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Vancouver, Canada (winter, 2010)

Boom or Bust? Bust

Hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2010, Canadian athletes won a record of 14 gold medals. However the city of Vancouver did not feel quite so lucky when left with a nasty financial hangover. The cause of this has been the Olympic Village (pictured here), which was financed by the city after the project’s developer ran into trouble because of the credit crunch. The government hoped it was backing what would become one of the greenest, most sought-after residential areas in North America.

Yet two years on the city is still trying to recover its costs by selling the luxury condos in the 16 buildings that make up the village (renamed Millennium Water). When the debts rose to $730.2 million (C$743 million), the project was pushed into receivership. Now under the auspices of Ernst and Young, it has begun filling up the empty suites and the debt will reduce with future sales. However the $170 million owed on the land purchase will probably never be recovered.

Photo: Ron Watts | Getty Images | First Light