On August 12th 2012, the curtain will fall on the London Summer Olympics. Much has been said about the legacy of the games and how it could benefit the city and its population, but only time will tell if this can be achieved.
One place London could learn from is Whistler in British Columbia, Canada. The resort was host to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and they are proud of the lasting impact the events have had.
With a vastly improved highway, two brand new competition venues, Whistler Olympic Plaza, the Athletes’ Village housing complex and the lifelong memories gained from hosting the world, Whistler will never be the same.
One of the most scenic highways in the world, the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, received many upgrades in preparation for the Games. The route is now straighter with more passing lanes and turn-outs. The breathtaking scenery stays the same but the route is now faster, wider, safer and more convenient.
After the Games, the Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park are now used for local sports and recreation, public tours, special events and high-calibre competitions such as World Cups. Whistler Olympic Plaza brings a new social gathering place to Whistler Village where residents and visitors alike can watch live music and theatre in the band shell, have a picnic on the expansive lawn or play a game of catch or Frisbee.
The Athletes' Village neighbourhood is now home to Whistler residents as an affordable housing complex. Also in the area is a brand new youth hostel and high performace gym with lodging for athletes in training. Located at the south end of Whistler, the complex has spectacular views and is a cozy community for Whistler employees.
From working and volunteering with the Games to welcoming people from all over the world into their homes with the Homestay program, Whistler’s vibrant community is forever changed by this once-in-a-lifetime experience.