Vancouver business boom (of sorts)...Where are my bathroom helpers?
VANCOUVER - Got a report today to say that sales at BC restaurants jumped an average of 33% in
the first week of the 2010 Winter Games, compared to the same period (Feb. 15 –
21) in 2009.
By comparison, the folks at Vivonet, whose technology is used in restaurant and hospitality industries across North American, said restaurant and food service sales in Eastern Canada increased a mere 6% and remained flat in the Prairies. Full-service sales (sit down meals) in BC restaurants have taken a bit of a hit since the Olympics began, but Vancouver’s Yaletown, downtown and Whistler are bucking the trend with increases of 130%, 103% and 56%, respectively. They are also basking in the Olympic glow with overall sales increases of 128%, 89% and 44% during the first week of the Games (not including Valentine’s Day).
However, areas within the city, but not close to venues, have actually registered a slight drop year-on-year.
It seems about right. I had a drink the other night at a hotel that's about 10 minutes from the main media centre, quite close to Robson St., and had no trouble finding a table on a hugely busy party night. When the weather's nice and Canada wins a big medal, folks seem to want to simply wander about on Robson or Burrard and soak up the atmosphere.Cab drivers have told me that business isn't bad, but it's not great.
LONG-TERM SPORTS BENEFITS?Vancouver organizers today talked about how they hope that events like Ashleigh McIvor's gold medal win in ski cross on Tuesday will lead to more kids taking up more sports.
"We've seen cross-country ski programs set up, and there's a luge club up in Squamish," said Cathy Priestner-Allinger, VANOC'S chief sports person.
VANOC CEO John Furlong said he wants to see Canadian kids head to ski hills and other outdoor sports spots."There couldn't be a better legacy that that one," he said.
Call me a cynic, but I don't really believe that hosting the Olympic Games will transform a nation of kids from couch potatoes to cross-country skiers. We've hosted two Olympics in Canada in the past 34 years - Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988 - and I don't think it's done a lot to reduce obesity rates in Canada or hike sports participation; at least not nationally. We have, on the other hand, seen a large network of sports venues set up in Quebec, which continues to supply a vast number of freestyle skiers, short track speedskaters and figure skaters. Calgary, also, has become a huge training ground for speedskaters, alpine skiers and cross-country racers.
That's one reason Toronto wanted to host the Olympic Games, and why the city is hosting the 2015 Pan American Games.
I'M SO LONELY
It's interesting to see how different media centres operate at the Olympics. They had a bazillion people on staff in Beijing, most of whom spent hours at a time doing...nothing. They had two people stationed outside each washroom to point the way to the toilets, as if we couldn't read the giant washroom signs stationed all around the building. They'd open the door for you, and the second you finished washing your hands they'd leap into action and furiously wipe offending water marks off the faucet or mop up even the smallest pools of water off the counter top.
Here, I'm reduced to having to find the sign of the guy standing up and look for the word "toilet" to find my way. Man, that's tough.