Cultural times in Canada

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Construction and upgrades on all sport competition venues for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have been completed on time and within the C$580m budget. Athletes are now training and competing in the venues in preparation for the Games.

The Vancouver 2010 sport venue programme is officially complete with the opening of the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre, the venue for curling and wheelchair curling events during the Games. John Furlong, VANOC's chief executive officer, said. "After years of teamwork and careful planning, together we've reached one of our biggest milestones. It's wonderful to see athletes now competing and testing these venues while youngsters and adults alike experience the legacies far in advance of the Games. "New competition venues for the 2010 Winter Games include the Richmond Olympic Oval, The Whistler Sliding Centre, University of British Columbia Thunderbird Arena, Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Park, Cypress Mountain, and the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre–one of the greenest curling venues in the world. Substantial upgrades were also made to existing facilities such as the Pacific Coliseum and Whistler Creekside. All the facilities and upgrades were planned to leave lasting legacies in their communities. Further enhancements will continue to be made to some venues after VANOC receives feedback from athletes and officials competing at them during sport events this season. Meanwhile, Cultural Olympiad 2009, presented by Bell – a multidisciplinary artistic showcase celebrating Canada's top creative talent – is hitting the road with its national touring programme featuring 12 artists in 35 locations and over 50 shows in cities large and small. With less than a year to go before the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Cultural Olympiad 2009 is branching out beyond British Columbia (BC) to bring the spirit and excitement of Canada's Games to communities across the country over the next few months. Performers include: the Alberta Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Hawksley Workman, Bell Orchestre, Beast, Asani, Lucie Idlout, Thunderheist, The Sadies, Manitoba MÉtis Music and Dance, K'NAAN and Shad. "We want all Canadians to feel they can share in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in their own hometowns, " said Robert Kerr, programme director, Cultural Olympiad, for VANOC. "Whether it's seeing the Olympic Flame during the Olympic Torch Relay or experiencing a performance by a great Canadian talent. These are Canada's Games and the Cultural Olympiad 2009 and 2010 festivals will share talented performers and artists with as many people as possible. "The performers and artists of Cultural Olympiad 2009 will travel widely, with stops ranging from Vancouver to Iqaluit to Chicoutimi, supported by their home provinces and territories (Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut), together with the government of Canada and Canada Council for the Arts. The tours will coincide with the more than 400 free and ticketed Cultural Olympiad 2009 performances and exhibitions at over 70 venues in Metro Vancouver and BC's Sea to Sky corridor from 1 February to 21 March. The festival includes music, dance, visual arts, literary arts, theatre, film and new media from BC, Canada and around the world. Next year, Cultural Olympiad 2010, presented by Bell, will be even larger in scope to both welcome the world and celebrate as the world's top athletes compete in Vancouver and Whistler. The National Presentation and Touring Programme will also grow in 2010, connecting the entire country with the cultural elements of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. For a full listing of tour dates, visit vancouver2010. com/culturalolympiad, and search Participating Acts for details.

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