If you need definitive proof that time flies, here’s a reminder: it was an incredible 10 years ago this month that British Columbia staged the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The 16-day, 82-nation spectacle—and the brilliant Paralympic Games that followed—was a flag-waving street party of amazing sports and heartwarming camaraderie that brought the region to life like never before.
And if you’re keen to rediscover that vibe one more time, the Richmond Olympic Oval—an official 2010 venue that staged 12 speed skating medal events during the Games—is hosting a unique three-day anniversary celebration this month. Entry is free and there’s a gold medal-winning array of family-friendly activities to dive into.
Running from February 21 to 23, 2020, the celebration’s glittering line-up includes some highly evocative 2010 reminders. There will be special appearances and autograph-signing sessions with a host of Canadian Olympic athletes. And you’ll also have a chance to snap your own selfies on a genuine Olympic podium—replica 2010 torch and medals included.
In addition, you can show off your own sporting skills (and live out your dream of participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics) at some free-entry public skating sessions. You can even lace-up and learn speed skating!
As well, the crew behind the CARHA Hockey World Cup—a gigantic, 140-team international recreational hockey event that’s coming to the Richmond Oval in late March—will be hosting its own onsite activities, including a cool interactive kids zone.
The Richmond Olympic Oval was an official 2010 Olympic Winter Games venue. | Photo: Mark Whitehead
Catch some sports action
You don't have to wear skates to have a good time here, though. There will also be some excellent sporting action to watch from the sidelines during the Olympic celebration. That includes entertaining displays from Richmond-based Connaught Skating Club—the second oldest in Canada—in which young figure skaters will display their skills (watch for a future Olympian or three).
And if you’d really love to relive the heart-pumping thrills of the 2010 Olympic hockey games, there are three exciting exhibition matches to watch here as well. On each of the celebration days, the Canadian Women’s National Para Ice Hockey team will face off against their USA counterparts—the perfect opportunity to paint a maple leaf on your face and wrap yourself in a huge flag!
A glimpse inside the Richmond Olympic Oval. | Photo: Mark Whitehead
Memorabilia and More
Make sure you also schedule time to explore the Olympics in greater depth during your visit. Located on the Oval’s third level, the Olympic Experience is the first North American member of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Museums Network. And while this fascinating sporting attraction hooks visitors year-round, entry during the Olympic celebration is free (on Friday and Saturday only). You can explore displays of shimmering Olympic medals and historic torches through the ages here, at the same time as testing yourself on five high-tech simulator rides including bobsleigh and ski jumping.
Torches from 2010 and beyond are displayed at the Olympic Experience. | Photo: Richmond Olympic Oval
Many of the volunteers at the Olympic Experience have their own fond memories of 2010, and they’re more than happy to chat about the event. Just make sure that before you leave, you check out the Olympic mascots exhibit here. There’s a full-size Sumi costume—the 2010 Paralympics mascot—plus reminders of Miga and fan-favourite Quatchi, the Sasquatch that everyone wanted to hug.
An Olympic mascot exhibit inside the Olympic Experience. | Photo: Richmond Olympic Oval
Explore the Building
Make sure you also explore the landmark Richmond Olympic Oval building itself. Located alongside the Fraser River, this grand structure—its arched roof features distinctively-patterned BC wood reclaimed from mountain pine beetle infestation—is a rare example of an Olympic venue that’s still in full-time use today.
The Oval’s ice sheets are ever-busy with teams and individual users while its other facilities—for sports that include basketball, rowing, table tennis, and more—are equally well utilized. The legacy venue has also evolved greatly since the 2010 Games: its onsite cinema is part of the upcoming Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, for example, while a much-anticipated new climbing wall (Metro Vancouver’s tallest) is scheduled to open here in March.
But it’s that unique Olympic connection that still brings many visitors through the doors—and many more will roll in for the upcoming 2010 anniversary celebrations. It’s a great chance to relive BC’s undeniably joyful Games, when Canadians sung the national anthem on the SkyTrain, the friendly streets were filled with flags from countless nations, and everyone partied as if they’d just won their own personal gold medal.
The entrance to the Richmond Olympic Oval. | Photo: Tourism Richmond
If You Go
The Richmond Olympic Oval’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration is on from Friday, February 21 to Sunday, February 23, 2020.
Friday, February 21: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday, February 22: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sunday, February 23: 10:00am – 2:00pm
To check the full schedule of events and activities over the three days, visit the Oval’s dedicated event page. Admission to this event is free; skate and helmet rentals are extra (if required). The Richmond Olympic Oval is located at 6111 River Road.