Hot Destinations in Beautiful BC Beyond the Home of the Olympic Host City

Kamloops at sunrise. Image courtesy of Kamloops2010Masters.

Pemberton, part time home to freestyle skier Ashleigh McIvor, who won the debut sport of Ladies’ Ski Cross at Cypress Mountain, is well-worth a two hour journey from Vancouver. The 26-year-old Vancouver-born athlete trains with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and divides her time between the 2010 Games Host Mountain Resort and the nearby village of Pemberton. 

Pemberton, home to just 2,600 people (and, as of today, at least one Olympic champion), is an agri-tourism destination much loved by Whistler's top chefs. The surrounding peaks and forests promise crowd-free outdoor adventure, while the nearby community of Mount Currie is the administrative seat of the Lil'wat Nation, one of the Four Host First Nations of the 2010 Winter Games. Whistler, too, claims McIvor as one of their own, though raising champions is nothing new here. With just 9,595 residents, Whistler has eight locals competing at the 2010 Winter Games.

Eager to hear McIvor talk about ski cross, or to get the inside scoop on Tourism British Columbia’s Great Mountain Giveaway

Vancouver goes for green.
What do Greenpeace, the 100 Mile Diet, Ocean Wise, environmentalist David Suzuki and the concept of an "ecological footprint" have in common? They are all from Vancouver. In this famously green city, laced with bike lanes and overlooked by Grouse Mountain's new Eye of the Wind clean energy producing wind turbine, sustainability is a way of life.

Thus it was clear from the start that the 2010 Winter Games would strive to be the most sustainable Olympic Games yet. From the rainwater collection systems at the Vancouver Olympic Centre and the Richmond Olympic Oval, to the Vancouver Convention Centre’s living green roof, sustainable design has permeated every aspect of these Games. The latest kudos? In February 2010, Vancouver’s Olympic and Paralympic Village received LEED Platinum Certification, the highest possible rating for sustainable design, placing it among the greenest, most energy efficient neighbourhoods in the world.

Bollywood and Bhangra meet Cranberries in Richmond.
What do you do with 13 million cranberries? You could recreate the Olympic Rings or, more precisely, the five rings and the maple leaf of the Canadian Olympic Committee logo. Part of the Richmond Revealed festival, the cranberry rings in Brighouse Park are a striking way to show off the city’s biggest cash crop – the flat, fertile fields in the area produce more of the vitamin-rich fruit than anywhere else in Canada.

The best vantage point? From the top of Brighouse Park’s free Ferris wheel. Meanwhile, across the street at the Richmond O Zone, the city of Richmond's 2010 Olympic Winter Games Celebration site, things are set to heat up on February 24th with a South Asian theme: think Bollywood, belly dancing and Bhangra, with Dal Hothi and the Headlines and En Karma on the main stage.

Thursday, February 25th brings Atlantic Canadian bands Two Hours Traffic and Wintersleep. Also this week, running at the O Zone until February 28th, the Visions of the North Artisans’ Market showcases works from Canada’s three northern territories.

More information about Richmond.

More information about the Richmond O Zone.

World Masters set to compete in Kamloops.
For some post-Olympic action, check out the opening ceremony of the World Masters Indoor Championship in Kamloops, BC. This test of endurance and skill, set for February 28th, will welcome athletes --- including former Olympic champions -- from over 60 countries. The athletes, aged 35 to over 90, will compete in track and field events from March 1st to 6th. Kamloops, a community of 85,000 in BC’s Thompson Okanagan region is a major sports centre.

Known as the birthplace of freeriding, the area is home to roughly 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres) of bike trails as well as the Kamloops Bike Ranch, one of the most technically advanced bike parks in Canada. In July, top riders gather here for the Intermontane Challenge, an epic five-day mountain bike race. And all this spring, you can expect plenty of powder at nearby Sun Peaks Resort, where Nancy Greene, Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century, leads mountain tours most weekends and the Austrian Ski team has trained since 2004. Kamloops also claims to be the friendliest town in BC and the Tournament Capital of Canada —now that’s getting competitive.

Hot bites: Canada’s top 10 new restaurants.
From surf to turf, these new eateries are adding sizzle to Canada’s blossoming culinary scene. Be forewarned: reading any further will whet your appetite for fabulous food…

More in Olympics

Wrestler Carol Huynh brought home Olympic bronze. Was it good enough?

Four years ago in Beijing, BC native Carol Huynh catapulted to success when she made history with Canada's first gold medal in women's wrestling and the first Canadian gold of the games. During the...

Canadian Para swimming team arrives in London for Paralympic Games

After a 12-day training camp in Italy, Canada’s 24-member Para swimming team landed in London and moved into the Paralympic Athlete Village on Wednesday for the 2012 Paralympic Games August 29 to...

Canada's Olympic soccer bronze a triumph for BC

After a heartbreaking loss to the US, Canada's Olympic soccer team captures the bronze medal: it's a special triumph for Christine Sinclair from Burnaby, BC.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.