Saturday, February 13, 2010

Une Conversation Avec Ann P. Duffy

Jour 2

Les Jeux Olympiques ont commencé hier mais pendant les sept années précédant hier soir, VANOC a travaillé pour faire des jeux qui vont durer pour toujours. Pendant ces sept longues anées, Ann P. Duffy a été conseillère et chef de la création de la durabilité. Vendredi, j'ai parlé avec elle au BCELC. Elle m'a dit qu'elle travaille pour faire deux types de durabilité -- la durabilité de l'environnement et la durabilité sociale.

Pour faire la durabilté de l'environnement, Anne et VANOC ont utilisé beaucoup de créativité. Par exemple, certains sites sont construits avec des matériaux recyclés. Le toit de l'Anneau olympique de Richmond est fait du bois endommagé par le dendroctone du pin ponderosa, un scarabée de quelques millimètres. Avec le conseil de David Suzuki, de nouveaux sites ont été construits de "la bonne façon, la premiére fois".

Aussi, les jeux essaient d'être "neutre en carbone". Avec l'aide des commanditaires, le Relais de la flamme olympique a été neutre en carbone. Vous pouvez annuler vos emmissions de voyager aux Jeux en visitant le site

Pour faire la durabilité sociale, les jeux ont travaillé avec des autochtones. Ces jeux sont les premiers à devenir partenaire avec des autochtones. Un exemple de l'amitié? Le premier projet à Whistler a été donné à l'entreprise RBB qui est dirigée par les autochtones.

Aussi, il y a un effort pour inclure des gens qui vivent dans les quartiers défavorisés. Tous les bouquets de la victoire sont créés par une entreprise où les femmes défavorisées ont été revalorisées en y travaillant. Aussi, l'organisation "Celebrate 2010" a donné des milliers de billets aux personnes qui ne pouvaient pas en acheter eux-mêmes.

Les jeux ont commencé hier, mais avec l'aide de Anne, ils vont durer à Vancouver pour toujours.

Totem Poles With Arms Upraised

Day 2

It feels so great to finally begin Vancouver's 17 days of sport! They were kicked off last night by a truly stunning Opening Ceremony. I know, for me, the image of dancers wandering an Emily-Carr style forest left an impression that will last a lifetime.

Particularly of interest, was also the strong aboriginal influence in the ceremony, including a welcome by the Four Host First Nations. This is the first games to ever include indigenous people as a partner in the organization and execution, something that I think Vancouver should be very proud of.

The significance of this partnership was made very clear to me this Thursday, when 500 youth and VIPs gathered at the Vancouver Public Library for the final installment of a series of dialogues with The Governor General. Among these youth, were about 300 aboriginal leaders from across Canada.

Her Excellency, The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, as always, was calm and smiling and perfectly poised as she delivered speeches on the truce in both French and English. She personified dignity, even while clapping along as breakdancers flipped in front of her, and she partook in a traditional dance.

Michaelle Jean dancing during the opening of the event

Although the conference was aimed at stressing the ideals of The Olympic Truce, it was soon overtaken by the passionate words of youth who have grown up in environment completely alien to me. Yes, I care about the values of The Tuce, but the throughts expressed also held immense value.

We discussed history. Lots. Discussed residential schools and abuse and Indian Status and assimilation. And we discussed what has emerged from these issues - alcoholism, drug addictions, sexual abuse, a flawed foster care system, rascism, and an AIDS epidemic.

We also had the chance to hear about radical changes that people in that room were carrying out - about young leaders making their mark, learning their language and embracing their culture. Many who spoke were true inspirations.

Having no indigenous blood in me, I felt, naturally, a little out of place. My ancestors did not share the harships that the ancestors of many of the youth in the room did (although mine had their own ones: headtaxes and railroads to build, civil wars and revolutions). However, after speaking with some of the youth there, these differences became less important. I left the event hopefully, understanding that:

We do not share our pasts, but starting the moment we struck a conversation, we have begun to share our futures.

Members of Students Live and Sharing the Dream with
new friends Dallas and Sileema

Nodar Kumaritashvili

The passing away of Nodar Kumaritashvili marks a somber beginning to the games. My condolences go out to his family and his teammates. I ask everybody reading this to please take a moment to honour the memory of this Georgian athlete who was never able to realize his 2010 olympic dream.

Thank you,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

With Glowing Hearts


The promised Torch Relay video.

