build new housing and hope to whatever gods might be listening that there will be snow, we already have half of what we need in place. Plus, Vancouver loves to show off getting something right. So maybe this time we can fix the things about 2010 that didn’t work very well and show off in a bigger and better way for 2030. Vancouver could find a sustainable solution that will benefit the homeless population, rather than just glossing over their existence. There could be infrastructure planning that improves the viability of the transit system, the housing construction, and the tourism sector to provide long term benefits of hosting the Olympics again.
Giving Vancouver an opportunity to host the Olympics again might sound like a daunting task, but I think that it will provide the city with even more opportunities. More jobs and housing will be created, which never go out of style here. The Olympics helped to create an identity that Vancouverites can be proud of, and because of this, I think it would be a damn good idea to bring that back in 2030. And my favourite thing that happens? When we host the Olympics here in Vancouver, we all don’t bail, we actually show up.