BC Place

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BC Place
BC Place logo.png
BC Place 2015 Women's FIFA World Cup.jpg
Interior view during the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup
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BC Place
Location in Vancouver
Canada British Columbia relief location map.jpg
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BC Place
Location in British Columbia
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Red pog.svg
BC Place
Location in Canada
Address777 Pacific Boulevard
Location Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates 49°16′36″N123°6′43″W / 49.27667°N 123.11194°W / 49.27667; -123.11194 Coordinates: 49°16′36″N123°6′43″W / 49.27667°N 123.11194°W / 49.27667; -123.11194
Public transit Translinkexpo.svg Stadium–Chinatown
Translinkcanada.svg Yaletown–Roundhouse
Owner Province of British Columbia
Operator BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo)
Capacity 54,500 (Total)
22,120 [1] (MLS)
Surface Polytan Star full.svgStar full.svg
Broke groundApril 1981
OpenedJune 19, 1983
  • 2009 (interior)
  • 2011 (exterior and interior)
Construction cost
ArchitectStudio Phillips Barratt, Ltd. [3]
Stantec Architecture Ltd. (renovation)
BC Lions (CFL) (1983–present)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS) (2011–present)
Vancouver Whitecaps (NASL) (1983–1984)
Vancouver Nighthawks (WBL) (1988)
Canada men's national soccer team (intermittent)

BC Place is a multi-purpose stadium located at the north side of False Creek, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is owned and operated by the BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), a crown corporation of the province. It is currently the home of the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL), Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the annual Canada Sevens (part of the World Rugby Sevens Series) as well as the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The stadium also served as the main stadium for the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Paralympics which Vancouver hosted, as well as a venue for multiple matches including the championship match for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

False Creek Inlet

False Creek is a short inlet in the heart of Vancouver. It separates downtown from the rest of the city. It was named by George Henry Richards during his Hydrographic survey of 1856-63. George Richards named False Creek during his survey of the coast in the mid-19th century. While traveling along the south side of the Burrard Inlet, he thought he was traversing a creek; upon discovering his error, he gave the gave the waterway its modern name. Science World is located at its eastern end, with the Granville, Cambie, and the Burrard Street bridges crossing False Creek. The Canada Line tunnel crosses underneath False Creek just west of the Cambie Bridge. It is one of the four major bodies of water bordering Vancouver along with English Bay, Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River. In 1986 it was the location of the Expo 86 World's Fair.

Vancouver City in British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011. The Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2,463,431 in 2016, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada, with over 5,400 people per square kilometre, which makes it the fifth-most densely populated city with over 250,000 residents in North America, behind New York City, Guadalajara, San Francisco, and Mexico City according to the 2011 census. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada according to that census; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. 48.9% have neither English nor French as their first language. Roughly 30% of the city's inhabitants are of Chinese heritage.

British Columbia Province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.034 million as of 2019, it is Canada's third-most populous province.


The stadium opened on June 19, 1983, and was built as an indoor structure with an air-supported roof, the largest of its kind in the world upon its opening. [4] Following the 2010 Winter Olympics, BC Place was closed for 16 months as part of an extensive revitalization, the centrepiece of which was replacing the inflatable roof with a retractable roof supported by cables. Once construction was completed, the stadium's new roof was also the largest of its type.

Air-supported structure

An air-supported structure is any building that derives its structural integrity from the use of internal pressurized air to inflate a pliable material envelope, so that air is the main support of the structure, and where access is via airlocks.

Retractable roof

A retractable roof is a roof system designed to roll back the roof on tracks so that the interior of the facility is open to the outdoors. Retractable roofs are sometimes referred to as operable roofs or retractable skylights. The term operable skylight, while quite similar, refers to a skylight that opens on a hinge, rather than on a track.


