Canadian pride in unlikely places
March 3, 2010 by Amanda Punshon
Vancouver 2.0. That’s what Disneyland looked like this February. A little less grey and gloomy perhaps, but full of Canadians decked out in their very best Vancouver 2010 apparel.
Most of these people, like me, were fleeing the Olympics. But Canadian pride was still thick on the ground.
Rather than the usual which-ride-comes-next conversations, people were discussing medal counts and athletes’ chances. The ticker on the ESPN Zone building in Downtown Disney was constantly cycling through the latest Olympic headlines, and every television in every bar near Disneyland was tuned to Olympic coverage.
Anaheim was so Olympic-happy that a friendly (read: drunk) Californian woman in the hotel room next door to ours actually knew that I was from the west coast when I said I was from Vancouver. Quite an accomplishment, considering she thought Calgary was just a couple miles up the road from Toronto.
And really, that’s what the Olympics have done for Vancouver: made us a concrete location in the mind of Americans. Canada is no longer seen as igloo-covered, either — it is now a real, maritime-moderate metropolis, complete with skyscrapers and public transit.
Critics will tell you that this isn’t much of a return on Canadian taxpayers’ multi-billion-dollar investment in these Games. But in the long run, Vancouver will benefit, and not just from the tourist dollars of foreign nationals, either.
Friends of mine from Calgary who’d never visited our city were so favourably impressed by their Olympic visit that they plan to return as soon as possible.
We’re better equipped than ever to play host to large congregations of people. We’ve got the infrastructure and experience, and thanks to the Olympics, now we’ve got the exposure, too.
So bring it on, world. Vancouver is ready and waiting.