2010 Flashback: Community living rooms court Olympic-minded guests

Kitsilano, Dunbar, Riley Park community centres will broadcast Games

With the 10th anniversary of Vancouver hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics upon us, we are looking back at some of the stories that were making the news in the Courier during those 17 days in February.

This story was originally published Feb. 12, 2010

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Canadian bacon cheeseburgers and Canadian maple cookie crumble sundaes will be on the menu tonight as the Kitsilano Community Centre welcomes residents to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Lorelei Lauten, recreation programmer for the centre, 2690 Larch St., said staff wanted to give the opening of the facility’s Olympic Community Living Room a party atmosphere to get the word out.

“We want to attract as many people as possible for the opening,” she said.

Kitsilano Community Centre, in conjunction with Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, is one of 30 locations, including 23 community centres and several neighbourhood houses, inviting neighbours to drop in and watch Olympic and Paralympic Games events together during the next month.

Last October, the Courier reported every community centre in the city would receive a 50-inch plasma TV and $1,000 to create community living rooms in time to watch the opening ceremonies. The TVs were provided by the Vancouver Host City organizing group, which falls under VANOC.

Lauten said after tonight, staff will allow the public to dictate which sporting event they want to watch.

For example, she said, if there’s a lot of interest in curling, the TV will be programmed for those events. She notes special evenings will be organized for the big events, such as gold medal hockey, curling and figure skating.

Today’s free event begins at 2 p.m. at Kits Neighbourhood House with programs for children, such as flag making, and then the participants will parade over to the community centre for a free skate and to watch the opening ceremonies from 6 to 9 p.m.

Over at the Dunbar Community Centre, 4747 Dunbar St., staff there is expecting up to 250 people to drop by the community living room to watch the opening ceremonies tonight. Sophie Noel, recreation programmer for the centre, said Dunbar Memorial Pre-school and the Dunbar Business Improvement Association are helping out by supplying arts and crafts, balloons and food.

Across town at the Riley Park Community Centre, 50 East 30th Ave., a small, well used programming room is decorated in red and white in anticipation of tonight’s opening ceremonies.

Bruce McLellan, recreation programmer for the centre, expects up to 30 people to attend the community living room to watch the big ticket events like figure skating. Considering Riley Park is located right across the road from the Olympic curling rink at Hillcrest Park, it’s likely the community centre will be also be a popular place to watch curling.

McLellan said the community living rooms provide an alternative who want to avoid sports bars and drinkers. For a complete list of community living rooms, visit vancouver.ca.

sthomas@vancourier.com

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