rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Olympic guide to Vancouver's tap water

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

If Vancouver councillor, Tim Stevenson gets his way, Olympic visitors will be able to savour a glass of Metro Vancouver's thirst-quenching tap water at the city's two Olympic Live Sites.

CBC News reports that "Metro Vancouver has started a campaign to encourage Olympic tourists to drink the region's tap water instead of buying bottled water, creating a potential conflict with Coca-Cola Ltd., one of the Games' biggest official sponsors."

Advertisements for Dasani and Vitamin Water are plastered all over the city and athletes endorse the products. While Olympic organizers claim these are the "greenest games ever," glass containers or bottles are prohibited from all Olympic venues (along with firearms, ammunition, pepper spray and water balloon launchers). Best to leave your Tim Horton mug at home.

Thirsty spectators and sports enthusiasts will only be allowed to purchase single-use plastic containers sold by Coca-Cola. Be prepared to pay $3 CAD for a bottle of water (or free from a water fountain). Coca-Cola plans to sell more than seven million beverages during the Olympics.

Visitors to the Whistler Medals Plaza are only allowed to take in commercially bottled water with an unbroken seal. It's sure difficult being green!

Stevenson said a goal of the tap water campaign is to reduce sales of bottled water by 20 per cent by the end of 2010. Despite Coke's efforts to transform bottles into staff uniforms or park benches, the production and transportation of bottled water contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and even if the bottle is recycled, more energy is needed to reuse the plastic.

Coca-Cola has cultivated a market for bottled water, even in a country like Canada that has one of the best public drinking water systems in the world. Both Vancouver and Whistler have excellent tap water and VANOC and our governments should be showcasing this resource to the world.

Vancouver's state-of-the-art Seymour Capilano Filtration project opened recently just in time for the Olympics. It is the largest water treatment plant of its kind in Canada, with the largest UV disinfection facility in the world.

Tourists are in for more greenwash when they purchase a bottle of Whistler Water, especially if they think the water is sourced from pristine mountain glaciers.

According to WhistlerWater.net, "The source of Whistler Water is located along side of Portage Road approximately 5 miles north of the Mount Currie Indian Reserve 6 near Birken, B.C.. The labeling clearly misleads the consumer that the source is Whistler. The only presence in Whistler is P.O. Box 1400 as listed on their label."Guess the word "Whistler" has more cachet.


The good news is that Whistler's Live Site is serving tap water and all the performers are given a reusable water bottle that comes with free refills of "genuine" Whistler water.

Vancouver also pledges to go head-to head with Coca Cola and make tap water available at the city's two Live Sites, where thousands of people will gather to listen to live music and watch sports events on giant video screens.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.