It took about 40 minutes, but we now - with our own eyes -- have seen the Olympic cauldron without having to peek through a chain-link fence.

It took about 40 minutes, but we now — with our own eyes — have seen the Olympic cauldron without having to peek through a chain-link fence.

Responding to a firestorm of criticism and a plea from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, VANOC today gave the public two options for a better view of the cauldron’s permanent display on the Vancouver waterfront:

1) A rooftop viewing area was opened on a building adjacent to the display, and

2) A five-inch-wide, eye-level gap was opened in the chain-link fence at the sidewalk level, so people can hold their cameras and get an unobstructed view.

Only about 150 people can fit on the roof at a time. The friendly volunteer at the start of the line estimated it would take us 20 minutes to get on top, but it took to almost twice that, as people on the roof lingered to take photographs.

Even with the wait, the view today was “a million times better,” said Michael Benitz, 23, of Surrey.