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February 26, 2010
By Paul Dixon

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Friday, Feb. 26

 

The Canadian ego received a much-needed boost with the women’s hockey gold medal victory over the Americans on Thursday. Walking past CBC Vancouver in the waning minutes of the third period, it was neat to watch CBC’s TV news anchors (they’re broadcasting from the sidewalk during the Olympics), watching the game televised by CTV though the window of the restaurant next door



We had
five-minute wait for a table at a restaurant two blocks from
GM Place and were seated in time to watch
the medal presentation to the hockey teams. Hayley Wickenheiser got the loudest
round of cheers of all Team
Canada players. When the anthem was
played, people in the restaurant stood and sang along. Pretty cool.

Vancouverites
seem to be recovering from the bashing the city and the Games were receiving in
the British media for a couple of weeks. What many here don’t realize is that
this is the British media on their best behaviour. As an institution, they
treat everyone and everything with total disdain, reserving their most venomous
barbs for their own fallen heroes. In a turn of events, there was much
consternation in
Britain when Vancouver radio and TV stations started
phoning their British counterparts, demanding an explanation.  Apparently this had never happened before and
the Brits were quite taken aback by the cheek of the provincials.

No matter
how much we may bash
Toronto and all other things east of the Rockies, Vancouver suffers ever so slightly from low
self-esteem. There is a rush to proclaim the city and everything about it as
“world-class”, as though we need constant reassurance that we do belong at the
ball. Invariably, as the local media work their way through the thousands of
Olympic visitors and athletes from all corners of the world, the closing question
will be a variation on “How do you like our city?” Do you like us, do you
really, really like us?    

We took
an après-dinner stroll up the
Robson Street pedestrian mall – thousands and
thousands of people on the street, lots of street performers, live
entertainment until
midnight at three large venues downtown. It’s
hard to spot anything but the maple leaf and all things red and white in the
crowd. A few Russian jerseys and the occasional
USA, but it really is the maple leaf
forever.

Notice
that Vancouver Police are bringing their mounted squad horses into the downtown
core by trailer and parking them out of sight. They’re not really hidden, but
no one seems to take any notice as they come through. BC Ambulance has four extra
ambulances parked on the street outside the downtown station, just in
case. 

It
somehow seemed a kinder, gentler crowd. 
Maybe that’s what women’s hockey does to people. The men’s semi-final is
on Friday evening.  Am I old enough to
come downtown for the game and stay up late after it’s over? 


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