This post is part of my “Farewell, Downtown Vancouver” blog series in which I’ll be writing short reflections on certain aspects of my time downtown.
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The location of my office and workplace – 150 Robson Street – was ideal for a sports fanatic like myself. Our offices at the corner of Robson and Cambie put me next door to BC Place and just two blocks away from Rogers Arena.
Thus, a big part of what I’m going to miss about downtown is the sporting scene.
The 2010 Winter Olympics
My favourite downtown sporting memory was actually a “one-off” so to speak – that is the 2010 Winter Olympics. For 17 days straight, I was blessed to be in the middle of the patriotism, hoopla, and jubilation. Our Pastoral Centre played host as an “Catholic Hospitality Centre” as we invited people from all across the world to come in and stay awhile. Visitors could enjoy a cup of coffee, surf the internet, write a prayer on our prayer wall, watch some of the events on big-screen televisions, or learn a bit more about the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Among the multitude of blessings that came from our Catholic Hospitality Centre was the chance to meet many people from near and afar, believers and non-believers, each person with his or her own unique story and experiences. I recounted one of the best moments in my blog here: “Me and Jesus Love the Stereos”.
I was also able to go to a few of the events (hockey, sledge hockey, and curling), some medal ceremonies, and the Closing Ceremonies. But my favourite moments were just roaming the streets outside of our building and meeting new people like this.
Another great memory was watching Wayne Gretzky carrying the torch (as part of the Opening Ceremonies) while riding in a pickup truck going past our building.
The Vancouver Canucks & the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
We all know how the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff run ended in June 2011. The loss in game 7 was definitely a crushing blow and it was further compounded by the rioting that took place in the downtown core (just a few blocks from my building).
I prefer to remember the celebratory mood in the streets after each Canucks win. Check out this footage.
I’ve been fortunate to be a Canucks season ticket member for the past five years with my buddy Mike and everyone knows how passionate of a fan I am. Whether it’s writing blogs, recording podcasts, or creating cheesy music videos, I will always be loyal to the team.
I’ve also been fortunate to have free parking for the games – a rarity downtown to be sure. While I will certainly miss this luxury, I’ve been working diligently at an alternative arrangement that should work out just fine.
The BC Lions and the 2011 Grey Cup
Even closer than the Canucks and Rogers Arena are the BC Lions and BC Place. Thus, I’ve been able to go to quite a few BC Lions games over the years with none being more memorable than the 2011 Grey Cup.
The BC Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34-23 to with their 6th championship and I was blessed to take Sean to the game with me. The whole week was quite festive and I was able to see Marie sing at Jack Poole Plaza, go to the Grey Cup party with Megan, meet owner David Braley, and of course, see the game.
Compared to the chaos of a few months earlier, the streets were relatively calm (despite the home team’s win) and we never felt unsafe.
The Vancouver Whitecaps
I haven’t gone to as many Whitecaps games as Canucks or Lions games, but I love the experience. The atmosphere is always great, and it’s a bonus to see and hear Marie sing the anthems.
My most vivid Whitecaps memory so far was when I went to see David Beckham and the LA Galaxy play the Whitecaps to a thrilling 2-2 tie in July 2012. Needless to say, the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
And I’ve never taken so many pictures of a grown man.
Going forward, I lose my parking space but I certainly won’t lose my love for the local sports teams. It just might mean a bit more planning getting to and from the games. :p