Thanks “2010″, That was Awesome.

01 March 2010

My ears are still ringing from last night’s horns, honks, screams, and of course, cowbell. 

I gave more high fives last night, then I have given, debatably, in my entire lifetime.  I rubbed shoulders (and I don’t mean in a metaphorical way) with millions of people – some, who I would have chosen not to, if it were an option.  It was pandamonium at its finest.

Could we have asked to wrap up the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games in any better fashion?  We owned that podium, bringing in 14 GOLD MEDALS – dominating EVERY other country. 

Men’s Gold medal Hockey Game?  Ummm… did anyone else kinda feel like they were in a Tom Hanks movie?  Really?  This stuff happens in real life?  AMAZING.  Absolutely the most spectacular sporting event that could ever take place… I’m still in shock it wasn’t scripted.  The streets were absolutely empty (and I know this, b/c I had to walk them as I made a mad dash from one viewing location to another, to meet up with colleagues for the Closing Ceremony).  People huddled in doorways, even coffee shops and clothing boutiques had the Game on and people crowded in, JUST to watch the game.  ROARS of cheers and “eeews and aaahhh” echoed the entire city.  Nothing else mattered.  Nothing.

And after the game… well, EVERYONE was in the streets!!  You couldn’t get anywhere in a hurry… or faster than a turtle’s pace. 

When will we ever experience this again?  Never.  *tear*  *sniff*  It was a moment that will go down in every Vancouverites (and Canadian visitor to Vancouver) book of cherished moments and will be told to generation after generation. 

The past 17 days have been, well… for lack of a better word, magical.  Outside of the massive hangover that the entire city of Vancouver collectively is going through today – both emotionally and consumption wise; you couldn’t ask for a better Winter Games.  We did it, Vancouver…. and we ROCKED it.

To our Canadian Athletes – Thank you.  I have never been so proud to be a Canadian; you have inspired a nation and we are all SO proud!!! 

Congratulations to ALL the athletes, you have just shown the world how AMAZING, how important and how inspiring sport is… for 17 days, you brought the world together.

THANK YOU.

I have LOADS of pictures, and with those pictures, are loads of hilarious/fun/cool stories!  I am working on gathering them all and will be sharing them shortly!!

Stay tuned!

Week One

19 February 2010

Wow!

What.  A.  Week.  Where do I start?…

Ah, the Opening Ceremony.

To say that the Opening Ceremony was beautiful, would be SUCH an understatement – almost insulting.  It was stunning, magical, breath-taking, absolutely thrilling.  I laughed, I cried, I had goosebumps the entire time!!  Just being in that room, the same room with the world’s greatest athletes, I felt so honoured to be a part of their experience…  It was impossible to not feel the dreams, the hopes, the excitement and the pride.  You felt it, your heard it, and everyone in that room, spoke it.  I have never been so proud to be a Canadian, and so proud of people whom I’ve never met!!  (I’m getting goose bumps again, as I write this – just remembering all the smiles, and joy-filled eyes)…

The city is BUZZING… there is definitely no lack of enthusiasm here.  Between flash mobs, LOTS of ‘high-fiving’, line-ups (lots and lots of line-ups), and a whole lot of red, it is the greatest place to be right now… I’ve never felt so ALIVE in this city.  In fact, I don’t think this city has ever been so alive! 

I have loads of pictures that I want to upload, but having some technical difficulties, so will upload tomorrow, once it’s sorted out.

Night for now…

Tomorrow I will fill you all in on some of the events I’ve checked out… including a bit of commentary on a few figure skating outfits.  Sometimes you just have to wonder what people are thinking.

Games-time transportation plan

09 February 2010

This weekend we got a clue as to just how many people are arriving from all over the world to celebrate the 2010 Winter Games. The streets downtown are full of people proudly wearing their “Canada” jersey’s, sweaters, t-shirts, and the national teams are starting to arrive wearing their national jackets, sweaters and team colours. Now that we can see just how many people are coming to the city, we are getting a better idea about how much traffic we are going to be seeing in the streets during the games!

 

So this morning, Whitney and I thought we would be creative to beat the traffic. We decided to have our own  “olympic lane” and take advantage of the beautiful weather we are having.  So instead of adding to congestion on the streets, we ran to work. We’ve never had a better commute – although this morning was a little frostier than it has been – check out a couple photos we took during our morning commute about 2 blocks from the office.  I don’t know if anyone will want to go home after these games are over!

 

Tara for Team H&K

check out us in Vancouver, at 7:45am this morning:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42705855@N00/sets/72157623392085002/

 

Games Mode

09 February 2010

It’s been years in the making… in fact, since I started at Hill & Knowlton (3.5 years ago), we’ve been talking/working on the Games in some capacity… there are colleagues of mine who have been working since the bid.  We’ve talked about ‘when we hit Games Mode, this’ and ‘when Games Mode hits’, that…  never feeling as though GAMES MODE was EVER going to actually happen…

And then…

Here we are.

