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Vancouver 2018: Eating up the Olympics

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By Judith Lane

The 2018 Olympics are here. It’s a crazy time in Vancouver and while no one really knows what to expect, we’re ready to take on the world.


We know that we will be in the spotlight, that Vancouver and Whistler will be beamed to the world, and that these are the ‘most’ games ever. More than 10,000 media are here guaranteeing we’ll be the most publicized and scrutinized games yet.


Ditto the most secure games. Guests taking in medal ceremonies and sporting events are advised to arrive three hours or so before for airport-style security processing. Driving isn’t much fun since designated streets and areas of the city are no-go zones plus many roads and bridges have dedicated lanes restricted to official Olympic traffic.


Patience is advised (and walking too) as the Transit system is likely to be overloaded especially when events finish. Officials advise that hour-long waits will not be unusual and that riders will be entertained by plenty of buskers hired to add to festive atmosphere. Due to the Olympics, some SkyTrain stops (but not all) will be easier to find now that big blue Ts have gone up on and around them. This is a very good thing since even locals have trouble finding the new Canada Line stops.


If you’re going to any events, you’ll have all your to-ing and fro-ing details covered. There is a ton of entertainment, much of it free, from jazz and rock concerts to dance and Aboriginal showcases. There is public art indoors and out that will set souls soaring. Expect thrills at every turn. There’s free zip-trekking and ice-skating at Robson Square and even some free food and drink over the 17 days of the games. We’ve nailed down what’s where, and what you can expect at the pavilions that are serving food and drink.  


For cultural events, pick up a Cultural Olympiad Program Guide, widely available. Two events that we’re keen on are The Candahar taking place on Granville Island that features a Belfast pub fusing the authentic—twin Irish bartenders as unscripted performers, with free form events programmed by Vancouver’ author/musician Michael Turner. The other is GOLD RUSH! Art, Bars, and Speculation with the Miss Guides who will pub crawl adventurers through Vancouver bars, history, and speculation.




Here’s our guide to Celebration Sites, ‘houses’, and pavilions by area. There are more, but these have food and drink components in addition to entertainment and cultural elements. Admittance is free to most venues. If there’s a cost, we’ll note what we’ve found out.




Winterruption, Granville Island’s winter festival of food, art, entertainment, and kids’ activities will also be in full swing. Not to be missed are February 14’s Valentine’s Day Cooking for Your Lover demo, and same day Chinese New Year Celebrations complete with lion dancers. Both take place in the Granville Island Public Market.


GranvilleIsland.com publishes a Daily Sheet to keep everyone updated on activities and performances at the ‘houses’ and elsewhere on the Island.


Atlantic Canada House

Arts Club Theatre - Backstage Lounge

February 13 – 28

I love these guys. Flat out friendly, straight up, and they even have a website saying what they’re sampling each day… see Taste of Atlantic Canada for daily sampling menus. And there’s more including East Coast beer, wine, and whiskey. Daily food sampling is at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. plus each province will showcase their best on these dates: Nova Scotia, February 16th; Prince Edward Island, February 18th; New Brunswick, February 23rd; and Newfoundland and Labrador, February 26th.


House of Switzerland Canada 2018

Bridges Restaurant

February 5 -28

Stop by for tastes of Swiss chocolate, biscuits, Nespresso coffee, cheese and raclette, and complimentary water. Dine in the restaurant on Swiss specialties like Rehmedaillons mit Spätzle und Rotkraut an einer Lebkuchensauce (venison medallions with spätzle, red cabbage and gingerbread sauce) and B̈ündner Nusstorte (walnut and caramel tart).


Place de la Francophonie 2018

Cartwright Street: Performance Works


February 11 – 28

The Agritourism Pavillion will showcase Quebecois food like Inuit products, and bison. Club Adrénaline’s Bistro serves tourtiere, poutine, pork pie, tarte tatin, Quebec cheeses, and more.  More Info: http://placefranco2018.ca/en/getting-there/index.html





Casa Italia - Italy House

Roundhouse Community Centre

February 6 - 28

The pavilion presents some of the best food (think Parmigiano Reggiano and Ferrero Rocher), drink, and entertainment that Italy has to offer.


Discover Calabria Showroom

851 Homer Street

February 12 – March 6


The Discover Calabria Showroom promises to be “one of the must-see venues in downtown Vancouver. Representing companies from the agrifood sector (olive oil, wine, pasta, cheeses, cold cuts and conserved vegetables) as well as from the fashion, jewelery and tourism sectors.”  More Info:http://www.iccbc.com/page654.htm





2018 Canada Pavilion

Live City Downtown, corner of Georgia and Beatty Streets

February 13-28, March 12-14, 18-21


CentrePlace Manitoba

Live City Downtown, corner of Georgia and Beatty Streets)


LIVE@LiveCity Downtown is a licensed chalet-style lounge where you can sit, watch the on-screen competitions while downing “local food and drink.” Could be the place to be if you don’t have tickets to medal ceremonies or hockey. It’s adjacent to BC Place and General Motors Place (Canada Hockey Place) and you’ll likely hear the roar of the crowds and a lot of good music.


