Burns and a’

9 04 2009

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The picture above is Canada from the air – and what a sight.   For most of the flight there was a clear view of the land (and lakes) below .   The scale is vast and, as you can see, winter is still here.

But Spring has come to Vancouver.   There is blossom on the trees even if, as everywhere in world, when we got there we were told “You should have been here yesterday !”   Today is overcast and ,we are told, tomorrow it is going to rain.

None the less the city feels balmy compared to the snow flurries of Toronto.  We even sat outside to have coffee between arriving at the airport and our first scheduled appointment at Simon Fraser University.   The event there was a symposium on Robert Burns and his transatlantic importance and I felt privileged to deliver my take on Burns, the Diaspora and Scottish culture,img_4180 especially as the audience included a number of distinguished Scottish academics.    I was sorry I had to leave after a brisk and informative question and answer but fortunately I will meet the participants again tomorrow when I speak at the closing reception of the trip, hosted by the University and SDI.

Then it was on to meet the President and CEO of the Winter Olympics, Philip Steenkamp.  The Winter Olympics open here on February 15th next year and preparations are well in hand.  In fact it is the first Olympic venue ever to have the infrastructure completed a year in advance.   The purpose of the meeting was to discuss legacy – a key element of an major sporting event now.   Work is well underway on the Glasgow 2014 Legacy Plan and it was interesting to hear the Vancouver take on what they were trying to do with the community and in culture.   I got lots of food for thought.img_4197

Prior to the photocall with Mr Steenkamp we had scouted the balcony of Canada Place ( which houses a Cruise Liner dock as well as the World Trade Centre) and it seemed a good place for a team photo – so here is the team with the North Shore in the background.

Now we are all waiting for the float plane to take  us to Victoria , on Vancouver Island.   It will be my first time in a floatplane and I am looking forward to it; even if those who run the terminal have a taste in muzak that runs from Tom Jones to Norah Jones (all off which is playing in my ears as  I write this.)

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