In a previous post I listed a few of the free things to do in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. On the day of the opening ceremonies we stopped by to check out a few of them.
First up was Northern Canada House where guests are invited to “experience the warmth, welcome and wonder of Canada’s North”. Located at the intersection of Hastings and Seymour streets, Northern Canada House is very close to Waterfront Station so you can get easily there by Skytrain, Canada Line, or Seabus.
Upon entering the building you are greeted with an Inukshuk, a stone marker used in the far north for centuries as well as the inspiration for the Vancouver 2010 games logo. Inside the building there are many interactive displays which give you a taste of life up north. Activities include build your own inukshuk and diamond polishing demonstrations.
There are also many static displays of artwork and animals from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut region of Canada.
Another great place to visit is the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion. In addition to being one of the finest and most innovative producers of coins in the world, the Royal Canadian Mint also produced the gold, silver, and bronze medals for this year’s Olympics.
Located at the corner of Granville and Pender streets, this pavilion is only a couple of blocks away from the Northern Canada House and is most easily accessible from the Canada Line’s Vancouver City Centre station. On the first floor you can learn how coins are made and visit the children’s area where kids can create designs for paper coins with the help of a mint artist.
On the second floor you can get a close up view of the Olympic medals, touch a gold bar, and see one of the famous million dollar gold coins. Note that viewing the medals is very popular and the lineup can take up to three hours so plan ahead! They are also releasing a special edition quarter for each day of the Olympics and you can buy them for the bargain price of 25 cents each!