Opening and 20th century

Exterior view of BC Place from the south, with its original roof, October 2005 B.C. Place from False Creek (cropped).jpg
Exterior view of BC Place from the south, with its original roof, October 2005

Construction of the stadium started in 1981, with Dillingham Construction contracted to build the stadium, designed by architecture firm Studio Phillips Barratt, Ltd. [3] BC Place was built as part of the preparations for the 1986 World's Fair, Expo 86. Upon its completion in 1983, the stadium was the world's largest air-supported domed stadium until May 4, 2010 when it was deflated for the last time in preparation for the erection of its new retractable roof, designed by structural engineers Geiger Berger Associates. [3] [5] Its original air-supported design was similar to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was home to both the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball team and the Minnesota Vikings National Football League team.

Dillingham Construction was an engineering and construction services company last based in Pleasanton, California. The company was founded in the 1880s to build a railroad across the swamps of Oahu, Hawaii. Dillingham later became a leading engineering and construction firm, building dams, airfields, high-rises, hotels and embassies around the world. The company was forced into bankruptcy in 2003 as a result of mounting debt arising from multi-million dollar unpaid change orders from a few public entity clients that refused to pay for the extra work. The company planned to reemerge from Chapter 11 in Florida under the name of one of its smaller subsidiaries, Watkins Engineers and Constructors.

Expo 86 a Worlds Fair held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication, or simply Expo 86, was a World's Fair held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from Friday, May 2 until Monday, October 13, 1986. The fair, the theme of which was "Transportation and Communication: World in Motion - World in Touch", coincided with Vancouver's centennial and was held on the north shore of False Creek. It was the second time that Canada held a World's Fair, the first being Expo 67 in Montreal. It was also the third World's Fair to be held in the Pacific Northwest in the previous 24 years as of 1986 and as of 2019 it still stands as the last World's Fair to be held in North America.

Geiger Engineers is a structural engineering consulting firm located northwest of New York City. Founded in 1988 by David H. Geiger, the company has worked on large projects throughout the world. Building from a solid foundation in long span and tensile membrane structures, Geiger Engineers has branched out over the years into a range of specialties from designing sports facilities to providing engineering services for the entertainment industry.

The stadium held its grand opening on June 19, 1983. The first major event held in the stadium came the next day, June 20, 1983, when the Vancouver Whitecaps hosted the Seattle Sounders in a North American Soccer League game with attendance announced at 60,342. [6] On June 23, 1983, the BC Lions played their first game at the new stadium, a preseason 41–19 victory against the Calgary Stampeders with 53,472 in attendance. [7] A month later, on July 24, 1983, a crowd of 41,810 watched the BC Lions defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 44–28 in the Lions' first regular season game at the stadium. [8] The venue would host the Soccer Bowl '83 later that year. [9] [10] On September 18, 1984 Pope John Paul II addressed an over-capacity crowd for "A Celebration of Life". The celebration was part of the papal visit to the Archdiocese of Vancouver. It was one of the most heavily attended events in the stadium. The Pope's Celebration of Life was followed a few months later by the Canadian Pacific Billy Graham Crusade, which drew similar numbers each night.

Vancouver Whitecaps (1974–84) defunct North American Soccer League franchise

The original Vancouver Whitecaps were a professional soccer team founded on December 11, 1973. During the 1970s and 1980s they played in the North American Soccer League (NASL).

Seattle Sounders (1974–83) North American Soccer League team (1974–1983)

The Seattle Sounders were a U.S. professional soccer team based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1974, the team belonged to the North American Soccer League where it played both indoor and outdoor soccer. The team folded after the 1983 NASL outdoor season.

North American Soccer League (1968–84) defunct association football league (1968–1984)

The North American Soccer League (NASL) was the top-level major professional soccer league in the United States and Canada that operated from 1968 to 1984. It was the first soccer league to be successful on a national scale in the United States. The league final was called the Soccer Bowl from 1975 to 1983 and the Soccer Bowl Series in its final year, 1984. The league was headed by Commissioner Phil Woosnam from 1969 to 1983.

