When Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Olympics all those years ago I have to say, as an educator, musician and resident of Vancouver I had my doubts. How would this impact my city, my province, my profession, my family?
Now here we are, the final day of the Olympics, and I have to admit I have wholeheartedly enjoyed the past 17 days. The sports, the Cultural Olympiad and live music venues around the Lower Mainland, the Canada Line and finally the amazing energy buzzing through our city in a way I have never experienced before, and will probably never experience again. I think many of us who had our doubts about the Olympics would be hard pressed not to admit this has been a special time for our city, province and our country.
As an entertainer I am very glad I was able to take part in a number of Olympic-related events. It definitely added to my Olympic experience. Performing for some torch relay events prior to the Olympics gave me a sense of what was to come. Playing in Whistler as part of “Whistler Live!” during the first two days of the games was also amazing, despite the wet weather. Then last weekend performing at the heart of it all in Robson Square was like icing on the cake. We had a beautiful day (I was able to perform in a T-shirt in February!), a great crowd and tons of fun!
Now as things are winding down I am starting to wonder again what the fallout of the Olympics will be. A few days ago, I heard Mayor Gregor Robertson on the radio expressing his desire to see more emphasis put on the arts through more festivals and special events that will continue to bring our city to life. He was inspired, as I have been, by what he saw happening to our city. I really hope that he means what he says, but I fear there simply will not be money to make his hopes a reality. I know, from speaking with a number of festival coordinators prior to the Olympics, there was a lot of fear about where they were going to get their funding moving forward after the Olympics. So many resources were siphoned away from so many festivals, arts groups, parent groups, libraries, etc. in the lead up to the games. I’m sure this list will grow as we discover the true cost of the games in the coming months.
One thing has been made clear during the past two weeks: us Vancouverites, British Columbians and Canadians have a real appetite for sports, the arts and a sense of community. All of our lives are greatly enriched by all three. Let’s hope we are still able to support and nurture these essential components of our society after the dust has cleared.