Late October 2009 Jason received a call from one of our supplier’s who deals with recycled tires and process them into puzzle pieces that then can be used for driveways, walkways, patios. They are ideal for around pools and kids play areas because they are a softer surface then brick, concrete or asphalt.
We have installed them in massive projects at the Toronto Zoo, The Hamptons and Woodbine Raceway.
But this call was something much bigger.
By late November 2009 it was official…we were going to The Olympics!!!!
We jumped on a plane for a 2 day trip to Vancouver to explore the site and make the necessary arrangements. Our jaws dropped when we saw the site and understood the magnitude of the project. However that was nothing compared to what we accomplished in the coming weeks.
Flying home we knew we were going to be a part of something special.
The season wrapped up for us in Ontario and 3 weeks later we were back in Vancouver and ready to install over one hundred thousand square feet of recycled 4 way interlocking puzzle pieces that made up the outdoor floor of LIVE CITY.
Live City when finished was going to be the place to be during the Olympics with nightly entertainment, sponsor’s pavilions and the joining of community and cultures. But first it had to be transformed from a park on the water with rolling hills into a huge platform with a stable and relatively flat base.
Hundreds of thousands of gravel fill was trucked in and dumped over top of huge plastic tarps and then levelled.
You see after the games it was the mandate by the city that the park be restored. So everything had to be removed and recycled once the XXI Olympic and Para Olympic Games were finished.
And that is where we show up.
Everything was supposed to be ready for us upon our second duty. One of the things Wellington Landscapes prides itself is in the base preparation of our projects. It takes a lot longer to prepare something properly but we would rather do it right once then to have come back and fix it.
We understood that a base in final grade is different to a lot of people.
Imagine showing up to a project that we believed would be flat, instead had rolling waves like a day at the beach.
One of our beliefs at Wellington is there are no problems only solutions. So a few hundred waves were not going to stop us.
Jason jumped in a back hoe and started grading the floor and along with 20 hired hands we started the tedious job of laying down the recycled 4 way lockers. Hopefully it was square to some imaginary buildings that were going to be constructed after we left.
The job was rather tedious and challenging at times but we believed we were doing our very small part of something special.
After 5 days of chilly rainy weather, interesting employees, a Canucks game(thanks Jim), some live music and crazy stories we accomplished our initial requirements of installing 90% of the base that would be used for Live City.
We were off to explore Whistler(more crazy stories) for a day before heading back home to enjoy Christmas.
And we would return to put the finish touches of the flooring around the water grates, cooking areas and 4 massive pavilions that still had to be erected.
We returned late January 2010 and upon landing there was a nervous feeling. People were quiet. Unsure. Anxious.
They were 2 weeks away from the biggest show on earth and the people didn’t know what was going to happen. The cab driver we rode in from the airport wasn’t sure if he would make any money. People were leaving the city and it was quiet.
The next day we arrived on site to organized chaos. Thousands of contractors were scurrying around trying to finish a massive project.
And then we heard from Jim, the foreman. There was a problem with our base.
You see after the massive pavilions were erected a huge transport truck turned severely on our base. And because the flooring wasn’t finished and nothing was holding it together, it torqued a massive line in our prelaid flooring. There was at least a quarter of our base that had to be fixed. Not to mention the hours of cutting we had to do to finish the project.
Oh well time to get to work.
We cut into the flooring to make the torque disappear and everything became flat and then it was time to start cutting to make the pavilions look outstanding. The buildings cost at least 10 million each and we were dam sure they would shine next to our flooring.
By the 2nd day we were exhausted. Each piece weighed 80 pounds and we had to lift to mark and then lift to our cutting table(a skid) and then lift back to put it into place. We had lifted over 48 ton that day and we felt it that night.
Barely getting dinner into our bellies before falling asleep.
The next 7 days were full of employees disappearing, foreman to busy and scared(not sure if Live City would be completed or how it would look to really ) to really be concerned with our problems and hours of cutting stinky recycled rubber.
In the end it didn’t matter we finished what we had set out to accomplish. To create something unique that millions of people around the world would have experienced a little bit of what we did. And it didn’t matter that we were credited with any of this. Our names wouldn’t be placed in the lights.
It wasn’t about that. It was about doing our part, however small it was in the grand scheme of things. We could feel proud of what we accomplished. And just to make sure we did our part in carrying on the Canadian tradition. We placed our business card and a lucky looney underneath a rubber piece dead center in Live City.
The last few nights we were in Vancouver the city started to respond. Outside of our hotel room at night you could hear the now familiar Nikki Yanofsky song I BELIEVE that was enveloping the city.
After returning home we eagerly awaited. In a few short days the Olympics would start and Live City would be operational. And except for the first tragic day and some minor protest interruptions the XXI Olympics and Para Olympic games were a smashing hit. Jacques Roggue, the president of IOC, indicated that”the way Vancouver embraced these Games were extradordinary. This is really something unique and has given a great atmosphere for these games.”
And witnessing Alexandre Bilodeau winning the first gold medal on Canadian soil and hugging his brother Frederic, Jon Montgomery’s gold medal beer celebration in Whistler, the amazing comeback of the women’s hockey team gold medal and of course Syndney’s golden goal. It was an epic celebration of Canadian pride.
And the place to be during the 17 day celebration was Live City. Sue Harvey, City of Vancouver explains, “This was “THE” place to be in Vancouver during the XXI Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games. Five Currents successfully created sites that felt Olympic and offered consistent Olympic branding, while entertaining and wowing crowds and our sponsors on a nightly basis.”
It still gives us shivers thinking about our experience and our little input into the best Olympic games ever.