I'd like to say a huge thanks to my hosts for the day at Lynn Valley Elementary School. Not only did I feel welcomed into their wonderful community, but I also was amazed by their incredible Canadian pride and enthusiasm. Their hospitality and energy captured everything that Canada has to be proud of: our youthfulness, and passion for life. Standing on the side of the road, facing this patriotic crowd, as a white-clad torch-bearer sped by, I truly felt part of the olympic movement.

Also, thank you to Elizabeth Boey and Tyler Shaw, for providing the music for the video. You two are perfect examples of the young culture and talent Canada's youth has to offer!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Passing The Torch

2 Days to go!

Went down to North Van today to watch the Torch Relay pass through - what an amazing once in a lifetime experience! I'm working on getting a video to post, but for now, just a couple interviews from Lynn Valley Mall, where I happened to find Lisa Odland, and we teamed up to speak with a few people.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paint The Town Red

2 days until the Games!

As the torch winds down its 106 days of crossing our country, it will pass through the city of Port Coquitlam, BC. Along the way, it has been welcomed by jubilant crowds, singing and dancing, faces painted and hands warmed by bright red mittens, and over the past couple of weeks, a group of Port Coquitlam students have been working, paintbrushes in hand, to make sure that it is equally well received in our city.

As part of the Paint The Town Red program, a group of Riverside Secondary students took part in decorating shopfronts in Downtown PoCo with Canadian themed symbols. I had the chance to speak to Grade 12 student Brianne Higo about her experience. Here's what she had to say.

1. What is Paint The Town Red? How did you personally contribute to it?
Paint the Town Red is an eventful way to involve the community in welcoming the Torch Relay into the city of Port Coquitlam. This event involves painting on the outside of businesses along the street on which the torch relay takes place. I personally contributed to Paint the Town Red by volunteering to paint designs on the windows in downtown Port Coquitlam. I volunteered twice in 3 hour intervals and went all around to help make the town look more festive.

2. What motivated you to be part of Paint The Town Red?
When I heard about Paint the Town Red, I thought that it sounded like an amazing opportunity. It is a once in a lifetime thing happening in our city, and I felt volunteering could make me more involved. I thought about how if everyone joined in, how proud we would be to have the torch pass through our town.

3. What were your overall impressions of the experience? How will you remember it?
I thought that the experiance was amazing. Not to mention being recognized by the papers! When painting the windows people would come up and tell us how good it looked, and how it was such a great idea. Everyone understood the meaning, and complimented us on our job. I will remember this experiance as a great contribution to the community. And when the torch comes on February the 11th, I will be able to watch the torch be passed through the town, knowing that I helped contribute to this great event.

Photo from The Now Newspaper. Brianne is farthest to the left.

An Update Before A Busy Week


I am writing from my grandmother's computer room - a little unorthadox for reporting, I realize. The plan this morning was to be writing from Robson Media Center, but there were a couple of hitches along the way, and, to make a long story short, I ended up spending my afternoon walking through Gas Town in the sun, sipping a chai tea latte, and then heading for some sushi with my grandmother. All in all, not a bad way to enjoy everything Vancouver has to offer.

Sunday was our final Students Live meeting before the start of the Games - a little scary to think! We got our official accreditation passes, which was very exciting, and walked down to Robson Media Center for a tour of the facilities. Various news stations have set up makeshift offices along the long corridors, which have thick black cords running along the floor. We passed Global and Kiro 7 and an Australian network. It's very exciting to get the chance to work in the same environment of the professionals I watch on TV.

Also interesting to note, the Center is aiming to reduce paper as much as possible. While regularly they would feature paper memos of all the latest updates, for these games, they've opted for a large touch screen monitor to keep the journalists in touch with the outside world. Just a small example of how we're progressing.

The next few days are going to be quite busy, full of olympic-related events. I'm heading over to the office in a couple of hours to film a small segment that will be broadcast on the 11th. Tomorrow, I'll be in North Vancouver to watch the torch relay pass through. Then, on Thursday, it's Sharing The Dream's special three-hour-long webcast, broadcast live from the Vancouver Public Library and featuring our Governor General, Michaelle Jean. Be sure to watch it online at Friday kicks off The Olympic Games, and then it's off to biathalon, curling, women's hockey, snowboard x, a victory ceremony, and some other interesting interviews and cultural events.

Needless to say, there will be regular posts coming up. I'll keep you updated! :)