For any city that is awarded the Olympic Games, it is a major opportunity to showcase many other events, attractions, and its historical, heritage, and cultural cornucopia.
This is especially true of Vancouver. And as I headed off for Canada’s Pacific Coast Capital, once again I was cognizant of why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to Vancouver.
So with no further ado … here are additional reasons to put Vancouver on your travel hotlist.
From a Tourism Vancouver media release…
ABORIGINAL CULTURE IN VANCOUVER
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games mark the first time in history that Indigenous peoples have been recognized as official partners in hosting the Olympic Games. The Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations are known collectively as the Four Host First Nations (FHFN). When visiting Vancouver, there are several ways to experience Aboriginal culture and heritage. The following are a few ideas.
The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art opened in early 2008. The gallery houses a permanent collection of work by Reid as well as a collection of art being created by a new generation of Aboriginal artists along the Northwest Coast. www.billreidgallery.ca
The BC Sports Hall of Fame recently opened their new Aboriginal Sports Gallery. The gallery celebrates the contribution Aboriginal peoples have made to the province’s sporting history and will showcase past sporting heroes. www.bcsportshalloffame.com
The towering totem poles and stunning First Nations carvings of the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA) are currently in “hibernation” this winter as the museum undergoes a $55 million renovation. This work will increase the museum size by 50 per cent by 2010, rejuvenate the exhibition space, and expand the museum shop and café. MOA is set to re-open this March. www.moa.ubc.ca
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has launched a unique program, the Vancouver 2010 Venues’ Aboriginal Art Program. The program will span all 15 Olympic and Paralympic venues, showcasing pieces including Four Host First Nations “welcome” works of art, women’s traditional art, works from established Canadian Aboriginal artists and art from Aboriginal youth programs. Aboriginal Art Program
Looking for an active outdoor experience with a First Nations focus? Takaya Tours in North Vancouver takes visitors out for a paddle through Indian Arm in 13-metre cedar canoes. Coast Salish guides sing traditional songs, tell stories and point out ancient village sites. www.takayatours.com
Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery has two locations in downtown Vancouver (Yaletown and Gastown) where visitors can peruse and purchase top-quality First Nations art works. Currently, the gallery in Yaletown features an exhibition entitled Unity: An exploration of Pacific Northwest Coast, Inuit and Maori art works. www.coastalpeoples.com
Aboriginal Tourism BC has a great website that explains British Columbia’s First Nations, suggests various Aboriginal itineraries throughout the province, and lists restaurants, attractions and accommodations that provide visitors with an authentic Aboriginal experience. www.aboriginalbc.com
Visit the Vancouver Olympics site: