Ferrari Design At Coal Harbour Green

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A Vancouverite recently described Coal Harbour as the "Park Avenue of Vancouver." The concentrated downtown core neighborhood overlooks the city's main harbor, Stanley Park and the city's new - green-roofed - Convention Center which is currently called the Olympic Broadcast Center. Right now, it also boasts exceptional views of the Olympic Cauldron, lit by Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky on Opening night of Winter Olympics 2010.

The talk of the town these days is that now that the up-and-coming city, which likes to describe itself as the "world's most livable city," (and many, including The Economist magazine, concur with this) will finally enter the ranks of world-class cities having enjoyed a month in the sun of Olympic spotlight and action.

Another interesting murmur coming up from the crowd is that there is hope that Vancouver will now attract more European investment, to complement the overflowing Asian, predominantly Chinese, investment the town has enjoyed in recent years. Locals' nickname for the city is Van Hong, which puts into perspective the amount of overseas Asian investment that has been lavished on Vancouver in recent years.

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View from a Coal Harbour Green Suite

Enter Harbour Green Place.  It is a stunning $1 billion, three-tower development that seeks to attract the world's rich and famous. It will offer a communal Ferrari for residents of Coal Harbour Green to drive, among other super-luxe amenities.  The $200,000 kitchens are designed by Paolo Pininfarina, the Ferrari designer. Since August 12, 2008, he has been the acting Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A.

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Kitchen designed by Ferrari designer, Paolo Pininfarina

Green Blog Network asked Mr. Pininfarina what his thoughts were on sustainable design, and found that the designer had a lot to say on the subject:

Paolo Pininfarina: Sustainability is the heart of design in 2010. It's a must.

GBN: Where do you see sustainable design going in the future?

PP: In the future sustainability will drive the creation of new products. It's a big part of the work of designers in the next 20 years.

GBN: Ferrari is symbolic of copious consumption.  Can this continue?

PP: We absolutely need to reduce consumption. In a city such as Vancouver, you don't feel it so much. But other parts of the world, you really notice the over demand on resources. Even the Chairman of Ferrari said we have to do something to reduce consumption. I am fortunate to be able to design in such a technological laboratory. We are orienting towards observing environmental cautiousness.

GBN: Can a quality product such as Ferrari also be designed to be sustainable?

PP: Designers are, by definition, creative people. Beautiful products are not enough. They must be beautiful and sustainable. There is an aesthetic to sustainability. For example, an ugly product is disturbing from an aesthetic point of view. There is a sustainable aesthetic to beauty.

GBN: What do you think of the Tesla?

PP: A  person who drives a Tesla is saying "I have the money to be sensible." We are looking for a more affordable approach. We'd like to design a zero emission vehicle that is affordable to more people.

Electric cars make good company cars. Companies who buy electric vehicles for their employees' use can be trendsetters. An EV is ideal for commuting between home and office. Then, if necessary, you have another vehicle, or a hybrid, for longer weekend journeys.

I see it evolving along the lines of the cell phone. The first breakthrough was when the company managers were provided cell phones. They used their mobiles in the car. Once that was established, then it was just a matter of time before everyone had a cell phone.

GBN: Can the populace at large, then, be conditioned to want to buy an EV or a hybrid?

PP: Certainly. It's a question of building out the infrastructure. There are models developing now where you can purchase the automobile and then rent the batteries.

GBN: And at Ferrari?

PP: Ferrari is a dream. At Ferrari we are selling dreams.

For more information about Paolo Pininfarina's kitchens designed for Coal Harbour Green, go to: Three Harbour Green  or ASPAC Developments.

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Olympic Medalist Makes History

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For the first time in Olympic history the games partnered with a luxury jewelry company as one of the sponsors of the world competitions. Birks & Mayors, Canada's iconic jewelry company, nearly as old as the country it has sprung from, has proved itself a Golden choice for this partnership.

Birks & Mayors,  along with Tiffany's, has been rated #1 by the internationally recognized Earthworks organization for their adherence to the Golden Rules, a set of social, environmental, and human rights principles that are part of the No Dirty Gold campaign which guides more responsible and ethically sourced gold production. "Responsible is beautiful" is their motto and the reasoning behind their multiple programs to give back to the environment and the community.

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Birks & Mayors, a "world-class brand with heart," has done more than simply gift 42,000 pieces of fine jewelry to the Olympic family, they have also stepped forward with designs commemorating the games, from charm bracelets fashioned with 3D replicas of the Olympic mascots, to pendants inspired by the Four Host First Nations artistic symbols, to a complete line of earrings, pendants and bracelets designed by Brand Ambassador and Olympic Silver Medalist, Canadian Jenn Heil.

Heil was asked by Birks & Mayors to not only be the brand ambassador for the Olympic games but also to design a line of jewelry. She chose to use the five rings of the Olympics as her design motif. Five percent of the proceeds from these pieces are donated to the Canadian Olympic Committee to benefit the Olympics and Paralympics.

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"Everyone at Birks & Mayors have been so behind me. Thanks to Birks for trusting me and giving me carte blanche when it came to designing the Olympic-inspired jewelry designs."

She explained that the five rings, each with a distinctive demarcation imprinted on the silver rings, symbolize:

1. Dream  - "It's important that we dream big and that we go after our dreams."
2. Focus - the design motif is like "a target."
3. Team - to symbolize that a great achievement such as the Olympics are a "team effort"
4. Courage - "It takes a lot of courage to go after our own dreams, carrying with us our own values."
5. Joy - "I constantly have this bubbling up feeling of joy with everything I do. That feeling of joy needs to come with me everywhere I go and with everything I do."

Heil spoke to an assembled crowd of journalists and dignitaries recently on a bright Vancouver morning.

Mr. Thomas Andruskevich, President and CEO of Birks & Mayors, said to Heil, "You not only won the Medal, you won the hearts of all Canadians."

The Honorable Gary Lunn, Minister of State Sport & 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games, said, "The relationship we've had with Birks is amazing. They've been very involved in the torch celebration. Fifteen million Canadians came out at some point along the torch relay to welcome it here in Canada. Birks made the commemorative plaques that now mark the route all across our country." He also had nothing but great esteem for Heil, of whom he said, "A more genuine human being as you'd ever like to meet."

Heil's values match those of the iconic Birk's: playful, stylish, fluid fun. And ethical. In 2003 Birks subscribed to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a commitment to the long-term sustainability of Canada's Boreal region. In addition, their Mammoth Tusk Gold program, "includes partnering with the local mining community and respecting their right to engage, with self determination, in every aspect of the mining operation.  This initiative is not only a pledge but a certified operational business practice unique to Birks."

For More Information About the Green Gold Standard, Read Here.

In addition, Canada's North West Territories are the world's third largest producer of rough-cut diamonds. They are clean diamonds, as opposed to much of Africa's "blood diamonds." In 2008 over $2 billion diamonds were produced from the region.  Read More Here about North West Territory Diamonds.

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Whistler Wins With Biodiversity

Lindsey Vonn Wins Gold at Whistler Blackcomb 2010 Winter Olympics

Lindsey Vonn, who just moments ago took Olympic Gold for the U.S. in women's downhill skiing, did so up at Whistler-Blackcomb mountain.  She started from the No. 17 position and  completed the long, 2,939-metre course in one minute, 44.19 seconds. She was 0.56 seconds ahead of her teammate Julia Mancuso, who was the 10th skier down, and a full 1.46 seconds ahead of the bronze medal winner Elisabeth Goergl of Austria.

Whistler plays host during these 2010 Winter Olympics to some of the most exciting sports of the competitive games:  Bobsleigh, Luge and  Men's and Women's downhill Alpine skiing and .  It bills itself as the "best ski and snowboard resort in North America."  It is also playing host mountain resort for the Paralympic games.

Whistler Blackcomb Ski Runs

Locals will ask, "You know what they say about Whistler?" And then they'll tell you: "The billionaires kicked out the millionaires."

Whistler-Blackcomb is celebrating more than the Olympics this year. It is also celebrating the International Year of  Biodiversity in 2010.  Residents from the local Resort Municipality of Whistler are working to reduce biodiversity loss and protect habitats.

Biodiversity is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities. This weakens the ability living systems, upon which we depend, to provide us with food, fuel, medicine and other life essentials.

Whistler has a biodiversity challenge. You can check it out at: Whistler

And if you are a skiier as well as an Olympic enthusiast, keep in mind that more than 90 per cent of Whistler Blackcomb's terrain will remain open to recreation skiers during  the Olympic Games.

The Olympics' participating countries and also Canada's Provinces are all hosting hospitality houses for the athletes, their friends, families and fans.  Today is Alberta Day and the Province is running the Alberta Train from Vancouver to Whistler every day during the games, to help eliminate CO2 emissions from vehicle exhaust pipes that might otherwise be driven up and down the mountain.  Home to more than just the country's repository of Natural Gas reserves, Alberta's cities of Calgary and Edmonton both have healthy environmental agendas.  In addition, the Alberta House in Vancouver has been built with environmentally friendly design. The reclaimed wood lattices that adorn the outside of the building will all be donated and re-purposed once the building is turned back over to the original owner. The owner, a native Albertan, is also pleased with the interior upgrades the House designers bestowed on her business; upgrades that will be left intact once the Olympic Team packs up and leaves.

Whistler's Austrian Passive House

Austria has gone all out up in Whistler with its hospitality house.  It built the Austria Passive House as one of only 12 passive houses in all of North America.  Their mission, "to enable the future with the help of innovative and ecological ideas."

Your task is not to foresee the future but to enable it.   - Antoine de Saint Exupery

The 2,700 square foot house was inspired by traditional building of the country's Alpine Regions, is a south-facing structure and is covered with a gable roof. The passive house was built using ecologically sustainable materials and without any glues, using instead diagonally dowelled fir structures.

The patented DD-Diagonal Dowel system is an example of the superb craftsmanship on display throughout the house. Natural insulating materials such as cork and sheep's wool are used for the houses, windows and doors are made out of wood. These factors contribute to the top-quality ventilating system that's at the core of every APG house and offers a "climatic spa" healthy living environment.

The Austria House was built as a "Legacy House" meaning that after the Olympic games are over, it will be handed over to the Resort Municipality of Whistler to become the home of the Whistler Nordic Ski club and the Whistler Outdoor Recreational Cycling Association (WORCA) in the summer.  The Austrian Passive House Group and the Resort Municipality of Whistler worked together to develop this Legacy House.  It expects to be a role model in Canada insofar as the house's energy efficiency goes and claims to represent an "archetype of ecological architecture."

And over on that Other Mountain (Cypress)

Everyone tuned into the Olympics is excitedly anticipating U.S. Snowboarding magi Shaun White's upcoming run later today. On Monday, America's Seth Wescott won, in an upset, the men's Olympic snowboard cross gold medal. Mike Robertson of Canada took Silver in the same competition.

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Canada Owns The - Gold - Podium



 Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada's Olympic Gold Medalist, First to Win Gold on Home Soil, Ever

Marking Olympic History, Alexandre Bilodeau is the first Canadian in history to win Olympic Gold on Canada's home soil.

"It will be a special moment tonite," says the Olympic Gold Medalist at a COC press conference today, referring to the Medal ceremonies. "Obviously I have goosebumps inside to touch an Olympic Gold Medal. I looked at Jenn's [Heil] medal  but I didn't touch it."

The humble and self-reflective Bilodeau credits his older brother, who suffers from cerebral palsy, with inspiring him. He says his brother wakes up with a big smile and goes to bed with a big smile. "Whenever I feel like complaining I just shut up and get on with it. My brother is such an example of perserverence and happiness," said Bilodeau. That perserverence has paid the young 23 year old has won Olympic Gold for Canada, on home soil, in downhill Mogul skiing. "This medal is for my brother," said Bilodeau.


 Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada's Olympic Gold Medalist

"The first Olympic Gold Medal for Canada is not worth more than the second or the third..."

In conjunction with the Canada Olympic Committee's Own The Podium program, a group of Canadian businessmen got together after Salt Lake City and formed B2Ten.  This B2Ten project is one of  private business mentoring and supporting a select group of elite athletes with the goal of winning Olympic and other world-class sports feats and medals.


B2ten supports athletes by providing access to training resources, support services and technology that  meet the specific needs of each athlete.

Since it’s inception in 2005, B2ten-supported athletes have delivered a long-list of World Cup, World Championship and Olympic medals for Canada.

 Bilodeau is quick to acknowledge the incredible support as an athlete he has received from both the B2Ten and Own The Podium programs, working in conjunction with the COC. Support came in the form of extra physio, massage, training, mentoring, and even bio-mechanic expertise.  And the business leaders who fund the B2Ten ask for nothing in return - no logos displayed on the athlete's uniforms, no formal or public recognition. They just ask that the athletes do their best. "I've been having cocktails with the biggest business leaders in Canada; people who themselves have thousands of people who work for them, who they are responsible for." He says this helped him prepare for the pressure of competing in the Olympics on behalf of his country. "I thought of that in preparing for my run down the mountain."  A run that won Bilodeau, and Canada, the first-ever Olympic Gold Medal on home ground.

Tonight, at B.C. Place when he is awarded his medal, he will be standing on a wooden podium harvested through sustainable forest management. The Province of British Columbia is a leader, worldwide, in sustainable forest management.  Each podium was assembled from more than 200 pieces and built from one of 18 different wood types donated by communities from all over the Province, including companies, individuals and First Nations. Twenty-three podiums will be at 11 venues.  There will be nightly ceremonies at B.C. Place to award the victors their Olympic Medals.

"It's just the beginning of a big party for me right now," acknowledges Bilodeau, who admitted to getting a whole 3 hours of sleep in the 24 hours following his historic run.  Even Premier Campbell was on hand to congratulate the Olympian.  "All of us in Vancouver were up until 3 a.m. celebrating with you," rasped the Premier of B.C. whose voice had gone slightly hoarse over the celebrations. "You make us all proud. And give my best to your brother."

Peter Judge of the COC remarked that, "I've seen many extraordinary accomplishments but what I saw last night will live in my memory forever." Judge has been a strong advocate of both the Own The Podium and B2Ten programs for the Canadian athletes. He pointed out that the technical expertise lent to the teams resulted in the downhiill mogul skiing, as a sport, being measured also by optical timers, a refinement that has had impactful results on the sport.

Today, February 15th, also marked B.C. Clean Energy Day.  Premier Campbell and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Blair Lekstrom, resident of Dawson's Creek, were on hand to announce several clean energy programs for the Province today. British Columbia operates on 90% renewable energy.

British Columbia the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, paper and bio-energy products that help mitigate climate change and provide innovative solutions to green building and energy needs.

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Canada Owns The Podium

By Paige Donner

Jenn Heil, Vancouver 2010, Olympic Silver Medalist, Photo Courtesy BCMC

"And while the pursuit of athletic excellence is the point, the Olympics are  a celebration of the fundamental aspects that unite people."  - P.M. Stephen Harper

Sustainability is a concept that has wide applications.  Presently you often hear it used in the context of environmental programs. However, "sustainability" can be applied to a wider band of disciplines, such as sports. Here in Canada, at the 2010 Olympics, the idea of sustainable podium performances is what defines their Own The Podium program.

Jenn Heil, the Canadian Team's first claimer of Olympic metal, stated consistently that "Own The Podium really gives us the support to win the medal for Team Canada."  Heil gleefully announced at a February 14th press conference that "Canada's medal train has now left the station!"  She will be awarded the Silver at this evening's first 2010 Olympic Games medal ceremony for her mogul skiing performance at last night's Cypress Hill competition. Follow the Canadian Team on Twitter: COT_ALL_UPDATES.
Own the Podium is an innovative and collaborative initiative without precedent in Canadian sport. It was created to bring together the key parties involved in leading and funding excellence in Canadian sport, with specific emphasis on achieving excellence at Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 Jenn Heil, Vancouver 2010, Olympic Silver Medalist, Photo Courtesy BCMC

Kristi Richards, also an Olympic Contender, and the 2007 World Champion for women's moguls, has put her momentum behind sustaining athletes by starting her own "Supporting The Dream Legacy Fund."  She explained that her hometown of Summerland, B.C. stood so strongly behind her while she developed as an athlete that she decided to start a foundation which has the kids fundraising for themselves. "Through the Adopt An Athlete program, I actually turned it back around for the kids. I help them fundraise and then the funds go back to develop them as athletes." Her program is known as the I Can Be Legacy Fund. She showed true Olympian sportsmanship, taking her competitive crash in stride and acknowledging that it allowed her "a second start. I got to get the crowd excited again."  She's also a supporter of the 1 Step Foundation, a sports oriented environmental foundation.
On this Valentine's Day 2010, love is in the air. Love for team, love for country and love for the competitive spirit of athletes,... that spirit that pushes us, as the human race to achieve unprecedented excellence.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invested a personal presence to these historic winter games. He has shown up at the Olympic Village to galvanize his team to win gold and bring home medals for Canada in 2010; he also "waited for about 10 minutes in the rain, with his daughter" to congratulate Jenn Heil on her win, she said, the heartfelt appreciation apparent on the athlete's face.
Appreciation, recognition and support are all ingredients that form the alchemy of sustainability.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Mrs. Laureen Harper, along with the Right Honorable Michaellle Jean, Governor General of Canada, whose official duty it was to open the Olympic Games of 2010 in Vancouver,  hosted heads of state at an Olympic Reception just prior to the opening ceremonies in downtown Vancouver Feb. 12th.
Faster, Better, Higher...than has ever been attained by human beings before... is what these assembled Olympians, from across the globe, are here to achieve, the Prime Minister reminded the gathering at the special reception hosted in the city's downtown Fairmont Hotel.  Just below the second story windows, a crowd of several hundred protesters to the games had gathered just prior to Opening Ceremonies. Thousands more, all suporters of the games,  jammed the streets, decked out in Canadian flags, Olympic Gear, their country's colors and maple leafs on their way to watch live or view on humongous outdoor/indoor screens peppered across the city,  the Opening Ceremonies to the games.
Opening Ceremonies, the first ever to be held indoors, were a spectacle, as in the Francophone take on the word, "Spectacular."
Dignitaries on hand included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and V.P. Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden. Dignitaries and representatives from other countries in attendance included Belarusse, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, France, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, USA, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, Cayman.
Canada's P.M. Stephen Harper welcomed the international delegation to "one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world," speaking in both French and English.
He described the 5500 Olympic athletes as a "colorful procession that showcases how easily disparity can be swallowed up by a sporting event."
He continued by saying, "And while the pursuit of athletic excellence is the point, the Olympics are  a celebration of the fundamental aspects that unite people."
He cited the feel-good example, being used concurrently in a running Visa commercial, of the Turin Games' Sarah Renner who broke her ski pole and was then aided by the Norwegian Olympic coach who sprang forward  to lend her his. This type of sportsmanship is what sports should be all about, he concluded.
The somberness of the day's events, however, were not to be ignored.
"There are also moments that break your heart - such as today's death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, Georgia's Luge athlete's death. These athletes live the Faster, Better, Higher credo, meaning Faster, Better, Higher than has ever been attained by human beings before. These aspirations, he said, come at certain costs."
Canada's Harper ended his greeting to his international guests by observing a minute of silence in respect for the Georgian Athlete.

Governor General:  "Thank you so much for standing together with Canadians.The Olympics are a celebration of solidarity among all peoples. To honor the best in all of us."

Right Honorable Michaellle Jean, Governor General of Canada also spoke first in French and then in English when she told her guests that "The world is yearning for change, the kind of change to uplift us. The kind of change with which everyone everywhere can achieve their highest potential. The Olympic flame was received and greeted with so much fellowship and community." she noted.  "Humanity is linked in a cosmic circle of interdependence, with the shared values of:  peace, inclusion, solidarity all at the core of Olympic values."
These values have been expressed in more than words.  For the first time in Olympic history a third brand, the brand of the Four Host Nations Society, in addition to  the IOC and the host city of Vancouver - has been allowed official Olympic communications.
Shawn Atleo

For Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, current national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, this is significantly meaningful. "These games are about sports, arts and our culture. It's about bringing it all together and putting it out there for the world to see. This is what these Winter Games are all about for us."  He spoke to guests gathered at a fashion show celebrating First Nations fashion designers Dorothy Grant, Pamela Baker and Angela DeMontigny on February 13th just as Jenn Heil was winning silver for her country.

Sophie Pierre, Chief Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission, commented that seeing the Opening Ceremonies to the 2010 Olympics were once-in-a-lifetime memorable. "They gave us all a drum, drumstick, a battery-powered candle and white cape as we entered B.C. Place. All 55,000 of us. It's how they created the effect of snow and ice as a backdrop for the ceremonies," she explained, adding that the audience participation was unprecedented. A friend and guest of Dorothy Grant's at her fashion show, she remarked that she wondered when will we see a male First Nations fashion designer?"

During this hyper-competitive time, when countries from around the world are assembled to display the zenith performances of their athletes, Canada once again displayed its quality for compassion when the crowd of Maple-leaf-bearers began to applaud for U.S.'s Hannah Kearney who took gold this round after finishing 22nd in Turin.

***It is estimated that 24 million Canadians watched the Opening Ceremonies.  In a country whose population totals just over 30 Million, that's enormous solidarity!  More Info at CTV

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