There will be poutine: First look at Canada Olympic House for Pyeongchang 2018
12,000 square-foot space will be "home-away-from-home" for Canadian athletes and fans
Homesick Canadian Olympians can cheer up by eating poutine in the freezing cold at Team Canada's headquarters for the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
With the games one month away, the Canadian Olympic Committee unveiled its Canada Olympic House on Monday.
The Olympics begin Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. CBC is the official Canadian broadcaster.
Designed by Montreal-based firm Sid Lee Architecture, the 12,000-square-foot Canada Olympic House space will be a "home-away-from-home" for Canadian athletes and fans, according to the COC.
The house has prime location near Gangneung Olympic Park, a cluster of venues for events including speed-skating, curling and hockey.
Visitors will be able to watch Team Canada compete on the CBC broadcast of the games.
There will be Team Canada merchandise for sale as well as a bar and restaurant serving Canadian drinks and food, including poutine.
"Uniquely Canadian" elements of the house include a maple leaf-shaped bleacher for viewing events and an outdoor patio inspired by a Canadian backyard.
The outdoor space will be heated as, unlike previous Winter Games in Vancouver and Sochi, Russia, temperatures in Pyeongchang are expected to remain well below the freezing mark.
"Canada Olympic House is a Canadian oasis," Isabelle Charest, Team Canada Pyeongchang 2018 Chef de Mission, said at an event in Toronto on Monday.
Charest, a three-time Olympic speed-skater, said Canada Olympic House benefits athletes by providing their friends and family with a home base.
"It can be a huge distraction. The Olympic House has this purpose: to make sure the families and friends are taken care of," Charest said.
Architect Martin Leblanc said the house has a "warm vibe" and features some "very Canadian corners."
Some areas and lounges at the house are partnerships with COC corporate sponsors Air Canada, Bell and Canadian Tire.
"This is a big priority for us," Canadian Tire senior vice president Jeffrey Orridge said on Monday.
In the past, access to Canada Olympic Houses has been limited to Canadians and invited guests. For the first time, this one will be open to the public.
Derek Kent, the COC's chief marketing officer, said at previous games in Rio and Sochi, interest was high among non-Canadians.
"There were so many people that were lined up," Kent said Monday.
"We have something unique in Canada. People want to participate, and now we're allowing them to do that."