Credit: Granville

Vancouver is throwing the party of the decade, and everyone’s invited. Best of all, a lot of it is free

I don't know about you, but I probably won’t be attending any Olympics sporting events.

Sure, I’d love to see “amateurs” like the Sedin twins and their Swedish teammates Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson face off against Canada’s own Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla.

But I didn’t win the ticket lottery. (I guess it’s true what they say—you can’t win if you don’t play.) And I’m not holding my breath for the speculation bubble to burst: as of press time, Craigslist scalpers were still demanding $2,500 a ticket for hockey gold.

Even if, like me (and 83 percent of BC residents, according to a September Innovative Research Group survey), you’re likely to pass on the whole sports thing, that’s no excuse for letting those 17 days in February pass you by. The fact is, Vancouver is throwing the party of the decade; everyone’s invited, and best of all, a lot of it is free.

When else are you going to have a chance to catch acts like Akhe, the Russian experimental theatre group, whose White Cabin promises “countless absurd, inspired, bizarre and often touching ‘events’”? I have no idea what that means, but I’m willing to bet the $30 admission price that it beats sitting on the couch.

If you’d rather get intimate with your own city, 20 bucks will book you a tour with The Miss Guides, an outfit billing itself as “a cultural walking collective.” In its capable hands, you’ll be led on “a one-hour walking tour focusing on the historical and present-day roles of drinking establishments in the city’s psyche.” The best part? Said examination of drinking’s effect on the psyche includes first-hand research.

If you’re a true connoisseur of interactive live theatre involving drinking, you can’t miss The Candahar on Granville Island. Billed as “part sculpture, part theatrical stage,” it’s a meticulously re-created Irish pub, with improv actors manning a functioning bar. That’s one examination of drinking’s effects on the psyche that I won’t want to miss.

OK, so drinking as a form of artistic expression isn’t for everybody. If you prefer, you can get down to some good old-fashioned partying at any of the dozens of national “houses” sprinkled around the city and environs. (Holland’s Heineken House at the Richmond end of the Canada Line promises to be a particularly hot draw.)

This is just a smattering from among the hundreds of once-in-a-lifetime performances, exhibits and events that you’re not likely to find listed in the officially sanctioned press releases. But thanks to this, Granville’s special-edition secret insider guide to the Olympics, you won’t miss out on the fun.


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