Olympics turn Vancouver into Funcouver

Vancouver appears to be literally bursting with Olympic activity.

Nineteen people were hurt Tuesday night when a fan surge caused a barricade to collapse during a free concert by Canadian band Alexisonfire at a downtown park. No one is sure why the barrier failed, because it’s been used in the park for 20 years, said city manager Penny Ballem.

Not to make light of the injuries, but maybe it’s because the city itself isn’t used to this much enthusiasm. Vancouver is a city where, until recently, you couldn’t get a drink in most of the restaurants after midnight. Yes, it has a liberal approach to marijuana, clothing-optional beaches and a serious foodie scene, but public parties are few and very far between.

But on the first day of the Games, more than $5 million was spent in the city on everything from hotels to clothes. The traditional Vancouver uniform of Gore-Tex and yoga pants has been replaced by red and white everything. Line-ups have become common place as people try to take in as many of the sights as possible, be it the Russian pavilions or even the Olympic superstore.

John Furlong, head of the Vancouver Olympics, recently quipped how unusual that was for Vancouver. Canadians are a people, he said, who if there’s a line for the movie they want to see, they just pick another movie.

Maybe this is the first show that really isn’t worth missing.

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