Alberta House and Alberta Plaza

Corner of Robson and Beatty Streets

February 12 – 28

Open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Albertan food and drink are available for purchase at Alberta Plaza. Sit down and dig in.


Saskatchewan Pavilion

February 12 - 28

The Saskatchewan Pavilion features great food, entertainment, and a six-story dome called the Experience Center.


Four Host First Nations Pavilion

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, West Georgia and Hamilton Streets


February 12 - 28


An onsite Reception Hall will incorporate Aboriginal art and a restaurant. Pavilion host Wade Grant, a Musqueam and assistant GM of the Pavilion, calls this the world's largest potlatch with songs, dancing, stories, and food. The restaurant menu offers hors d'oeuvres of seaweed and smoked salmon cucumber rolls; pemmican on bannock with Saskatoon berry coulee; asparagus spears wrapped in musk ox prosciutto; ‘paella’ with venison sausage, mussels, shrimp and wild rice; and there’s roast bison with fiddleheads; pasta with wild garlic, seaweed, and shiitake cream sauce; and bison or elk chili which sounds crazily good. Wines are from Canada's first aboriginal winery, the much-awarded Nk'Mip Cellars in Osoyoos, B.C.  More Info:www.fourhostfirstnations.com/visit-the-pavilion/


Irish Pavilion

Doolin’s Irish Pub

654 Nelson Street @ Granville Street


February 12 - 28


What can we say? It’s an Irish party…bring on the Guinness. There’s a cover charge in effect.


Sochi House (Russia)

Telus World of Science, False Creek


February 11 - 28


Expect to be wowed as the Russians put their best feet, food, and more forward as they prep for their turn as host country for the 2014 Winter Games. Day passes (free) are required and are available at the venue.


Kla-how-ya (Aboriginal Tourism BC)

Pan Pacific Hotel lobby, Canada Place


February 12-28

The lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel has been transformed into an Aboriginal village called Kla-how-ya (welcome) that features traditional dancing, cedar bark weaving, Aboriginal fashions, birch bark biting, moose hide tufting, jewelry making, carving, storytelling and an opportunity to explore the harvesting of wild herbs for traditional medicines. Experience native-inspired dishes at adjacent Café Pacifica.


Saxony House (Germany)

Rowing Club, Stanley Park


While this is Saxony House’s “planned itinerary—11:00 am: opening; 12:00 pm: full-restaurant-service with Typical Saxon food specialties and traditional beer, live-transmission of Olympic competitions on plasma-screens; 7:00 pm: start of the evening program: live music on stage, film presentations, interviews on stage with guests and athletics; 11:00 pm - 02:00 am: live music from a DJ. Free entry on all days.” —the real fun will be held at the


German Fan Fest

555 West Cordova Street


February 11 – 28, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.


If you think the Irish know how to party, prepare to compare. This 600-person pavilion is in a huge tent by the Seabus/SkyTrain Station at Cordova and Seymour Streets. Expect copious amounts of German beer and sausages, and music from Thuringian band, Acoustica.


Slovak Representative House

Vancouver International Film Centre (Davie & Seymour)


February 12 – 28.”


Food and drink are ticketed events here but promise a fascinating look at Slovakian food and culture. In their words, “Meet our athletes and remember the traditional “taste” of Slovakia. Enjoy culinary specialties in the form of a hot and cold buffet with a wide variety of special Slovak cheeses, draught beer and great selection of exceptional wines, accompanied by the traditional folk music ... everything INCLUDED in the price of the ticket ($60 lunch and $110 dinner). More Info:  www.repredom.sk/en/ticket/show-tickets/





Ukraine House

3150 Ash Street


February 11 – 28


Mostly special events with food, entertainment. Think $15 for Valentine’s Day dinner, dancing, contest, a bar, and more. There’s also a House Ball on February 20. More Info:  www.ukrainehouse2018.com/




Holland Heineken House

Richmond O Zone (www.richmondozone.ca)

Minoru Arenas, 7551 Minoru Gate


February 11 – 28


Way too much fun and civilized too. Book a table at The Lodge Brasserie overlooking the party hall and you’re guaranteed entry into the hottest and most hyped party at the Games. Check out the menus for the Brasserie or the more casual Food Plaza, all in the party hall called Heineken House. Wrist bands (free) are required and lineups are the norm. More Info: www.atp.nl/os2018/hollandheinekenhouse/usa/index.php


Enjoy the Games!

For More Food and Drink Ideas in Vancouver, check out our Vancouver Destination Guide.


Image Courtesy: © VANOC/COVAN


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