The stadium was then used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication (Expo '86). Accepting an invitation by the Province of British Columbia, their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Princess Diana made themselves available to take part in the opening ceremonies. To great fanfare, they officially proclaimed the World's Fair open on May 2, 1986. 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 also held an NFL exhibition game in 1998 when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks 24–21 in the American Bowl.

Charles, Prince of Wales Son of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952, and is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

Diana, Princess of Wales member of the British royal family

Diana, Princess of Wales, was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry. Diana's activism and glamour made her an international icon and earned her an enduring popularity as well as an unprecedented public scrutiny, exacerbated by her tumultuous private life.

Australian rules football Contact sport invented in Melbourne

Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, or simply called Aussie rules, football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of eighteen players on an oval-shaped field, often a modified cricket ground. Points are scored by kicking the oval-shaped ball between goal posts or between goal and "behind" posts.

BC Place Vancouver.jpg
Inside BC Place Stadium under original roof in July 2005

2007 roof deflation

On January 5, 2007, snow accumulated on the air-supported Teflon Fibreglass roof, despite strict zero accumulation of ice guidelines and ice accumulation structural warnings. The accumulation caused a tear in the roof's ETFE-coated fabric close to Gate G on the south side where the roof meets the top of the concrete bowl. [11] [12] The tear grew quickly as air escaped through it, whereupon maintenance staff performed an intentional, controlled deflation to protect the integrity of the roof's intact fabric panels. [13] As it was designed to do, the deflated roof rested on its steel support cables 6 metres (20 ft) above the seating and the field. Normally, the roof had a rise of 27 metres (90 ft) above the top of the bowl when inflated. [14] No one was injured during the incident, although rain and melted snow flooded the bowl and subsequently had to be pumped out.

ETFE fluorine-based plastic

Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a fluorine-based plastic. It was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. ETFE is a polymer and its source-based name is poly(ethene-co-tetrafluoroethene). ETFE has a relatively high melting temperature, excellent chemical, electrical and high-energy radiation resistance properties. When burned, ETFE releases hydrofluoric acid.

An independent report indicated that an accidental rapid pressurization combined with lightly gusting wind and a location of previously undetected damage caused the tear. [15] The damaged panel was replaced with a temporary one on January 19 and the roof was re-inflated. [16] [17] The BC Contractors Association held an exhibition in the stadium over the week of January 23, [18] during which the roof leaked in several places when it rained. [19] The temporary panel was successfully replaced with a permanent one in June 2007, just prior to the start of the 2007 CFL season. [20]

Renovation and roof replacement

Renovation works at BC Place, including the construction of the retractable roof, viewed in April 2011 BCPlaceRoofApril2011.jpg
Renovation works at BC Place, including the construction of the retractable roof, viewed in April 2011
Exterior view of the stadium after its renovation, November 2014 BC Place Stadium - panoramio.jpg
Exterior view of the stadium after its renovation, November 2014

On May 16, 2008, it was announced that over $150 million in major renovations would be carried out on BC Place Stadium. The work was done in two phases. The first phase involved upgrades to seating, washrooms, concessions, and luxury suites, as well as the reinforcement of the existing ring beam at the top of the building [21] and was completed in October 2009, in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Work on the retractable roof began in May 2010, with PCL Westcoast Constructors Inc. contracted to construct the roof designed by architecture firm Stantec Architecture Ltd. and structural engineering firm Geiger Engineers, with Schlaich Bergermann & Partner serving as consulting engineers and Genivar, Inc. acting as services engineers. [22] Geiger also designed the stadium's new centre-hung scoreboard. [22] The roof's construction began immediately after the completion of the 2010 Winter Paralympics and the final deflation of the air-supported roof. The official budget for the completed Phase 1 upgrades plus the revitalization project was $514 million. [23] The new roof, a cable-supported retractable roof system first used with the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany, [24] is the largest of its kind. [25] The opening measures 100 by 85 metres (109 by 93 yd), the same size as the field below. The fabric roof retracts into and is hidden by a pod in the centre of the opening, above the suspended videoboard. [26]

