There are some Februarys in Vancouver, while growing up, when I can remember wearing shorts and watching plants flowering, therefore with the latest news that the Vancouver Olympic Committee have just closed Cypress Mountain to regular skiers/boarders to preserve snow, it should not come as a surprise. Cypress is sometimes better known to locals by its old name Cypress Bowl (just see how it looks in the middle of this panoramic below to see why). Just this morning, that warmer weather rolled into Montreal too, meaning we are hovering around 0-2 degrees Celsius instead of the habitual -10/15.
This is just a temporary glitch before the Olympics arrive and I believe Plan B is sufficient - as thoroughly described here by the Globe and Mail, Canada's premier newspaper. In a few weeks, a real cold snap could hit and since there is so much precipitation on what is often know as the Rain Coast (Seattle suffers from this too), snow could easily return in abundance. Another glitch just mentioned in the Canadian Media is the fact that Intrawest (owners of Whistler-Blackcomb resort ), after having defaulted on several loan payments - Tourism also hit hard by the Global Recession - is up for auction! Just as the Olympics has arrived to save the resort town, the owners of the main hills are going out of business...
A very common confusion for visitors to British Columbia, justifiably, is the fact that Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island. Victoria is the capital of BC and is located on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island, while Vancouver is on what is known as the Lower Mainland (or more commonly being called Sea to Sky Country, after the famous Highway 99). Railroad Baron and Canadian Pacific Railway President Sir William Cornellius Van Horne, late in the nineteen century, used his clout to convince Vancouver city councillors that Granville (one of the City’s main streets still), the city’s original name, would not be as much of an attraction marketing-wise to get the potential settlers out West on the train across the country if the already known Vancouver title wasn’t employed. Perhaps also, Van Horne’s Dutch ancestry motivated him, since the great English explorer Capitain George Vancouver’s grand parents were from Coevorden in Friesland, a city my Father and I visited whilst living in Brussels, Belgium - a place I can recommend all Vancouverites to visit.
For official information from the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) please see their site.
To enjoy a time lapse video of Vancouver's City Scape check out Linda Ganzini's great work.