Wednesday, February 10, 2010


First: some of today's coverage in the press:

The Province: Beautiful, bold Ice Gate takes life

Photo by Les Bazo.

The Vancouver Sun: Big Colourful wall of ice rises in Richmond

Photo by Ward Perrin.

The day began with an interview on Global TV; who'd been on the site since 4 AM, filming all the preparations for the opening of the OZone & the Torch Relay. In the plaza behind ICE GATE, a huge screen, under construction since yesterday, began flashing its colours and a whimsical art installation was placed above the steps. Everyone was in on this day.

Deliveries came and went with a frenzy to the Inniskillin tent across the laneway; we completed all the unfinished jobs: black skirting around the base; unwanted ice back in the reefer truck; squeeging, sweeping up, tucking under.

Ari, who drives the reefer truck, nearly hit a pole and then nearly knocked over two speakers with that huge truck. To say there was an air of excitement and a sense of exhaustion is an understatement.

By three o'clock Sunshine Coast dancers arrived en masse. About an hour later, the press began to set up.

Discovery Network, French-language CBC-TV; Coast Cable, Coast Reporter, photographers from The Vancouver Sun and Province, a contingent from the network that feeds footage to the international press.

Crowds gathered. The painting began to glow against the dusk. You could hear exclamations from people as they first had a glance at the colors.

As darkenss fell, Ted Townsend gave the signal that everything was ready.

Gerardo turned the music on, and the dancers began their flash mob creation to a joyful audience. In a spontaneous moment of pure joy, the dancers picked Gord up on their shoulders and carried him aloft the crowd.

When things settled down, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie made the introductions.

Gord was clearly moved by the outburst, and thanked his friends on the Sunshine Coast, the dancers especially. Then he thanked the crew, forgetting to mention Ari.

After the ribbon cutting, the crowd mingled - we saw lots of familiar faces; friends & family who had come to celebrate.

Inniskillin hosted wine tasting across the laneway.

Thousands of people streamed through past the artwork, pushing strollers, snapping photos.

The painting held up.

We turned right out of the parking lot and found ourselves in the Torch Relay parade! Here's one of the torch bearers, who posed in front of ICE GATE after her moment of handing on the flame.

At the crew dinner, Gord made endless toasts, hitting the glass with his spoon, as if he were at a wedding. The first was a double toast for Ari.

Thank you to the photographers who contributed photos to this day's blog: Al Burns, Kristy Stefanucci, Darcy Lawrence, Conor Halloran, Caitlin Hicks.

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