VANCOUVER, Nov. 4 /CNW/ - Bienvenue and welcome to Canada's Games in 2010! In exactly 100 days from now, visitors at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will enjoy a bilingual experience sharing in one of the world's largest sporting and cultural events.
The Games offer an unprecedented opportunity for Canada to showcase its linguistic duality and unique cultural diversity as it welcomes more than 80 countries, 30 of which are francophone nations. Whether at home watching the spectacular Opening Ceremonies of the Games on TV or in a front-row seat at the thrilling gold medal ice hockey showdowns, French and English will be an integral ingredient in everything leading up to and during the Games, including colour commentary at sport events.
In a public awareness campaign launched today, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has created a downloadable brochure and information kit available at www.vancouver2010.com/bilingualexperience outlining how the Games will offer services in both French and English to spectators, media, athletes, and dignitaries. Both are official languages of Canada, as well as the Olympic Movement.
"What does this bilingual experience really mean? It means that all Canadians and international visitors will be able to hear, see, touch, and feel the celebration of both of our official languages throughout the Games. This is our promise to Canadians and all visitors to our country during the Games," explained Donna Wilson, VANOC's executive vice president of people and sustainability.
"Whether you speak English, French or both, the 2010 Winter Games will make Canadians proud of our athletes and their accomplishments and instil a sense of national pride as we give the world a truly world-class welcome."
Already, Games fans can follow the journey of the Olympic Flame, read the latest VANOC news, purchase Games tickets and publications, and apply as a volunteer in 2010 in French or English at www.vancouver2010.com.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay will also be a bilingual experience. Arriving in Quebec next Tuesday, November 10, in the northern Quebec community of Kuujjuaq, the Olympic Flame will be carried by 1,800 torchbearers and visit 195 communities and places of interest, including 11 Aboriginal communities during three separate visits to the province during the relay. The flame will visit Quebec first in early November, then for an extended period from November 29 to December 12 and again on December 31 where it will ring in the new year in Val-d'Or. The relay will also visit francophone communities across the country. VANOC has provided content in both official languages for the nearly 200 torch relay community celebrations across Canada.
Enjoying the 2010 Winter Games from home in both official languages is easier than ever thanks to a variety of platforms. With radio, cable and satellite television, mobile platforms and web resources, Canadians can enjoy every moment in either French or English. Athletes can also enjoy their 2010 experience in French or English, from medical services to the daily newssheet for the athletes' villages.
In the Host Region, spectators to the Games in February and March 2010 will be greeted by Vancouver 2010's 3,500 strong team of helpful bilingual staff (just look for workforce members wearing the "Bonjour" pin), as well as outside signage and venue wayfinding in both languages. Cultural Olympiad events throughout the Host Region of the Games and nightly Victory Ceremonies will also feature some of the country's top francophone and anglophone artists.
"We are also striving to celebrate the bilingual experience at the Games by working with francophone communities and organizations across Canada, as well as the Government of Canada," Wilson said. "Over the last several years of working with our francophone partners, we've helped make connections and bring people together, which is what the Olympic Spirit is all about. I'm confident these new connections will remain strong as a lasting legacy of these Games."
A print advertisement campaign is underway themed A Portrait of Our Linguistic Duality/Un portrait de notre dualité linguistique to support this public awareness campaign and is running in The Ottawa Citizen, The Montreal Gazette, and Gesca Ltée's publications: including La Presse, Le Soleil, Le Droit, Le Quotidien, Le Nouvelliste, La Tribune and La Voix de L'Est, as well as Cyberpresse.ca.
In support of a truly bilingual experience at the 2010 Winter Games, VANOC has executed a number of Games' firsts, including:
- Signing a convention in August 2009 for the promotion of French at
the Games with Pascal Couchepin, Grand Témoin de la Francophonie,
that contains two major firsts: the extension of the Grand Témoin's
mission to include both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the
creation of a linguistic legacy through the production of a guide
that lays out best practices for ensuring bilingualism at the Games.
This knowledge will be passed on to subsequent Organizing Committees
for use at future Games after 2010.
- The creation of a VANOC board advisory committee on official
languages in March 2009, which includes prominent French Canadians
with a proven track record and expertise in the field of
bilingualism, as well as Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former prime
minister of France.
- The creation of an Official Languages function at VANOC, one of more
than 50 functions within the Organizing Committee, that focuses on
collaboration with francophone communities across Canada and promotes
both languages at VANOC to capitalize on nation building potential.
- Signing of collaborative protocol in 2006 with the Canadian
Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue and the Fédération des
francophones de la Colombie-Britannique. This protocol stipulates the
French communities will provide VANOC with the support needed to
deliver on its official languages commitments, particularly in
volunteer recruitment, cultural and educational programs.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Please visit www.vancouver2010.com for more information.
SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Sébastien Théberge, VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-2261, E-mail: email@example.com