Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vancouver Olympics. No pain, no gain?

Public events during the imminent Vancouver Olympic Games will include free entertainment, large screen live coverage, family food and drink at two downtown locations. One is a disused parking lot owned by the city. Unfortunately, the other is one of the most important urban green spaces in Vancouver. David Lam Park, in the Yaletown-False Creek neighbourhood, has been closed for conversion into a so-called LiveCity Olympic venue.

Security cameras are up. Construction fences have walled off adjacent children's play grounds, public tennis courts, gardens, benches etc. Workers are laying paving bricks over acres of the former lawns to create this Olympic plaza. According to this signboard, it will be almost eight months in total before the park is returned to the citizens of Vancouver.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vancouver Olympics. Under the Big Top.

Critics refer to the Olympics as the five ring circus. Certainly, here in Vancouver, Olympic preparations involve hoisting a lot of white canvas tents. Pictured above is BC Place Stadium, which has just been closed to the public(and professional football) to fit it up for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. As I walked by the tent structure in the foreground, I could hear rehearsals underway.

That's the Olympic Village in the distance. It was turned over to VANOC just last month to prep it for the arrival of the athletes.

All of this area is rapidly being fenced off and fitted up with security cameras. The City promises to remove all the video cameras from public areas after the Games. We shall see. Until then, they will see....

It surprises Olympic newbies to learn that a lot of money is being spent on temporary international, national, provincial, native people's and corporate pavilions. Sort of a world's fair for the rich and something to do if you couldn't get actual Olympic tickets.

Here, a storefront in the upscale Heritage District of downtown, is being converted to displays by Canada's Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.

Across False Creek, Vancouver's Science World & Imax Theatre(the big silver ball) has been leased in its entirety to the Russian government to show off the next winter games in Sochi in 2014.
But the biggest pavilion of them all is Molson Canadian Hockey House. It will not fit in one camera shot. Just try to picture an 81,000 square foot rectangular, white canvas tent, surrounded by acres of asphalt. At $15,000,000, it is the largest, temporary, freestanding pavilion ever built in Canada. Like at the Super Bowl or a Formula One event, entry to the Big Tent will not come cheaply. Tickets ranging from $99 for a half-day in the "fan zone" to $8700 for 17 days access to an executive lounge area with catering by the renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck, first rate music and comedy performances, a chance to meet the Who's Who of NHL and world hockey and all the beer you can drink. Molsons is planning for the consumption of over 350,000 cans of beer.
***They better have portapotties!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vancouver - something happening...

The 2010 Winter Olympics is not without local controversy. On the other hand, there is no denying locals' growing interest and excitement. The world has been invited and there is now no doubt that we need to rise to the occasion - this very big occasion!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nelson House - Clean, Green B & B

It's great to tell you that this week we have installed an amazing Energy Star qualified, high efficiency gas furnace AND an air filtration system that removes 99.98% of all allergens from the House' air - even the flu virus!

Our bed and breakfast's long journey towards energy conservation and a more healthy living environment is finished - at least for 2009. Blog posts from March, April and September reported on the history of this century-old home's construction and our earlier insulation and eco-renovation efforts.

The culmination of this year-long project is a new central heating system that holds the highest energy efficiency rating of 96.7 per cent. I am told that the old gas furnace was lucky if it converted 60% of the fuel burned into usable heat for the house. Where did the rest go? Into the atmosphere. Oh, global warming. Oh, major fuel bills. No more! We have now lowered our thermostat settings as much as 5 degrees F. and the interior of the House - all of it- is warm, dry and toasty like never before! The variable-speed DC fan motor even uses less electricity while it accomplishes this minor miracle.

Better yet, the air flowing through the B & B, whether heated in winter or simply circulated for mild summer cooling, is now cleaned to 8 times the hospital standard achieved by conventional HEPA filters and 100 times the purity of air blown through the old one-inch thick furnace filters. All of the common triggers for asthma and allergies have been removed. Dust, pollen, spores, even bacteria and viruses of .1 microns or more are now gone.

This is a system that every home should have for the sake of family health. It is a system that my family has fallen in love with after only a few damp, frosty Vancouver nights. I know our bed and breakfast guests will love it too!

If you are mulling over home energy or interior air quality improvements, please feel free to contact me for the manufacturer and contractor's details.

Friday, December 4, 2009

President Obama may visit the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

My photo of the Olympic Rings floating in Vancouver Harbour.

U.S. President Barack Obama may attend the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
As reported by The National Post, David Jacobson, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, told the Vancouver Board of Trade yesterday that he may “bring a friend” to Vancouver in February. Jacobson, a Chicago lawyer, is a personal friend of the President and was his presidential campaign deputy finance chairman.
The Ambassador just spent five days touring Vancouver and Whistler. “I don’t say this very often, but I’m looking forward to snow.” said Jacobson. “I’m looking forward to coming back here to Vancouver, maybe in February and maybe I’ll bring a friend.” If the President does make an appearance in Vancouver, he’ll likely also visit the Richmond Speed Skating Oval. That venue, like several others in Whistler and Vancouver, has been visited recently by U.S. Secret Service officials, who are charged with protecting the First Family.