BC Place

BC Place Stadium

BC Place Stadium is Canada's first domed stadium and is the largest air-supported stadium in the world. It is located on the north side of False Creek in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is owned and operated by PavCo (BC Pavilion Corporation), a Crown Corporation of the government in the Province of British Columbia.

BC Place has been the home to the CFL's B.C. Lions since 1983, and will serve as the site for both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. A monument commemorating Terry Fox is located outside the stadium, as well as a smaller monument commemorating Percy Williams. The BC Sports Hall of Fame is located inside the stadium at Gate "A"-Level 300.

History

The stadium, completed in 1983, was built as part of the preparation for the 1986 World's Fair, Expo 86. It is the world's largest air-supported domed stadium and can seat 60,000 in its mixture of permanent and portable light-blue plastic seats. It was also built to attract a Major League Baseball team in the 80s and 90s.

One of the first major events held in the stadium was Queen Elizabeth inviting the world to Expo 86. The stadium was used for the opening and closing ceremonies of Expo '86 and to much fanfare, Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Vancouver and officially opened Expo by speech in BC Place on May 2nd, 1986.

Currently, its main sports tenant is the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League; it was also home of the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League in the early 1980s. The Whitecaps played the first sporting event in the stadium in 1983, against the Seattle Sounders. The last NASL Soccer Bowl was also held at BC Place.

The stadium hosted Grey Cup games in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1999, and 2005, perhaps the most thrilling account being the one in 1994 in which the hometown Lions defeated the U.S. expansion Baltimore Football Club on a last-second field goal by Lui Passaglia, preventing the Grey Cup trophy from leaving Canada (although Baltimore would win the Grey Cup the following year).

In 1987, an exhibition match of Australian rules football was played at the stadium and drew a crowd of 32,789 - a record for the largest AFL/VFL crowd outside of Australia.

The stadium is to be the first Air-supported structure and the first indoor venue used for the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. It will also be the first indoor venue used for the Opening Ceremonies for any Olympics.

2007 deflation

On January 5, 2007, a tear occurred in the Teflon roof close to Gate G at the south side where the roof meets the top of the concrete bowl. The tear grew quickly as air escaped through it, and maintenance staff performed an intentional, controlled deflation to protect the integrity of the roof's other panels. According to its design, the deflated roof rested on its steel support cables 6 metres (20 ft) above the seating and the ground. Normally, the roof has a rise of 27 metres (90 ft) above the top of the bowl when inflated. Nobody was injured in the incident, but rain and melted snow flooded the bowl and had to be pumped out.

The internal air pressure was three times normal at the time of the tear because two maintenance staff, responding to a slight depressurization caused by high winds outside, each raised the pressure unaware of the other's actions. An independent report indicated that the rapid pressurization combined with wind and sleet and pre-existing damage caused the tear. The damaged panel was replaced with a temporary one on January 19 and the roof was re-inflated. The BC Contractors Association held an exhibition in the stadium during the week of January 23, during which the roof leaked rain in several places. The temporary panel was replaced with a permanent one in June 2007, prior to the start of the BC Lions 2007 season.

Additional information

PavCo is governed primarily by the British Columbia Enterprise Corporation Act, which names it an Agent of the government, binds it by the same laws as the government, and gives it the same immunities as the government.

BC Place is busy with over 200 event days per year and contributes over 40 million dollars per year in economic benefits to the Province of British Columbia, but it operates at a loss of more than 4 million a year (10 million in earning and more than 14 in expenses), not including 2.3 for amortization. It hosts the Province's largest trade and consumer shows, community events and motorsports.

From 1990-2004, the Molson Indy Vancouver Champ Car race was held on a temporary street course surrounding BC Place.

In 2005, BC Place played host to Vans' Slam City Jam Skateboarding Championships. It has also hosted several MLB preseason games and a handful of Vancouver Canadians Pacific Coast League games. It was the site for a motorcycle stunt scene in the Fantastic Four movie. Also in 2007, it hosted a friendly soccer match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The stadium also serves as the finish line for the Vancouver Sun Run every April and the Vancouver Marathon every May.

Renovations and Roof Replacement

The stadium has a FieldTurf surface that was purchased from Montreal's Olympic Stadium for $1 million CAD.

On 16 May 2008, over $150 million in major renovations to the stadium were announced, including seat replacement, renovations to washrooms and concessions, and the replacement of the Teflon covering with a new retractable roof. Most renovations will be completed prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but the new roof will not be in place until after the games. The Vancouver Whitecaps have announced that they will begin playing in the stadium once the renovations are complete, if they are granted a Major League Soccer franchise.

Transportation

The stadium is served by the Skytrain's Stadium-Chinatown Station. The False Creek Ferries and Aquabus dock at the Edgewater Casino also serves the stadium.

References

See also

Other domed stadiums in Canada include:

External links

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