Tick-tock: Vancouvers Countdown to 2010

By: Adam Singleton

In Downtown Vancouver, a clock is ticking. At this moment, there are still two years to go until the clock reaches zero, but nonetheless alarms are going off all over Vancouver, nearby ski resort Whistler Blackcomb, the entire Canadian province of British Columbia, and in the homes of winter sports fans across the world.

Yes, that's right - in 2010, the biggest event in winter sports comes to Vancouver, Canada, and already there is a real buzz about the place. Ever since receiving the honour to play host to the Winter Olympic Games on July 2nd 2003, the city of Vancouver and the nearby ski resort of Whistler Blackcomb have had their preparations solidly underway so that the 2010 Winter Olympics will prove to be the best in the games' history.

The developments that have already been completed, or are well underway, include the completely new venues of the Olympic Village, built on the last remaining waterfront area in Downtown Vancouver, which will provide accommodation for the 2,500 athletes, coaches and officials (not to mention housing for 16,000 people after the event), the 6000-seat Hillcrest Curling Facility, another 7,000-seat winter sports centre and two new practice rinks at Trout and Killarney Lakes.

Meanwhile, existing venues also include three large stadiums; the BC Place, a 55,000-seat stadium that will host the opening, closing and medal ceremonies; the GM Place, Vancouver's primary Ice-Hockey venue; and the Pacific Coliseum and Agrodome, which will be home to speed-skating and figure-skating.

As well as the obvious winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, which are available at various sites around Vancouver and at the fantastic resort of Whistler; the city and its surrounding environment of ocean and mountains (this part of the country is often nicknamed the 'Sea to Sky' area) offers a wide range of other sports and activities, most of which are perfect tourist leisure pursuits. Activities such as hiking or biking over the mountains and through the lush forest, kayaking or canoeing around the Sunshine Coast, or playing a few holes at one of Vancouver's many superb (and largely undiscovered) golf courses can all be undertaken.

Or, for those who are looking to experience Vancouver's natural beauty and culture without working up too much of a sweat, there are also various bus and air tours, as well as brilliant boat tours that offer the must-do whale-watching.

Also on offer is a wide range of cultural treats, such as festivals, museums, theatres and musical performances; as well as many great shopping areas - including specialist markets - a whole range of top restaurants, and lots of top hotels, with luxury hotel suites in Vancouver as well as more modest counterparts readily available to visitors.

And so, whatever your interests; be it wildlife and nature, history and museums, or death-defying extreme sports, Vancouver is an ideal place for a vacation!

Recreation and Sports
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