Editor’s Note, January/February 2010

Not long ago I had lunch with an art director who left Vancouver in 2003—the year the city was awarded the 2010 Games—and who just recently moved back from New York. I asked Lisa what she thought of her hometown these days. “I can’t believe the changes,” she said. “It’s astonishing what’s happened in the last six years.” Much of what’s happened, of course, has been driven by the Olympics. The building frenzy of recent years has altered the appearance, the functionality, the very fabric of our city.

Want evidence? Check out John Sinal’s photographs of some of the structures that have gone up in Lisa’s absence, from the Olympic Village in Southeast False Creek to the speed-skating oval in Richmond . Argue all you like about the true cost of 2010, our questionable treatment of the disadvantaged, the implications of beefed-up security—there’s simply no denying that Vancouver has been radically changed by the imminence of the Games and the global audience they’ll attract. Everything from the Canada Line to the revamped Sea-to-Sky Highway, from the re-imagined Convention Centre to the reconfigured Mount Seymour, from new restaurants to rejuvenated neighbourhoods, testifies to the transformative power of the Olympics. Just as the Expo year of 1986 did, 2010 will mark an evolutionary step in the life of the city. And the Games will leave behind a substantial legacy for generations to come.

If a single individual can be said to have led this transformation, it’s John Furlong. As head of VANOC, the company charged by the Lausanne-based International Olympic Committee with staging the Games, the Irish-born, 59-year-old Furlong has for the past six years maintained a brutal schedule and an intense, infectious, can-do attitude that has brought us to the brink of what he is convinced will be, as he said recently at our Power 50 event, “the greatest Winter Games the world has seen.”

Over the past year, Gary Mason has spent countless hours with Furlong, in airports and boardrooms and limousines, gaining insight into what makes him tick. You’ll find Mason’s intimate profile of the VANOC chief executive, “Ring Master.”