Alexandra Pope, staff writer
February 12, 2011 — Revellers have returned to Vancouver and Whistler for festivals recalling the spirit of the Winter Games.
Exactly one year ago, the eyes of the world were fixed on Vancouver as the 2010 Olympic Winter Games kicked off.
The games will be remembered by many for the spring-like conditions that had organizers trucking in snow and praying for cold temperatures, but this weekend, people across southern British Columbia are also looking back at some of the great Olympic moments.
In Vancouver, several city streets were shut down Saturday to make way for revellers looking to recapture the spirit of the games. Although rain poured down for much of the day, it didn't stop people from pausing to watch a street hockey game, enjoy live music and meet some of the Olympic athletes greeting fans.
Grouse Mountain Resort is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Olympics by staying open 24 hours throughout the weekend, just as they did during the Olympics last year.
“It's a tremendous time for us,” said William Mbaho, manager of public relations for the resort. “We're happy to celebrate the Olympic spirit.”
Meanwhile, people in Whistler enjoyed Celebrate Live, an Olympic look-back of their own. The three-day festival, which runs until February 13th, is a showcase of both Whistler's Olympic legacy and its thriving arts community, said Whistler mayor Ken Melamed.
“The Olympics had three pillars -- sport, culture and environment -- and last year, the scene here in Whistler was very much influenced by the cultural component,” he said.
“Celebrate Live is a way to combine the memory of the games with the excitement of right now.̶
The festival features art exhibitions, live entertainment from some of B.C.'s best up-and-coming performers, and a retrospective of Olympic photography. It's part of a larger, month-long celebration of the arts in Whistler, the Whistler Winter Arts Festival.
Melamed said the Olympic Games gave the already-active arts community a huge profile boost.
“It gave us an opportunity to build capacity ... and complement the fantastic outdoor recreation facilities that we have,” he said. “We hope everybody gets a chance to relive some of the fantastic moments of the games and remember the great success of the Canadian team, but also (remember) that Whistler has a tremendous amount to offer.”
With files from the Canadian Press.