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Olympic licence plates popular with drivers

B.C. Ferries wraps three new ships in Olympic imagery

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By Clare Ogilvie

More than 20,000 people have bought 2010 Olympic licence plates for their vehicles in the last seven weeks.

“I would like to thank everyone who has chosen to purchase a 2010 licence plate to support the Games,” said VANOC’s executive vice president for revenue, marketing and communications Dave Cobb.

To mark the occasion VANOC and ICBC gave Richmond resident Michael Sentes, who bought the 20,010 plate, with a plaque and commemorative Olympic sweater.

The plates have been bought by people all over B.C., but most are on vehicles in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, where 13,000 have been purchased. Drivers on the Island have bought 2,700, Southern Interior drivers have taken another 3,000, and 1,400 have been sold in the North.

Each licence plate costs $35.

“It is very encouraging to see the early sales success of the 2010 Winter Games licence plates,” said ICBC’s Ed Novak.

“Selling more than 20,000 plates in less than two months is a clear indication of the support and pride British Columbians have in the Games.

“Customers also like the unique look of the plate and the idea of being able to promote the Games while they travel inside and outside B.C.”

The plate features the 2010 Games emblem, and the province’s slogan, “The Best Place on Earth.” The scene on the plate shows Mt. Garibaldi and was taken by Brad Kasselman of Whistler’s Coast Mountain Photography. It was chosen from thousands of images by ICBC.

Initially, 150,000 of the plates are being produced. ICBC officials have said previously that market research suggests that between 80,000 and 100,000 of their 2.2 million customers are interested in purchasing the plates.

It was also announced this week that B.C. Ferries is wrapping its three new super class ships, worth $542 million, in Olympic imagery for the 2010 Games.

“The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games offer a tremendous opportunity to showcase our great province and country to the world,” said Premier Gordon Campbell this week.

“By wrapping the three new ferries in powerful images that promote our province, our country and our Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we’re inviting the world to join us before, during and after 2010.”

The wraps will be supplied by 3M Canada, which also announced its new role as an Official Supplier of the Games. This category usually contributes between $3 and $15 million.

3M will also supply all official wraps and vinyl decals. The wrapping program will include cars, vans, buses and buildings.

“3M is providing the canvas to help showcase the natural beauty of B.C. and the artistry of Olympic performances to the world,” said Richard Chartrand, executive director, Display and Graphics for 3M Canada.

The first ferry, the Coastal Renaissance, will sail from Germany to B.C. in November. It will stop in Rotterdam, London, the Canary Islands and the Bahamas before passing through the Panama Canal. It will stop in Los Angeles on the way to Vancouver and will be in service by January 2008.

The other ferries will also come via the Panama Canal with promotional stops in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to raise awareness of the 2010 Games.

The remaining two ferries, the largest double-ended ships in the world will be in service by the summer of 2008.

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