February 13, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – No matter where you were in downtown Vancouver, it was impossible to not know when the Canadian
Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams © Heinz Ruckemann
Team Canada © Heinz Ruckemann
team entered the stadium at the Olympic opening ceremonies. A rather thunderous wave rose and enveloped the city. Speed-skater and cyclist Clara Hughes brought in the Canadian team with her trademark Clara smile.
She was followed by a display of Canadian culture probably much more familiar to Canadians than to international guests. The ceremony commenced with a snowboarder circled by a helicopter to symbolize heli-snowboarding at Whistler. He continued through a flaming Canadian flag, and then flew through the Olympic rings and into
The US Olympic Team © Heinz Ruckemann
Hundreds of Aboriginal dancers performed, though they did admit they were not allowed to do their traditional pow-wow dancing. VANOC had
First Nations dancer © Heinz Ruckemann
choreographed what they thought pow-wow dancing looked like. Jiggers, dancers, and fiddlers came later to symbolize Metis and other cultures, and it was all done with the backdrop of a light-show of killer whales, or the orca on the Pacific coast, and a 16-metre
Team Georgia somberly enter BC Place © Heinz Ruckemann
“spirit bear puppet” that weighed 900 kg. VANOC says it was the heaviest prop of the ceremonies. As the bear slipped away, totem poles arose with a “springtime” ballet.
The Olympic Flame is lit © Heinz Ruckemann
Each region of Canada was depicted through top Canadian cultural performers – Donald Sutherland narrated passages from W.O Mitchell’s “Who Has Seen the Wind” as the stage changed to sky and wheat, and later carried in the Olympic flag with the likes of Barbara An
The lighting of the Olympic flame. © Heinz Ruckemann
n Scott, Major General Romeo Dallaire, and Anne Murray. His narration was followed by Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” If this wasn’t enough, K. D. Lang stood atop a stage that looked a little too much like loonies stacked upon one another, and belted out one of her best renditions ever of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” from her Hymns of the
The Olympic flag is raised by a RCMP honor guard © Heinz Ruckemann
49th Parallel album.
One of the evening’s artistic directors, David Atkins of Australia
Olympic rings on the floor of BC Place © Heinz Ruckemann
concluded, “Tonight is Canada’s night, in all its diamond-faceted, multi-dimensional glory.”
But the most talked about guessing game in Canada came to
A snowboarder rides through the Olympic rings © Heinz Ruckemann
its conclusion at 9:00 p.m. Pacific time as Rick Hanson, Nancy Green, Catrina Le May-Doane, Steve Nash, and Wayne Gretzky stood, each with
a torch as a stellar opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Games came to an end. All would light the cauldron.
Acrobats perform at the Opening Ceremonies © Heinz Ruckemann
Outside of the stadium over 1,000 protesters gathered to bring attention to tens of millions of dollars in cuts to education, and equal amounts in social services as the B.C. government grapples with massive shortfalls. Even sport has been cut back by millions. Vancouver City Police and RCMP from across the country who met the protesters near the stadium were philosophical. “It’s good for people
to express their concerns. They’re real,” said one police officer who wanted to remain anonymous.