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GEOFF BALL

A section of the huge installation at Brighouse Park that saw 13,600 kilograms (30,000 pounds, or 10 tons) of cranberries formed into an image of the Canadian Olympic Committee logo.

Unique tribute to Olympics

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Richmond cranberry growers help paint the city patriotic red.

spectacular tribute to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games from Richmond’s agricultural community was installed in Brighouse Park, immediately adjacent to the the city’s “O Zone.”

Thirteen million floating cranberries, weighing about 13,600 kilograms (30,000 pounds), were formed into an image of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s iconic logo, which features a maple leaf, torch and the Olympic rings. “Richmond was determined to make a bold and spectacular contribution to the challenge from the Canadian Olympic Committee to ‘Paint The Town Red’ in support of our Canadian athletes,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “At the same time, we’ve been able to proudly showcase to the world one of the many things that make Richmond unique – in this case our agricultural heritage, proudly represented by our cranberry growers.” The creation was 73 metres long by 58 metres wide (240 by 190 feet) or more than 4,200 square metres (46,000 square feet) in total area. It remained on display throughout the 2010 Games.

“This installation conveys our passion as farmers, and shows our excitement in having Richmond serve as a venue city for the Winter Games,” said Dan Keefer, representing Richmond’s cranberry growers, who worked with the city to create the innovative display.

“It’s also a great opportunity to spotlight the cranberry to

visitors from all over the world as more people worldwide are discovering the taste, versatility and health promoting properties of the wonder berry.”

Originally planned for the display in front of the Richmond Olympic Oval, extreme river currents and a concern for crew safety prompted the relocation. In the spirit of the Olympic Games, often defined by the refusal to give up, the new location put the display right in the heart of 2010 activities. “As farmers we know that Mother Nature has a mind of her own, so we’re always adjusting to the forces of nature,” added Keefer. “We are excited to share this creation with Richmond and visitors from around the world interested in learning more about our city and the industry my family has spent more than 40 years supporting.”

Cranberries represent the largest agricultural crop in Richmond, and Richmond is the largest producer of cranberries among all cities in Canada with more than 60 family-owned farms.

In addition to the large cranberry installation at Brighouse Park, the water feature at Richmond City Hall was filled with thousands of ruby cranberries. Visitors had an opportunity to meet some of Richmond’s third and fourth generation Richmond cranberry growers who offered their time and don waders – outside of the traditional harvest season – to share stories of the harvest from the City Hall bog. The cranberry installation was part of Richmond Revealed, a series of visual spectacles celebrating the diverse commerce, culture and heritage of Richmond and showcasing it to the world during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

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