As I mentioned yesterday, the Olympic Torch Relay was passing through Richmond and I wanted to be part of it. Ideally, I would have wanted to see the torch in Steveston, but unfortunately work got in the way so I was left with attending the celebration itself at the Richmond O Zone.

And a celebration it was!

Richmond City Hall

Richmond City Hall Decked Out in Red

OZone Banners

Richmond O Zone Banners

Richmond City Hall is completely decked out in red maple leaves, red banners, red signage. Being a proud Richmondite, let alone a super proud Canadian, I’m completely stoked that the community is getting behind the Olympic movement.

Inniskillin Ice Wine Sculpture

Inniskillin Ice Wine was Flowin’

Olympic Ice Wall

Olympic Ice Gate

Inniskillin was front and centre providing tastings of it’s commemorative icewine designed especially for the 2010 Winter Games. I wasn’t able to score a taste as I was more concerned on getting a great spot to see the celebration, but having followed them on twitter, I discovered they would be present in the Richmond O Zone throughout the games. I also found out their parent company Vincor Canada was the official sponsor of wine for the Olympics:

To celebrate the 2010 Winter Games, Vincor Canada, Official Supplier of Wine, has created the exclusive Inniskillin Vidal Icewine Commemorative Edition. With a portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold supporting the Canadian Olympic Team and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, there is no better way to honor our athletes and celebrate the best that Canada has to offer.

It’s also important to note that the Ice Gate was made possible through the sponsorship of Inniskillin. Designed by artist Gord Halloran (a Sunshine Coast resident for those keeping score), the Ice Gate is a frozen canvas of ice and colour which will continue to change and evolve throughout the Winter Games. I highly recommend that you all take a look at this magnificent piece of artwork – you should also follow Vincor Canada (@2010Wines on twitter to keep up-to-date on other locations they will be visiting.

Torch Relay Celebration Stage - Before

Just a Few People

Over 20,000 people found their way into the Richmond O Zone and even more outside lined the street as Rick Hansen carried the torch to the community cauldron on the stage. I was fortunate enough to get there early and acquire what turned out to be a great spot to get some video (best footage is about 2 mins in):

I also caught footage of Rick talking about the importance of achieving your dreams – a very stirring speech that revived memories I have of his return from the Man in Motion tour. Having got my eyes slightly moistened, the following rendition of Oh Canada ensured that tears of pride flowed freely (something I’ll also have online sooner than later).

And what would any post about the Richmond O Zone be without pictures of Holland Heineken House?

Entrance to Holland Heineken House

Entrance to Holland Heineken House

Holland Heineken House

Me Thinks Orange is the Colour

Holland Heineken House will serve as the official home to to the Dutch sporting world for the duration of the 2010 Winter Games. Having converted Minoru Arenas in Richmond, Holland Heineken House will have a strong presence within the Richmond O Zone by inviting what will likely be a sea of orange to celebrate what it is to be Dutch. There will be medal ceremonies to celebrate the success of Dutch athletes, restaurants serving Dutch food, music from Dutch DJs, and of course, lots and lots of Heineken. I definitely plan to check it out once it opens – although I may need to become a Dutch citizen as those who can flash the passport will get some serious VIP treatment.

Bike from Holland Heineken House

Dutch Bike at Richmond O Zone

After having a fantastic time, I was amused to see one of the many bikes (400 to be exacty) that have been brought by Holland Heineken House. Free to use by anyone who wishes to go for a ride, I’ve actually seen them in action already as the many people who have been working behind the scenes at HHH have used them to get around town.

If you want to see more a few more pictures I took while at the event, feel free to check out my flickr stream. And for more info on the Richmond O Zone, follow them on twitter (@RichmondOZone).