Were it my city, I’m not sure what I would have thought. But it isn’t my city, and it was definitely an unforgettable experience.
When first moving to the West coast, Lee and I had passing thoughts of attending the Olympics. Then the tickets seemingly sold out and we forgot about it all. Months later, through our friends, we ended up with tickets to a Canadian hockey game. And then, through yet another friend, we found a place to stay.
If you’re within driving distance, take a day or two and head to Vancouver (or Whistler). Trust me. Even the most skeptical will find it worthwhile (if only for the Neil Young Project).
Despite (and because of) the hundreds of thousands cheering fans on its streets, Vancouver exuded a positive spirit. Everyone we met was genuinely happy, from the police officers to the bus drivers (when a bus was full, its sign changed to an apology for waiting passengers). The entire city exuded pure fun — including the one day it rained on us.
As much as I love Toronto, I’m not sure it would have reacted the same way. Nor would I expect the same from my current hometown, even though it’s only a three-hour drive south of the city.
- Celebrating Chinese New Year on Pender
- Witnessing thousands of people participate in the Women’s Memorial March
- Talking to the the artists and gallery owners during the Downtown Eastide art walks (both ArtWalk and Bright Lights)
- The lamb shank at Boneta (and the staff were above and beyond, too)
- Seeing Canada win its first gold while standing in the Bay
- Being at Canada’s first men’s hockey match (never have I seen so many Canadian flags)
- Crossing the border (both times) faster than it took to get a cappuccino in Deep Cove
- Getting soaked looking for Wilco for more than an hour
- Having no idea where anything was (without Internet access)
- Paying insane roaming fees
- Having Bell Canada be Bell Canada (in this case, by deactivating, without notification or remorse, a phone number used for more than eight years)
- Witnessing the complete gentrification of Gastown and the Eastside
- Worrying what happens after this is all done