The troops have arrived.  Our office is now packed with colleagues from all over North America – Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago…  The troops from New York, Holland, Germany and China, etc. are coming soon!  Our office has transformed – We’re no longer a small, family regional office  – we are in, GAMES MODE.

Look out any window in our office, and you’ll find a helicopter, if not three, hovering over the city.  People are traipsing around the city with their countries proudly written on their backs, the city is packed, restaurants are filled, and the city is humming.  It’s exciting… and as the advertisements go – “You gotta be here!”

I am opening this blog up to all my colleagues working on the Games.  For the next few weeks, I am encouraging all my colleagues to post their own thoughts, their own experiences and their own adventures here, to share with you.   With H&K’s fabulous client line-up, you will no doubt, get your fill by reading ahead.

Happy Games Mode peeps!!  Only 4 days to go!!

A City of Smiles!

22 January 2010

22 days.  22 DAYS!!! 

Am I the only one that is starting to wonder what’s going to happen AFTER the Games?  What did Vancouverites do before we won the 2010 bid?  What did we talk about?  Share stories about? Get angry about?  Protest?  Get pumped for?  Hmmm…

The last two days I have been hanging out with our lovely clients at the Royal Canadian Mint.  We had coin exchanges at key locations across the city – exchanging the newest Olympic circulatoin coin, the Cindy Klassen coin, for regular quarters.  We provided the fancy collector cards to get people started with their collection and of course, provided info on the Mint’s Pavilion which will take place at 500 Granville street during the Games.  Now, if you’re familiar with Vancouver, you know that we are not only are the host city to the 2010 Olympic Games, but also a host city to some fabulous people… some characters… and even a few peeps who are questionable (very questionable).  I met them all during the past 48 hours. 

There certainly is no lack of emotion/passion when it comes to the Games coming to Vancouver.  I would say 99% of the people we engaged with during these coin exchanges, were OVER THE MOON about the Games.  It was great!  I heard so many stories about WHY people were over the moon… people are so willing to tell their Olympic life story and explain how they are touched by the Games – someone’s brother ran with the torch, someone’s mom was an athlete at Torino Games, someone helped build one of the live-sites, someone has gone to every Game for the past 12 years…  It was unbelievable – so many people with so many connections to this one event.  This one event (that happens to be happening in our city) is making SOO many people SOO happy, SOO inspired, SOO motivated, engaged, passionate…  I have never felt so connected to so many people (I can only imagine the future connections, as we draw closer to Games Day). 

We are living a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  How often can we meet complete strangers on the street, some of whom we would never speak to otherwise, and share stories, laughs, tears, excitement over something we all have in common?  It’s amazing.

That said, you know when you have that dream… the one that’s just AWESOME.  Everything in your life is great – the day is perfectly exceptional and you can’t wipe the smile off your face? …. then you wake up.  It’s not as though you can’t ever be that happy again or that the day you’re about to experience is going to be much worse… it’s just that initial disappointment that, it’s over.  It was a dream, and now it’s over.  You secretly try and go back to sleep to see if MAYBE you can catch back up with it… but then it’s weird and not the same…

Anyone else fear this for April 2010?

Regardless, it’s time to live the dream.  We are merely 22 days away and the smiles across Vancouver are spreading and spreading quickly.  It’s exciting here!!!  I can FEEL the Canadian love!!

GO CANADA!!!

It Happened… It’s 2010!

06 January 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 has finally arrived safely… and quickly – my goodness!!

When the clock struck midnight on December 31st, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking – Oh. My. God… it happened.  2010 arrived.

It’s OUR year, Canada!  It’s our year to Open up the Happiness, Paint the Town Red, Go for the Gold and show our Glowing Hearts!  Everyone have their red mittens ready?

As of Monday, January 4th, downtown Vancouver is officially implementing their 2010 re-vamp.  The 2010 Winter Games’ banners will dress our lampposts and hug our streets; and special lighting along major streets will be installed, along with various artistic-related pieces of work.  Street signage and the marking of Olympic priority lanes will also begin.  It’s happening…

For all the Vancouverites, be sure to check out all the new live sites that are going up.  I couldn’t help but notice Coca-Colas’ while on a run the other day – certainly looked VERY Open to Happiness.  On a family walk over the holidays (while the turkey cooked), I traipsed my family through the Olympic Village… certainly a site worth checking out – it’s almost complete… flag posts and all!

With less than six weeks to go, we’re ready for you, world!

And We’re Off!!!

03 November 2009

We came, we saw, we conquered!

