By Max Singh
The XXI (2010) Olympic Winter Games held in Vancouver and Whistler is acknowledged as the province’s biggest party ever according to many people, and a once in a lifetime event to witness. It was made famous by the Ilanaaq Inukshuk logo. It was indeed a mind-blowing spectacle, an international winter multi-sport event that was held from 12 to 28 February 2010 in Vancouver, and Whistler, British Columbia—with some events held in Richmond and West Vancouver.
Approximately 2,600 athletes (1044 women, 1522 men) from 82 nations participated in 86 events in fifteen disciplines in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), headed by John Furlong. For the first time, Canada won gold in an official sport at an Olympic Games. And with 14 medals, Canada broke the record for the most gold medals won at a single Winter Olympics. It was the third Olympics hosted by Canada and the first by the province of British Columbia. Canada hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. An estimated 8 million Canadians tuned in to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers’ study estimated a total contribution to the BC economy of $2.3 billion of Gross Domestic Product, and as well as creating 45,000 jobs and contributing an additional $463 million to the tourism industry.
A study estimated a total contribution of the Vancouver Olympics to the BC economy of $2.3 billion of Gross Domestic Product, and as well creating 45,000 jobs and contributing an additional $463 million to the tourism industry.
Will Vancouver bid for the 2030 Summer Olympics?
The former CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games organizing committee says now is the time for Vancouver to seriously consider a bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics. In a speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in February 2020. John Furlong said, “The Vancouver 2010 Games were widely considered a success. And a 2030 bid would have the support of the Canadian Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the general public.”
“I think what’s really special about Vancouver is that we have a mighty legacy from the Games In 2010. We had a vision. We wanted to change the country. We wanted to really lift Canadians up and give them a moment in time.”
Furlong also posted an open letter calling the 2030 games a “unifying challenge for the next generation.” It could help move Metro Vancouver toward becoming more “liveable,” improving our transportation network and our reputation as a “green” city. Furlong also cited a Research Company poll, commissioned by CTV News, in which 60 percent of British Columbians surveyed said they would definitely or probably support bidding again for the Winter Games.
Approximately 2,600 (1044 women, 1522 men) athletes from 82 nations participated in 86 events in the fifteen disciplines of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
What the Stakeholders say
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart called the notion of any future games a “fun idea,” but has expressed reservations, also citing the housing and opioid crises. He also indicated that the city should hold a referendum before any bid could move forward.
Meanwhile, a public referendum in Calgary in 2018 shot down the city’s bid for the 2026 Winter Games, with 56 percent of those who voted, opposed. Stewart added he would defer toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan but would join them if they decided to pursue the Games.
Horgan has told the media that his government would take a look at a “credible bid.” It would need to come from the city and community, and wouldn’t be something the province would initiate. In 2018 the B.C New Democrat Government passed on a bid to Co-host the 2026 World Cup Soccer Championship.
In Furlong’s view, the Olympics create an urgency to invest in host cities. And he thinks if Vancouver became a host city for a second time, it would have a deadline to build housing complexes that could be used after the Games.
“Vancouver’s a different city than when we made the bid for the 2010 Games,” he said. “We have a housing crisis that we’re dealing with here. We are also dealing with a serious opioid crisis.”
Solutions to the challenges, Vancouver is now grappling whether to bid, Stewart said. The provincial and federal governments must also step up financially to support a plan to build housing that the city needs.
Lisa Beare, the B.C. minister responsible for sport, said in a statement that she looks forward to seeing a detailed proposal for any prospective Vancouver 2030 bid. “The 2010 Winter Olympics were a great display of the power of sport and community. Many British Columbians have fond memories of the Games.”
Furlong said, one of the reasons the Calgary bid failed was because of a “debate over the pros and cons” that never really settled on a vision. “Everyone needs to come to the table and say: This is something we want to do.”
Sources: International Olympic Committee, Canadian Olympic Committee. Furlong interview credit of VANOC. CBC, Global TV and CTV.BC Government.