Shhhh…don’t tell anyone…but we played hooky on Friday and took our children to feel the Olympic vibe in Vancouver! We jumped in the Volvo and rocketed downtown for some super-size fun. At first we thought about parking at the River Rock Casino in Richmond (a suburb) and taking the Skytrain in to town, but when I caught a glimpse of the massive line-up, I pulled a teensy, weensy hissy fit and demanded…er…asked to be driven right to up to the Olympic flame.
The kids and I sat pinned in our seats wild-eyed as Mark, who is normally a mild-mannered businessy-type guy (although I’m starting to wonder about how super-duper “calm” he is at the office), turned into some kind of road warrrior (watch out darling little old ladies and bike couriers) and managed to park two blocks from the flame–he’s my Olympic hero!
We started out by feasting on fabulous oysters and beer at one of our favourite restaurants, Cardero’s, which sits right out over the water in Coal Harbour.
Then we strolled along the boardwalk to the Vancouver Convention Centre, which has the largest “living” roof in Canada, covered in grass. It’s also where the Olympic flame is staying until the end of the Games. I have to say that seeing the flame(s) was exhilirating, but it’s flanked by fencing to keep the throngs of onlookers from burning themselves. Bummer, ’cause I had to tell the kids to put away their marshmallows!
The streets were packed with people enjoying the Olympic spirit. It reminded me of walking through Times Square–awesome. However, the line ups were insane. People were lining up for an hour just to get an “unobstructed” view of the flame, from the roof of the Convention Centre (although, judging from my photo, maybe it’s time well spent). They were lining up for 5 hours just to ride the Olympic zipline over Robson Square for a few seconds. Wow! The line ups for all the pavilions were hours-long. Ugh.
So we spent our time walking the streets, soaking in the positive atmosphere, and finding the funny side of Vancouver. Jane managed to squeeze in a little bull-riding. My cattle ranching in-laws would be so proud. This fella actually looks identical to one of their Red Angus bulls named Shrek. Jane has been itching to ride Shrek ever since she was a wee little three-year-old in a blue dress and gumboots feeding him fists full of grass through the fence.
I managed to find a mailbox tucked away on a street corner. That’s how much we love getting mail in Canada, eh! Hmmm…the conspiratorial side of me thinks there’s a pretty strong resemblance between the Canada Post logo and the Bank of Montreal logo…I think somethin’ fishy is goin’ on. I knew it…the banks are controlling the postal system.
I think it’s absolutely acceptable…no…necessary to lie in the name of perfume. I told the family that popping in to Holt Renfrew to visit the Jo Malone counter WAS a cultural experience worthy of missing a day of school. My favourite scent is the Lime Basil Mandarin…heavenly. I love the packaging almost as much as the perfume (and yes, I did manage to pick up a new bottle for myself).
On the next leg of our Olympic fieldtrip, I took the family for a quick trip down 4th Avenue. Don’t you agree that it’s important for children to learn about Canadian economics and the importance of building a socio-economic infrastructure capable of supporting the emerging junior markets at home and abroad (huh?)? One of Canada’s biggest success stories is Lululemon, a yoga clothing empire, which started in Vancouver. Selflessly, I wanted to expose them to the wonderment of the world of Lululemon…Mark just wanted to watch the girl doing yoga in the window.
Mark and Sam got a little overwhelmed by my fieldtrip curriculum, so they rested and watched the Olympic on TV at the kids’ Lululemon store, Ivivva. They LOVED it..can’t you see how happy Mark is?
And what’s a day in town without discovering something extra special? I found Celsia–a delightful flower shop just around the corner from Lululemon. The flowers were gorgeous, but the fragrance was even better.
All in all, a highly educational day for the whole fam damily! I can’t tell you how much we love Vancouver. You’re just going to have to come and visit for yourself!