The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games commence with global applause on February 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Are you readying your loonies, your toonies, your Sorels and toques too ...in happy anticipation of rink side Nanaimo bars washed down with mugs of hot cocoa? Maybe an Apolo sighting? Perhaps your game plan includes taking in the action from home. Your favorite spot on the couch, relaxing a la lulu lemon and enjoying the lengthy commercial breaks?
Whatever your venue, Vancouver's abundance of green spoils is sure to become readily apparent and should be merited. The City's practice of employing sustainability, enhancing public spaces, using green technology and land preservation is both impressing and inspiring.
Pair this idyllic stage with an overwhelming sense of global citizenry, community, patriotism, pride and ....shoot, how many more days until the Games begin?
To heighten our anticipation of the Games and enrich our Olympic experience here is a snap shot of my Gold Medal picks of Vancouver's green beauties.
Stanley Park: Pick up a box of Smarties, a Flake bar and C Plus and take a stroll through this treasure. This evergreen attraction is vital to Vancouver's city life. Comparable to Manhattan's Central Park, and only 16 years older, this outdoor space caters to the city with offerings of recreation, arts and wildlife. Find out more at: www.vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley/
Capilano Suspension Bridge: My knees were knocking on this excursion and surprisingly my deep love for terra firma did not keep me in the car. Imagine the feeling halfway through when the 12 year old child ahead of you starts jumping to create waves! Visit the link below to take in this awesome experience. For more information visit www.capbridge.com/index.html
Queen Elizabeth Park and Arboretum: What a beaut! This park began as a basalt quarry and was eventually turned into a arboretum complete with over 3000 trees and boasts the highest point in Vancouver. Dining facilities and recreation facilities contribute to the scene as well as a stunning Henry Moore sculpture garden. Learn more at: www.vancouver.ca/parks/parks/queenelizabeth
Vancouver's Convention Centre: This harbor front structure supports Canada's largest green roof. It spans six acres and is home to more than 400,000 indigenous plantings. Genius. While promoting sustainability, it collects rainwater and lowers the temperature of the structure and it's surroundings. A well curated palette of plantings has turned this urban carpet into a mecca for birds and insects. While it is not accessible to the public, the roof does have a slight pitch offering a great view from the plaza. To learn more visit: www.vancouverconventioncentre.com/.
Worth honorable mention is Vancouver's Public Library which also has a roof garden flanked above the Moshe Safdie-designed structure. To learn more visit: www.architecture.uwaterloo.ca/faculty_projects/terri/sustain_casestudies/vpl_greenroof.html
Museum of Anthropology: Designed by famed Canadian architect, Arthur Erickson the museum sits on the University of British Columbia campus. Residing over the Strait of Georgia, it stands as an iconic arrangement of glass and steel. The best feature are the nearby totem poles which contribute to the drama of the space and nod to the Native American heritage of Vancouver. Don't miss taking in the simple landscape palette that was conceived by notable landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander which includes gravel beds, grasses and native plantings. To learn more visit: http://www.moa.ubc.ca/
If you digested that with lightening speed and the heights of the Capilano Suspension Bridge didn't leave you Squamish....learn more about Vancouver and British Columbia at: http://www.hellobc.com/ or http://www.vancouver2010.com/
One last suggestion. Why not bring a little bit of the Olympic experience home. Treat yourself to an amuse bouche. Instead of your "lugeable" cup of Joe, go to http://www.canadascoffee.com/ for a true Canadian tradition and order up some of Tim Horton's finest coffee. Play Wii's Vancouver Olympic Games and feel the thrill of being in the Pacific Coliseum. Download the free ipod app on itunes called "See Vancouver". Oh, and for an authentic touch, try this recipe for a great Nanaimo bar: www.joyofbaking.com/NanaimoBars.html
Get next week's dirt on Apples.