Interesting study by Canadian Press-Harris Decima finds, not surprisingly, that folks out in British Columbia aren't quite as excited about what the Olympics of 2010 might bring to Canada as the rest of us are.
The study found that 72 per cent of Canadians as a whole feel the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler will have more benefits than drawbacks for Canada. Among B.C. residents, however, just 52 per cent felt that way. A solid 39 per cent of provincial residents felt there will be more drawbacks for Canadians than benefits.
It might seem a funny finding to the casual observer. After all, British Columbia will get almost all the benefits such as new arenas, the widened Sea-to-Sky Highway and a rapid transit link to the airport.
Harris-Decima senior vice president Jeff Walker said it was "surprising to see the region of Canada which is hosting the event showing the highest level of pessimism about the Olympics and its impact overall."
It's not the least bit surprising if you've covered these things as long as some of us. Because this is the way the Olympics works.
Think about it - for months now, B.C. residents have been hit with stories about taxpayers perhaps having to pay a billion dollars for the athletes village. And now there's talk that the security budget, which yours truly said six years ago was a joke at $175 million, might now reach $1 billion.
We get the odd scrap of news about the goings-on in BC, but the folks out there get a daily dose of it in the newspapers and on TV and on the radio. So it's only natural that they're more skeptical about the advantages the Games will bring come February, 2010.
This is the way it always is for host cities. There's the initial euphoria of winning the Olympics, followed by the thought of "holy crap, what have we got ourselves into?" There's years and years of money being spent but not a lot to show for it. Then, in most cases, the Games begin and everyone has the party of their lives and they love every minute of it. When it's all finished, residents almost always agree they had their time of their lives.
ONTARIO - GOOD AND BAD
Trip Advisor, which features travel reviews from ordinary citizens, has come out with its 2009 Travelers' Choice Awards. There was good news and bad news for local travel folks.
On the plus side, the award for best for families in Canada was the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara, with the Carriage Ridge Resort in Barrie coming third and the Comfort Inn Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls in fourth. The Albert at Bay Suite Hotel in Ottawa was sixth and the Residence Inn Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District was seventh, with the Country Inn and Suites Niagara Falls right after that and then Fern Resort in Orillia in ninth spot. Carriage Ridge was named second best bargain in Canada (Elizabeth Lake Lodge in Cranbrook, B.C. was tops) and Carriage Ridge was the 98th best bargain in the world. The Country Inn and Suites Niagara Falls was rated ninth best bargain in Canada.
The news wasn't so good for Ontario on the luxury side of the ledger. No places in Ontario made the top ten list of Canadian luxury properties (rated best was Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City).
Finally on the Canadian front, the Residence Inn Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District came out best in Toronto as part of the top 25 world cities. The Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris was first, followed by the Inn New York City and the Soho Hotel in London. Toronto was 25th on the list and trip advisor put the Residence Inn as the top spot in the city.
Ritz-Carlton came out as best hotel chain, followed by Four Seasons and then Iberostar.
Finally, the top-rated luxury hotel in the world was Aria in Prague. Star readers may recall we featured the music-themed hotel as one of our Great Hotels of the World late last year.