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Tourism BC - December 2009



How to Party Like it's 2010: During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, celebration sites in Whistler, Vancouver and Richmond will offer everything from top international performing artists to live big screen feeds from the competition venues. But that's not all: here's a guide to some other party zones promising Olympic-inspired amusement.

Just steps from LiveCity Downtown, in a Coast Salish-style longhouse topped by a 20-metre (65-foot) high, air-supported multi-media sphere, the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion will be the place to experience First Nations art, music, entertainment and cuisine from across Canada. Free performances will range from Inuit throat singing, Métis jigging and hoop dancing to such cutting edge works as Marie Clements's multi-media project The Road Forward shown in a room-sized snow globe.

Concerts and cultural events headline the Surrey 2010 Celebration Site in Holland Park, with outdoor skating and curling rinks, a toboggan zone, and live Games broadcasts rounding out the all-ages entertainment. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride promises to be a special draw; featured daily, this ceremony showcases scarlet-uniformed Mounties on horseback.

Live music, dance performances and big screen broadcasts of the sporting events are also on the menu at Spirit Square, West Vancouver's official celebration site. Daytime and evening entertainment and programming will feature local and national artists: celebrations will showcase spectacular cultural performers from Canada's Arctic – including a traditional Inuit blanket toss -- and a North Shore Youth Film Festival Gala. In addition to the entertainment, the Canadian Space Agency's Sports in Space exhibit makes its debut at the official 2010 Celebration Site.

The biggest party zone, though, is Granville Island. Home to several theatres, a lively public market and dozens of galleries, craft shops and restaurants, this popular urban park on False Creek's south shore will host several cultural Olympiad venues, hospitality pavilions and its own Winterruption festival during the Games. Bridges Restaurant will temporarily morph into the Swiss National House, one of the few national houses open to the public, while top Maritime acts and nightly kitchen parties will draw fans to Atlantic Canada House. Also on the island: Place de la Francophonie 2010, a celebration of French Canadian music, food and culture. Singer Florence K, offbeat band the Porn Flakes, and top francophone comics performing in Juste pour rire 2010 are part of a long list of entertainment planned. A free streetcar service will link Granville Island to the Canada Line Olympic Village Station (Cambie Street and West 2nd Avenue).

And the price of admission for any of these sites? Most of it is free.

Aboriginal Pavilion:
Surrey 2010:
West Vancouver:
Granville Island:

For more destination story ideas related to the 2010 Winter Games, visit or to read more story ideas from the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region, visit

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The Thompson Okanagan offers one Heli of a Snowshoe Adventure: In British Columbia, one favoured winter outing involves walking softly and wearing a big shoe. Well, in this case, two. For powder-packed exploration of forested landscapes this winter, slip on the snowshoes and get the blood pumping with Robson Heli-Magic. Here's how the day begins: from Robson's Valemount base, in the Columbia Mountain range, adventurers will hit the heights enroute to their outdoor playground; views promise to be out of this world as participants are whisked by helicopter to Emperor Falls and Robson Glacier before landing on the shore of Berg Lake. Once back on the ground, groups of up six will take their lead from their certified guide, crunching through a silent, postcard-pretty backdrop. How will your afternoon end in this wintry landscape? On a high, of course: a hearty lunch, complete with steaming hot chocolate, at the historic Berg Lake Chalet will warm the fingers and toes. In all, your four-hour snowshoe excursion includes a pickup at Robson base, a ride aboard a whirlybird, guided hike and lunch. Specializing in heli adventures that include skiing, snowboarding, and touring and hiking in the summer months, Robson Heli-Magic has been leading the charge through some of BC's best backcountry for over 18 years. Making them the ideal hosts for an afternoon in the snow.

To read more story ideas from the Thompson Okanagan region, visit

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