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The Vancouver Winter Games Venues

Whenever a city bids for or wins a bid for an Olympic Games, there is a lot of talk about infrastructure.

Historically, some cities have splashed out with virtually all new venues. Others make do with what they have and build only what is necessary. For the games happening in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2010, the later, more pragmatic philosophy prevailed. The result is mostly refurbished existing venues, with a couple of new items built just for the event.

Here is a brief look at some of those locations, and links that will lead you to more information about each.

Athletes' Village

The Athletes' Village is what most of the athletes and officials will call home during their stay in western Canada. The developers took an expanse of surface parking lots that covered an abandoned industrial site and turned them into a low- and mid-rise residential district, complete with shops, restaurants, and even a trolley line. The waterfront promenade in particulate is spectacular. However, not everyone is happy with the project since it ran about a billion dollars over budget.

More information:

The Athletes Village
BC Place

BC Place

The biggest, baddest venue of the games is a huge presence in the Vancouver cityscape, and will be the center of attention for the two biggest events: The opening, and closing ceremonies. It's the first time they've been held indoors for the winter games. In between, medal ceremonies will take place here each evening. This is not a new facility, it's been around for decades.

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Canada Hockey Place

This arena is another recycled building for the games. But this time while the building is old, the name is new. When this hockey arena was built, General Motors paid nearly $20 million for the naming rights. Apparently those rights don't include a certain number of weeks in February, 2010 when the world's eyes are trained on Vancouver. So for the duration of the games General Motors Place will be known as Canada Hockey Place.

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The Canada Line

Not visible from the surface when it's downtown, the Canada Line is a subway linking several important locations during the games, and will continue to do so after they're over. It's a wonderful piece of automated transit, but the trains and stations seem a little small. Also, in our time in Vancouver we couldn't find a map showing the Canada Line stations in any store. Even Google Maps didn't have it. We ended up navigating with the help of a cartoon drawing of the line on a children's paper place mat from a fast food restaurant.

Canada Place

This was already a major symbol of the city, and now it's the location of the main media center for the games. Doubtless, the Teflon-coated fiberglass sails will be cemented even further into the city's identity as they are shown in newspapers, web sites, and TV broadcasts around the world.

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Canoe Bridge

Canoe Bridge

This is not a venue unto itself, but a great structure at the center of the athletes' village. Expect to see it as the background for many a bump shot or interview.

More information:

Habitat Island

Another non-venue, but still a very interesting piece of the games' legacy. This island was built as an apology to nature to make up for coastline altered for construction of the athletes' village. It was the first thing completed for the 2010 games, and it didn't take long for fish and birds and insects to make their homes here.

More information:

Habitat Compensation Island
Pacific Coliseum

Pacific Coliseum

Another old arena being given new life by the games, Pacific Coliseum is a little bit out of downtown in the neighborhoods east of Chinatown. It's yet another concrete bowl from yesteryear refitted for this event; renovations that will help prolong its useful life.

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UBC Thunderbird Arena

Most of the facilities fall into the category of either old or new. This one is both. It's a classic hockey arena from the 1960's that serves as the nucleus of a massive new ice palace that surrounds it.

More information:

UBC Thunderbird Arena

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