Saturday, February 27, 2010

Deux Langues Officielles?

Jour 16

Comme vous le savez, le Canada est un pays bilingue. Alors, nos jeux devraient être bilingues aussi, non? Mais, le sont-ils vraiment? J'ai posé la question aux francophones qui sont à Vancouver pour Les Jeux. Voici leurs réponses.

Une femme au Curling, qui vient de Ottawa, dit que "Sur les sites, le français est partout." Son mari est d'accord. "C'est merveilleux."

Mais, dit-elle, "Les Cérémonies d'Ouverture auraient pu utiliser plus de français. Comme, par exemple, quand Donald Sutherland a prononcé les citations. Ce n'aurait pas été difficile de les traduire en français."

Son mari dit, "Oui, elle a rasion, mais, ici dans l'ouest, il n'y a pas beaucoup de francophones. Alors, l'utilisation du français ici est proportionnée à la population."

Quand j'ai parlé avec deux hommes au centre-ville, tous deux qui viennent du Québec, ont dit des choses semblables. "Le français aux jeux est bien utilisé."

Friday Night Hockey Fever

Day 16
Went downtown last night for the big semi-final game, which we watched from inside Livecity Downtown, where our media passes worked magic getting us inside. Filled to capacity, and roaring with cheers, the atmosphere was filled with patriotism and excitement. The final 20 seconds of the game were some of the most thrilling moments of my olympic experience, as, heart racing, lost in a sea of red, I watched Canada slip by in a narrow victory against Slovakia.

Inside Livecity Downtown

The Crowd cheers wildly for their country - GO CANADA GO

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Conversation At The Mint

Day 14

Speaking with an engineer who helped to design the lazer system that inscribed the designs on the medals.

"Why was it important for you to get involved in this project?"

An Afternoon To Remember

Day 14

Talk about making use of our passes - got a private tour of The Royal Canadian Mint, access to the torch viewing platform, a chance to meet John Furlong and close ups of Jamie Salé and Jon Montgomery! Here are the photo highlights.
Quatchi greets fans at Robson Square

Large audience at Robson Square

Seeds Of Truce art installment at The VPL
LED light at the end of my seed of truce
John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, watches his seed of truce spiral down

Nathalie Lambert, Chef de Mission, watches her seed of truce
Speaking with John Furlong about how he anticipates feeling after The Games conclude. "Happy." He replies, quickly, with a small chuckle. "But happy because of the legacy we have created." He continues, explaining how the Games have made their mark on Vancouver and Canada and how he hopes to share this success with Sochi.
Paralympic Gold Medal. In case you don't know, each 2010 medal is unique in design. They have all been taken from a larger design, created by first nations artist Corinne Hunt. This way, if placed together in the correct formation, they will form a raven and an orca. Design and production of the medals began two and a half years ago.

Olympic Gold Medal

This solid gold coin is worth 3.5 million dollars US

Jamie Salé and Jon Montgomery!

Gold medallist, Jon Montgomery
Gazing at The Flame from the viewing deck

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cultural Olympiad Artist Steps Up For Haiti

Day 13

2010 promises to be a huge year for Somali-born, Canadian musician K'naan.Tomorrow night, he'll be playing a sold-out show at The Orpheum as part of The Cultural Olympiad, and his hit Waving Flag has become an unofficial Olympic anthem.

What makes this artist unique, however, is not his success, but how he chooses to use it.

Drawing from a violence-filled youth and his experience as a refugee in North America, K'naan creates music with a strong social conscience. This was recognized in his performance for Free The Children's Vancouver We Day, in September, where he performed for 16,000 youth; and now, he's once again using his music to make a difference in the world.

This past week, some 50 Canadian artists, dubbed Young Artists For Haiti, gathered at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver to record a new version of K'naan's hit Waving Flag, this one, to raise money for Haiti. So far, with the exception of K'naan, their names are being kept top secret.

Fans, however, are speculating that many of the artists in town for The Cultural Olympiad will be lending their voices to the track.

K'naan's Facebook status last Thursday read, "A special moment. Just landed in vancouver. We're at Warehouse studios with 50 young Canadian artists recording the newest incarnation of "Wavin Flag". Come and become a fan of Young Artists For Haiti . Magic is in the room, so stay tuned!"

Craig Kielburger was also in town for the recording. A week ago he tweeted, "Just landed in Vancouver! Not here for the Olympics, but an event for #Haiti. But the Olympic spirit is everywhere!"

Proceeds from the song will be donated to Craig's organization Free The Children, as well as War Child Canada, and World Vision.

Interviewing Craig at Vancouver's We Day 2009

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What does it mean to be Canadian?

Day 12

Walking down the streets of Vancouver these days, it's hard to ignore the Canadian spirit. Red has become the dominant colour, maple leaves make a fashion statement. There are tattoos and painted faces and flags springing from behind ears or within pockets. The crush of fans frequently break out into patriotic rounds of Oh Canada.

All this enthusiasm for our nation makes me wonder, however, what exactly it is that we are so proud of. So I hit Downtown, camera in hand, and asked some Canadian fanatics what it means to them to be Canadian. Their answers are in the video below.

As for me, I think that being Canadian is an outlook on life.

It is the gritty determination of Dominique Maltais, the Canadian snowboarder. Maltais was in her second run during the qualifying round of Women's Snowboard X, when she wiped out at the base of a hill. The run was in rough condition that day, and Maltais wasn't the only competitor to fall. She was, however, one of few who stood back up, despite the fact that after such a horrendous fall, there was no way she could possibly qualify. Dominique Maltais then proceeded to orient her board sideways, hop up the hill, and continue her ride to the end of the run.

Being Canadian is also found in more simple demonstrations. It is the smile of the friendly college student who kindly directed me off the skytrain and onto a bus that would get me to UBC in time for Women's Hockey. It is the chorus of cheers that echo "Go Canada Go!" at Curling, but refuse to follow the lone man booing our opponents. It is the appreciation in the eyes of pedestrians walking along the waterfront, soaking in the beauty of the North Shore mountains.

I think that being Canadian is understanding that you don't have to compromise peace while fighting for your beliefs, and that culture - in every form - is a cause for celebration. It is a youthful sense of inquisitiveness. Most of all, however, I think that being Canadian means that you can be who you want to be, that you can take your Canadian identity, and shape it into whatever the world is in need of.
No wonder there are so many fans out there.

Now I want to know what you think! Comment and tell me what it means to you to be Canadian.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Students Live On CBC

Day 11

Check out Students Live on CBC!

"BC Girl" Blogs About The Games

Day 11

As a beginner when it comes to using social media for reporting, and an avid olympic fan myself, the story of Andrea Kay comes as great inspiration. This self described "BC Girl" set out on a mission exactly 311 days ago - to blog daily about the exciting changes occuring in Vancouver in the 210 days leading up to The Games.

Since then, her popular has taken the internet by storm, attracting about 26,000 hits per week, and she continues to faithfully blog each day, adding to her growing legion of fans.

After hearing her story on Global TV, I took an immediate trip to Andrea's blog, and was definitely impressed by the quality and quantity of the entries - detailing everything from coins and pins, to freebies and mascots, to breaking news stories and the spirit of olympism.

Through a chain of friendly e-mails, Andrea answered some questions for me about her experiences blogging about The Games. The optimism and cheer that earned her thousands of fans, showing clearly in each of her answers.

1. What excites you about The Olympic Games? Why blog about them?
The Olympic and Paralympic Games bring the world together to celebrate sport but it has the added benefit of allowing us to all look past our differences and celebrate culture and differences as well. I started blogging so that I would be involved in Vancouver 2010 every day. It would be very easy to miss it all, just through indifference, by having to write I couldn't miss a thing.

2. What do you love about Vancouver? Why is it the perfect place to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games?
Vancouver is laid back, beautiful, friendly and welcoming. We have the ocean, forests and mountains. We really are Sea to Sky country and there aren't many cities in the world that can say the same.

3. Why is it important to you to be a part of The Games?
Vancouver 2010 is a once in a lifetime experience. There is almost no chance that an event like this will be held in my hometown again in my lifetime. I had to be involved!

4. What advantages does blogging have over traditional media?
For me the biggest advantage is that I am allowed to have a lot more freedom of expression and opinion. I still believe in the traditional roles of journalists, particularly in print, but also in television and radio. I believe journalists are supposed to present facts, not opinions. Unfortunately it is rare to find this nowadays, and I am constantly disappointed by it.
With blogging I'm honest and upfront about my bias. I am presenting my opinions but that is clear and I think that is very important.

5. What differences (if any) do you see in the use of social media for reporting on these games as opposed to past games?
Nearly everyone has constant access to the internet now. Social media means that photos, recordings and stories are shared in real time, instead of delayed as is regularly seen in mainstream media. With nearly everyone reporting very little is missed. I imagine this will continue to accelerate with the London 2012 games.

6. What kind of legacy do you think will be left after Vancouver 2010? What kind of legacy are you hoping to achieve with your blog?
VANOC has ensured that we have infrastructure and cultural legacies that will remain after the Games, and I believe that the Canada Line is a truly significant part of that.
For myself, I'm not sure I'm trying to achieve a 'legacy' with my blog. It really has a limited shelf-life and will likely fade to nothing within a month or so of the closing of the Paralympic Games. What I gain however is a body of work behind me that I hope to use as a launching pad into similar writing in the future. Possibly with future Olympics or if not, then some new writing adventure of my own.

7. Lastly, I was wondering if you had any tips on using social media in general - how do you get people to notice, read, and follow your blog? In your experience, what makes a blog effective or ineffective?
Be upfront about what you're writing. You will gain a following of like-minded people, but only if you are clear about what you're writing about. And be patient. It takes time to build a name for yourself, it does not happen overnight, there is no magic formula. Take advantage of all the different tools available, such as Twitter and Facebook to reach people you otherwise wouldn't necessarily reach. But really, time is the biggest thing. My first few weeks I was getting fewer than 100 hits per week, now I'm up around 26,000. It takes time and dedication.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Day 10

A taste of the nightlife downtown during the Games.

Tonight is written and performed by Elizabeth Boey and Tyler Shaw.