The cuddly creatures that will be emblematic of the 2010 Winter Olympics is set to be revealed November 27th. Note that more than one is mentioned.
The fact that they're being revealed in Surrey doesn't bode well, however.
Original post from February 2007:
Vancouver's Olympic Mascot
According to this article from last weekend's Sun, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics mascot will be unveiled sometime later this year - possibly by the summer, but most likely in the fall.
Apparently, it's 'always supposed to be [a] cuddly, kid-friendly' emblem, which event organizers will subsequently begin to market like hell.
Let's hope that we do better than past Olympics' mascots like the Montreal Games' Amik the Beaver (above), or the memorable Sydney Games' Syd the Platypus, Millie the Echidna, and Olly the Kookaburra.
As for the 2008 Beijing Games, you can have a look at their five mascots here - Hello Kitty meets the Troll Dolls.
With this dismal history in mind, we have rather low expectations for Vancouver's mascot, despite the fact that our Inukshuk logo (and related merchandising) turned out surprisingly well.
So, among the obvious choices of cuddly creatures that are emblematic of the British Columbia region, which one do you think will wind up being Vancouver's mascot?
According to this recent article in the Sun, there's a substantial backlog of building projects in Vancouver, as a result of the recent strike.
And for more than a few developers, there's some concern that they might not be able to begin construction for some time, if at all:
Major building projects in Vancouver worth hundreds of millions of dollars are in limbo as the city's planning department, already understaffed and having a hard time keeping up with the city's Olympic preparations and condo boom, struggles back on its feet after a three-month strike.
As a result, almost three dozen towers and several other major projects that required rezoning and were in line before the strike -- including the massive East Fraser Lands development, a massive new hospital complex at St. Vincent's, and the planned Canadian Tire on Southwest Marine -- face the likelihood that they will not make the deadline.
Interestingly, the article goes on to mention how Concord Pacific's plans to build 10 new buildings may also be put on hold.
Presumably, this includes 6 at its Northeast False Creek development, and another 4 that are rumoured to be going in on the lot just to the west of BC Place stadium.
There's also mention of Wall Financial's four-tower Playhouse Theatre project, located across from the Olympic Village. That too, may face delays.
For once, Vancouver's not ranked at the top of the list. In fact, we're number 18 of 20, according to this Nobody's unscientific ranking.
It must be all of our stubby little buildings - although that's set to change within the next few years.
Sadly, even Toronto beats us. Check out the video, to see who's ranked number one.
So a second Urban Fare store has now opened in Vancouver - this time at the other end of the city's axis of affluence, Coal Harbour.
As Price Tags contemplated a couple weeks ago, the new Urban Fare may very well do for the dead zone that is Coal Harbour, what the first store did to Yaletown. That is, lure anti-social Vancouverites out of their apartments and into a high-priced retail setting where they can size each other up.
Indeed, Bute street is destined to become a much livlier corner of the city, once several of the area's new buildings are filled up with fresh residents. Projects under construction include the Flatiron, Ritz, and Sapphire, among others. And of course, there's the local 'yacht trade'.
It turns out that there's more to the Urban Fare story: according to this article from the Sun, another two outlets are scheduled to open by 2011 - one at the Shangri-La tower, and another in the heart of the South East False Creek neighbourhood.
For more info on the Coal Harbour location and store hours, click here.
Since we're not above getting our hands on a little free swag, go on and check out Duane Storey's new website, which features some fantastic pictures of Vancouver, like the one below.
Frankly, it's a pleasure to recommend this site.
We're hoping to see additional construction shots, especially as Vancouver's new crop of tall buildings begins to transform our skyline.
While some outsiders have recently offered planning advice to Vancouver, it turns out that tales of our success have managed to travel abroad as well.
For instance, PriceTags recently featured a story about how regional leaders from Atlanta came to Vancouver, to see how our city has handled congestion and growth. Among one accompanying reporter's observations:
Vancouver's strategy of density and transit is a stark contrast to the Atlanta region's road-oriented sprawl.
Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin said walking around downtown Vancouver at all times of day told the story for her. On every street, she says the crowds were a mix of shoppers, tourists, students and workers - all walking.
In an article about Vancouver's 'problem' of attracting too many residents, Governing magazine notes that 'cities in the US struggle to lure as many as 5% of their residents into downtown living...Vancouver is at nearly 20% and gaining. Most US cities 'would love to be in the position Vancouver is now, and worry about the consequences later'.
And lastly, Vancouver's planning success has also made headlines overseas - The Irish Times of Dublin has mentioned us, and it's no small coincidence that among the many requests for his services, one of Larry Beasley's biggest post-Vancouver consulting gigs is in the rapidly-developing city of Abu Dhabi.
But before we get too smug about our accomplishments, it's worth noting that we can still learn from other cities which often do a better job at running other aspects of their urban development (like transit, for example).
As Henry Lee, the new Chairman of the Vancouver Board of Trade put it, we need to consider how projects have been done better in other parts of the world, and see how we can bring them to BC.
Two American think-tankers were recently in Vancouver, telling us how we can do a better job of planning our city.
Among their most precious brain farts:
UCLA's Matthew Kahn suggested that encouraging the resortification of Vancouver should not be seen as a bad thing - we could become more like San Francisco, 'an attractive downtown that is largely a home to the upper middle class'.
More absurdly, the Cato Institute's Randall O'Toole recommended that we ought to try to be more like Houston (one of the worst US cities, by several measures), by imitating its free-market approach to development.
As a means of combating Vancouver's soaring housing prices, he suggests that local government should get out of the way, by opening up the agricultural land reserve to more urban sprawl, or permitting development up the sides of the local mountains, and into our watersheds.
Fortunately for us, it would appear that the market fundamentalists have arrived too late on the scene to undo the damage done by our 'communist' ways - most of our planners (and to their credit, business leaders) seem to be well indoctrinated in the ways of smart growth.
As might be expected, it's difficult to argue with success - in our next post, we'll take a look at how Vancouver is influencing other cities in North America.
For those who went to Expo 86, the production behind the following video will remind you of the typical serving of civic-boosterism that people lined up for hours to see at Canada Place, or the BC Pavillion.
In fact, it even sounds as though they brought back the same guy to do the voiceover for this video.
Nonetheless, the following is a moderately interesting look at the future Canada Line route, as one might experience it riding in from YVR to downtown Vancouver (via Richmond).
As a follow-up to Heritage Vancouver's list of the ten most-endangered buildings in the city, we thought we'd try and come up with a list of those buildings that we'd like to see torn down as quickly as possible - preferably before they're granted heritage status.
From where we sit, there are plenty of ugly buildings in Vancouver that would be ripe for replacement with a 600 to 800 foot skyscraper.
At the top of our list would be that God-awful Sears building at Pacific Centre. Apparently its 'toilet white' colour was considered an 'architectural disaster' when it first went up in 1972.
Another would be the ScotiaBank Tower, even though we know that it does have some friends and supporters.
Third on our hit-list would be the Sapphire, although that eyesore hasn't even been finished yet.
Any other candidates out there? Perhaps you secretly loathe the Aquatic Centre? We know that many of you hate that triangular green building in Kits, just off the Burrard Street Bridge.
Meanwhile, BC Place seems to have earned a few enemies of late as well.