Vancouver Set to Host the Paralympics
Since Vancouver seems to be getting over its Olympic Hangover (see blog posted March 2nd) it is time to get back at it. The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games starts on March 12th and these athletes deserve the same welcome and support that Vancouverites, British Columbians and Canadians showed for the 17 days of the Olympic Games. In Canada, the games will be broadcast as a joint venture again between CTV and Rogers. Over 50 hours of television coverage is planned, including a daily 90 minute highlight program, live coverage of Canada’s sledge hockey games, and the broadcast of the ceremonies and gold medal game in sledge hockey on CTV. GO CANADA!

Torch Relay
Unlike the Olympic Flame, the Paralympic Flame has no ancestral home. The Paralympic Torch relay will begin with the lighting of the flame on March 3rd in Ottawa. Rick Mercer will represent the province of British Columbia as a torchbearer in Ottawa. After visiting Quebec City and Toronto the flame will be travel through 6 communities in BC before a 24-hour relay event starting at Robson Square on March 11th at 2:00 pm. The lower level of the Plaza will be the site of celebrations, a video screen will show Paralympic Games highlights and visitors can watch and try out Paralympic sport demonstrations. The Paralympic Flame will be continuously carried and passed between torchbearers for 24 hours. The event will conclude at 2:00 pm on March 12th. The Paralympic Flame will then be brought into BC Place for the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Vancouver Events
The Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony will take place at BC Place on March 12, 2010. Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling competitions begin in Vancouver the next day. With eight teams participating in the Sledge Hockey tournament Canada is set to meet Italy, Sweden and Norway in the preliminary round. Playoffs begin on March 18th with the Gold medal match played at 12:00 on Saturday March 20th. All Sledge Hockey Games will be played at UBC Thunderbird Arena. There are also eight teams taking place in the Wheelchair Curling event. Each team will play each other once in the Round Robin with teams often playing twice in the same day. The competition runs from March 16th to 20th at Vancouver Paralympic Center (near Queen Elizabeth Park). Canada will play its first game against Great Britain at 12:30 on March 13th. Tickets are still available for some of the dates for both curling and hockey.

Celebration Sites
Two of the popular Celebration sites from the Olympics will be open during the Paralympic Games. LiveCity Downtown will reopen March 12th and will be open March 12th to 14th and March 18th to 21st from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily. The Canada Pavilion 2010 and CentrePlace Manitoba will both be open during this time. The Robson Square Celebration Site will also be open very day March 12th to 21st starting at 10:00 am daily. This includes the very popular zip-line which is expected to still have long lines but not as long as last week.

Not only will the majority of sporting events during the Paralympic Games take place in Whistler (Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing) but all of the Victory Ceremonies and accompanying concerts will be held at the new amphitheatre at Whistler Medals Plaza. The headline musical artists have been announced: Kathleen Edwards (March 13); The Weakerthans (March 14); Antoine Gratton (March 15); The Trews (March 16); Justin Hines (March 17); and Serena Ryder (March 18). Local Whistler artist and fan favorite Chili Tom will act as the nightly pre-show DJ. Spectator access is free to the Victory Ceremonies at Whistler Medals Plaza and via an at-venue queue, located in Village Stroll directly outside the plaza. Spectator access is limited to 5,000 people nightly. Gates open at 5:30 pm. The Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games will be held on March 21, 2010 in Whistler also at Whistler Medals Plaza.

Since we missed the chance to see LiveCity Downtown during the Olympics we plan to check it out this time around.