Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tale of Two Torch runs

As I mentioned before, the torch run had arrived in the Vancouver area about a week ago and it was really getting the city excited. So, on Thursday night I went to watch the torch run near where I am staying in West Point Grey neighbourhood. It is a family neighbourhood close to UBC. A bunch of us got together for a torch run dinner, and then, in all of our Team Canada clothes, we walked up to watch the torch go by. By the time we got there, there were tons of people lining the street, all ready to cheer for Canada and to play their part in the Olympics. The spirit was just great and everybody was smiling so excited to be there.

The next day (Friday), the torch was scheduled to be on Commercial Drive (THE DRIVE) one block away from BRT. All along we have heard that many of the residents in this neighbourhood (East Van) were vehemently against the Olympics (they would like the money to be spent on other things for the most part) and we had seen posters for a rally at a park near by to state their case.
I was scheduled to be at BRT at 10:30 am for work and the first practices, and the torch was going to be there at 9:45am. I thought I would go in early to see it go by. A good way to start my first real Olympic day I thought. As I was walking towards BRT, there was a ton of people lining the street wearing their maple leafs including a lot of kids from the local schools nearby. I also noticed that there were a fair number of people at the park with signs against the Games. just before the torch was schedule to come, the protesters walked down and blocked the intersection, making Commercial Dr. inaccessible. The police had no choice but to re-route the torch. I felt bad for all of the people who came out, that a small group could spoil the enjoyment for the greater population. I guess there is a right to free speech and peaceful demonstrations however.