… well, as far as the launch of the Torch Relay is concerned…

H&K’s Best Teams were in FULL effect last week during the launch of the Olympic Torch Relay in Victoria.  With representation from the Toronto office, Vancouver office and VIctoria office, it was ‘all hands on deck’ and let’s just say – We lived Olympic… through and through… and did a ‘darn’ good job of it!

To re-cap on everything that happened would be impossible – way too many things, way too many hours awake … and frankly where would I start?!… however, I would like to present my Top Ten Favourite Moments of the Olympic Torch Relay Launch…

#10 – Victoria the Beautiful – I must admit, I believe I was about 6 years old the last time I was in Victoria.  It had been a looooong time!  To say that I remembered everything like it was yesterday, would be a lie.  I didn’t remember anything, in fact, I felt like it was a brand new city!  And  BEAUTIFUL one at that!  The quaintness, the lights, the ’small town’ feeling, I honestly felt (on numerous occassions) that I was somewhere far away… I definitely suggest checking it out your next visit out West!

#9 – Behind the Scenes – The life of a PR Consultant may not ALWAYS be glamourous… but sometimes it really is!  Whether it was getting ushered into the Media pit, and having pretty much the best view of the ceremony, or setting up the live-eye hits at the Airport, and then getting the first-class tour of the facilities, including a tour of the helicopters/background… it was pretty great!

 #8 – Patriotism/Pride - Victoria was a sea of red and white… the VANOC red mittens were everywhere, Canadian Flags, Calgary 1988 (FULL ON) Torchbearer uniforms were worn, faces were painted… it was glorious. 

#7 – Coca-Cola | Living Olympic – Coca-Cola ROCKED it on Friday!  The H&K team was decked in our red Coca-Cola gear (wearing it with pride).  We ‘Opened Happiness’ everywhere we went… and had media coverage all over the country to prove it!  :)

 

#6 – The People We met – You couldn’t walk anywhere without seeing some sort of celebrity, famous athlete, or political figure.  It was awesome!  I saw Jane Seymour walking into the Empress Hotel, saw Lloyd Robertson and Brian Williams at the Bengal Lounge and of course rubbed shoulders with John Furlong – here’s a great pic of my boss Joy Jennissen and John Furlong.

#5 – The Lump in My Throat – Not sure about anyone else who was there Friday morning, but I had a pesky lump in my throat for most of the morning – which only can be blamed on the seamless ceremony, phenomenal inspirational videos, and beautiful speeches made by John Furlong, including the moment of silence for Jack Poole, and the speeches made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Gordon Campbell, and Mayor Gregor Robertson.   I have never felt so proud to be a Canadian!

 

 #4 – The Tradition – The drums were drumming, voices singing, a constant ‘hum’ was echoed through downtown Victoria – spectacular!  You knew the Torch was coming… my goodness, I have goosebumps typing this!  From the airport, the flame (which was encased in a miners lantern) was brought to the Songhees shoreline then on to a First Nations canoe, which was then paddled over to the Victoria harbour, flanked by two other canoes.  At the dock, the elders asked permission of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations to bring the torch ashore.  Once they had accepted, the First Nations chiefs walked the lantern up to the Legislature and presented it to John Furlong, who then lit the cauldron from the flame. 

 #3- The Unity – Not to sound cheesey, but you couldn’t help but feel the love and the strength in numbers in Victoria on Friday – it was beautiful.  There were people of all ages, of all races, of all demographics, together, united as a country in support of our athletes and with heads held high in pride for our country.  Was lovely…

 

#2- The Torchbearers – Coca-Cola sure knows how to pick ‘em!  Spending the last few days with the Coca-Cola torchbearers was not only a delight, but was such an inspiration!  These men, women and teens were a constant reminder of what we CAN do if we only put our minds to it!  Coca-Cola chose all of their torchbearers based on two elements - Living Active and Living Green.   Those Canadians who were chosen as Torchbearers, demonstrate (through physical activity or sustainability) that they have made a commitment to the Olympic values.  Brilliant!  Here’s a pick of Dave Calder, Coca-Cola torchbearer chosen for his committment to living Green – he started www.projectbluesky.com Here he is on CANADA AM

 

#1 Good Company - If you’re going to be working all hours of the day (including wake-up calls at 2:30am for a CANADA-AM live eye at the Airport), why not share those hours with colleagues/friends who are awesome and who you love.  Thanks Jill for making Empress room #349 Fun Times… even on hour 23.

With Glowing Hearts… and Hot Fashion!

20 October 2009

It’s been busy… to say the least.  So busy that I haven’t had all that much time to even update everyone on what’s happening here!  With the Torch set to arrive from Greece next week… it’s been insane!  Insane in a good way, of course!

