Canada Day 2010 saw Vancouverites doing what we love to do: coming together to play and celebrate being a community. Community celebrations like Canada Day are one example of what Mark Lakeman of City Repair in Portland, Oregon calls “placemaking” where people claim their space in their community.
Lakeman defines “placemaking” as “being as much about psychological ownership and reclamation of space as it is about physically building a place. Creating a common ground that transcends the differences among people powerfully addresses isolation and creates an environment where people feel like they can do anything they set their collective minds to.”
As well as community celebrations, other examples of placemaking in Vancouver are community gardens, car-free days, regular rallies and protests, blocks-long neighbourhood potlucks, critical mass bike rides, First Nations ceremonies, and on and on.
Street performers, events, food vendors, lineups, and crowds re-created the atmosphere of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics during Canada Day 2010 at Canada Place.
The whole diverse complexity of humanity that defines Vancouver, came to play: thousands of people all deeply grounded in the fullness of their own lives coming together to create a unified place in time of celebrating together as one community.
One exciting event was the relighting of the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron at the Jack Poole Plaza.
During the Olympics, the cauldron became Vancouver’s version of “Free Willie” because of its inaccessibility behind a chain-link fence. On Canada Day, it was free. People gathered close to connect with it and claim it.
Of course, it would not be Canada Day without mention of what, in part, defines our Canadian identity, which is the game! A good number of people came out to re-live Sidney Crosby's Olympic, game-winning, men’s hockey goal against the United States in overtime. The last night of the Olympics, Vancouver crowds boisterously celebrated the hockey win for hours. The magic and magnificence of hockey’s golden era was re-lived in Crosby’s winning goal.
Yesterday at Canada Day, the crowd’s reaction to the winning goal was the same: happy joy.