Going to the O Zone

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
February 4th, 2010

With close to 350,000 tourists expected to descend upon Vancouver, Whistler and Richmond for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) joined forces with the rest of the Kootenays to proudly display local attractions at the O Zone. The display and the volunteers who are helping promote the region were brought together by the partners supporting the initiative: RDKB, Regional District Central Kootenay, Regional District of East Kootenay, First Nations, Columbia Power, Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association, and chambers of commerce in communities around the area.

Two years ago the central Kootenays and the RDKB had a booth promoting the region at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference and was again set up at last year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities conference. While at the UBCM, the City of Richmond approached the booth and invited them to put together a display at the upcoming Olympics.

“We discussed the opportunity and decided it was something that all the regional districts could get involved with. There’s a 2 0 x 40 foot tent we will have (for the display),” said Marguerite Rotvold, chair of the RDKB. “The O Zone is one of the “places to go” during the Olympics. We thought it would be a good opportunity for people that are attending the Olympics to promote the Kootenays with all of us working together.”

The three regional districts have each contributed $15,000 towards the project along with additional funding coming from the CBT, Columbia Power, Kootenay Rockies Tourism and other contributions. Volunteers include mayors, city councils, and organization staff to staff the booth through the two week time the Zone will be open. None of the volunteers will receive any funding for travel or expenses except for one hotel room that was pre-booked. The region felt that the opportunity of the Olympic experience is a good chance for communities looking to enhance a global reputation with regional showcases and offer local tourist and business opportunities.

In total, 82 communities from every corner of the province will be showcased at BC Street at the Richmond O Zone, the most comprehensive interactive provincial exhibit during the event.

“On behalf of the City of Richmond, I’m happy to welcome the over 80 communities from throughout British Columbia that have accepted our invitation to be part of BC Street at the Richmond O Zone,” says Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “We believe providing a showcase for all the great communities and regions of British Columbia is an important part of our programming mix at the O Zone, and I believe many visitors from around the world who visit the O Zone will be astounded at all British Columbia has to offer.”

Starting on Feb. 12 and running until the end of the Games, BC Street will showcase seven regions of the province each with their own unique pavilion: Vancouver Coast & Mountains, the Cariboo Regional District, Comox Valley, Sooke, South Okanagan-Similkameen, the District of Tofino and the Kootenay Rockies.

Designed to highlight a slice of “Beautiful British Columbia” within a one-block radius for Olympic Games attendees and media representatives from around the globe, BC Street is a chance to experience the attributes and unique characteristics of seven regions of the province. During the Olympic Games local mayors, artists, athletes, eco-tourism representatives will also be on hand to offer expert knowledge and excellent stories on all that British Columbia has to offer.

BC Street is a FREE attraction and will be open daily during the Games, Feb. 12 to 28, 3:00pm – 11:00pm weekdays and 12:00pm – 11:00pm weekends. For more information visit: http://www.richmondozone.ca.

Categories: General