 

And we Canadians sure know how to weave our heart and heritage into fashion.    From red mittens, to the official 2010 Olympic uniform, to the 2010 Work uniform, all the way to the medals… we’re lookin’ good.  Real good.

 

“Wear your heart on your hands” is the slogan (which I love) and the product?  Adorable.  VANOC has come out with a Red Mitten program in support of our Canadian athletes.  These warm, fleece lined mittens are a mere $10, with all net proceeds going toward supporting Canadian athletes.  These guys cannot stay on the shelves!  Fret not though, apparently there are 500,000 more en route and will be back on shelves by the end of the month.  These great mitts are available at The Bay, Zellers and Home Outifitters, in addition to the Olympic Store at vancouver2010.com. 

 

 

So now to the uniform… for those who said we did not know fashion….perhaps it was the feedback from our Bejing Game uniforms, remember these beauties? 

 

 

Who knows!  What I do know, is that our 2010 uniforms are awesome this year!  I would wear each and every item of clothing.

 

HBC launched these uniforms earlier this month at a fabulous reception at the old Storyeum museum in Gastown – awesome venue with a strong Westcoast feel.  I have to say, they did a great job – great fashion show, the appies were delish, free flowing wine, and an awesome Canadian band that rocked out the rest of the evening… Oh how I love launch parties…

 

So while we spectators are sporting the above uniforms, those who will actually be working the Games will be sporting some pretty spiffy uniforms themselves.  In fact, I kinda want those too.  Check ‘em out!

 

 

I really like the two-toned blue on blue – so Vancouver.  It’s funny how these ‘uniforms’ pretty much look like something your typical Kitsilano native would wear while shopping 4th Ave.  Brilliant. 

 

Now, what would fashion be without a little bling.  Last Thursday, the official 2010 Olympic medals were unveiled.  They’re gorgeous.

 

Each medal is entirely unique, a small piece of a larger based piece of artwork of an orca whale (Olympic) and raven (Paralympic).  The medals were produced by The Royal Canadian Mint, with the metal supplied by Canadian mining giant, Teck Resources Limited.  The medals themselves are very heavy, in fact they weigh between 500 and 560 grams!  There’s always a price for looking good.

Inspired by ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscapes (all things Vancouver), the medals aren’t your typical slab of medal, they’re curved…  too bad we can’t buy those at The Bay too… I’d take one of each.

So, now we’re up to speed on the fashion… next stop is the torch, which gets lit tomorrow.  Here we go folks! 

I’ll be in Victoria next week when the torch lands in BC and heads across the country.  I’ll be sure to fill you in on the experience.  In the meantime, don’t forget to check me out on twitter as well – @HKVancouver2010.

 

 

 

It’s Good to be Green

23 September 2009

A new tradition commenced yesterday at Hill & Knowlton across the globe.  It was our first ever, Green Day!… and let me tell you… the BC office really enjoyed the experience, in fact, it was both fun and delicious!

The BC office started the day by taking part in a ‘Green commute Challenge’ where all colleagues were encouraged to leave their car keys behind adn either bike, walk , bus, or in some cases, carpool to work!  With the weather being as fabulous as it has been, the walkers/runners and bikers had nothing but smiles and energy to start off their day, the carpoolers came in with giggles and a good morning chat under their belt, and the bussers were ahead of the game, having had the chance to read the paper on their way in.  All in all, it was a huge success, and possibly the beginning of a few changes to morning routines.

In celebration of our fabulous morning efforts, the team celebrated by enjoying a ‘100 Mile Potluck’ lunch together.  The focus of the 100 Mile lunch was to buy local food, within 100 miles of Vancouver – thus making small choices that make a big environmental impact.  We had Pemberton potato salad with BC Farm fresh eggs, local spicy pork, candied BC Salmon with local Vancouver figs, Vancouver beet salad wtih BC goat cheese, BC roasted chicken and veggies, and a garden salad to boot! 

As a result of today, we have collectively decided that it will need to be a regular routine and next month’s menu is already in the works!

… And We’re Off!

23 September 2009

The launch of the pep rallies has begun!  The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) commenced the beginnings of their cheerleading yesterday with their Paint the Town Red program… and don’t think for a second that the H&K Vancouver office wasn’t ALL OVER THAT!

The Paint the Town Red program is the first-ever team promotional campaign created to engage Canadians from coast to coast to coast to show their support and pride for the Canadian Olympic Team at our ‘Home Games’ in 2010.

It was a sea of red here in Vancouver yesterday – facepaint, streamers, balloons, paint cans… the works!  Athletes and COC spokespeople across the country were running from Global TV, CTV, The Globe and Mail, Breakfast Television… and the list goes on.  It was more than apparent yesterday, that the Olympics are truly on their way! 

GO CANADA!!