The updated stadium also features the second largest centre-hung high definition scoreboard in North America, after the one in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium (since renamed AT&T Stadium). [27] In addition, a new artificial turf developed by Polytan was installed at an estimated cost of $1.2 million. It is designed to achieve FIFA 2-star certification, the highest rating possible. The soccer pitch is 117 by 75 yards (107 by 69 m). [28]

TSN analyst and former CFL player Chris Schultz praised both the design and engineering of the new stadium. [27] Columnist Brian Hutchinson has praised the renovations for significantly improving the acoustics, and providing a bright and airy feel to the stadium. These were aspects that were missing in its previous air-supported roof incarnation, as well as the Montreal Olympic Stadium and the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome). [25]

The artificial turf installed between September 2011 and April 2015 drew criticism, notably its lacklustre characteristics for playing professional level soccer. [29] [30] A new artificial turf was installed in May 2015, prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015. The total cost of the turf upgrade was $1,327,000, with Canada Soccer and Rugby Canada contributing $500,000 CDN to the project. [31] Liam Middleton, Canada's Rugby Sevens coach, stated that the new surface was "better than some natural grass surfaces they've played on." [32]

Summary of renovations

  • New retractable roof is the largest cable supported retractable roof in the world. [33] [34]
  • Revolving doors replaced with clear glass doors, which allows the stadium to be accessed much more easily. [35]
  • Old brown glass around building replaced with light green glass which lets more light in and makes stadium brighter. [35]
  • BC Lions locker room completely expanded and refurbished: Old lockers were taken out, sanded down, refinished, and put back in. New cubicles were also put in with individual lighting for players. Locker room also sports a new floor called "sport floor". [35]
  • New synthetic turf, called Polytan LigaTurf RS+, was installed as the new playing surface. Turf has a 1 14 inches (32 mm) thick shock pad underneath the turf and special eco-friendly BionPro infill. [36]
  • A centre-hung high-definition scoreboard measuring 68 by 38 feet (21 m × 12 m). [36]
  • Around the stadium is a new 51 inches (1.3 m) electronic ribbon board, with a circumference of 2,200 feet (670 m). [33]
  • Added 1,140 new HDTV screens. Screens work through a system called Stadium Vision. Each screen runs on a separate video source, allowing menu boards at concourse concession stands to show game updates to fans as they order from concession stands. [37]
  • All concourses widened and refurbished. [35]
  • Added 140 additional portable concession stands. Storage of food and supplies will be in concession stands. [37]
  • 50 fully refurbished private suites and 1,300 newly refurbished premium Club Seats. [38] [39] [40]
  • Wheel chair seating now at every price point and level of the stadium. [33]
  • New upgraded washrooms, and access ramps with new lighting. [41]
  • New state of the art sound system. [33]
  • New wider seats: seats or 20 inches (51 cm) wide with cup holders on every seat. [33]
  • New sport lighting in stadium; 10% of lighting is called hot strip lighting. Hot strip lighting gives instant on and off. [33]


BC Place during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics Vancouver 2010 opening ceremony.jpg
BC Place during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics
Scene inside BC Place prior to the start of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final BC Place (19186581723) (2).jpg
Scene inside BC Place prior to the start of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Final

The opening and closing ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the opening ceremonies of the X Paralympic Winter Games were also held in BC Place Stadium in February and March 2010, respectively. The stadium was the first air-supported structure and 24th venue to host the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. It was also both the third CFL venue and the third Canadian venue to have served as an Olympic Stadium, after Montreal's Olympic Stadium and Calgary's McMahon Stadium.

The 47th Vanier Cup was the first Canadian university football championship paired with the Grey Cup Festival and played Friday, November 25, 2011 between the McMaster Marauders and Laval Rouge et Or in front of 24,935. Nicknamed "Best Game... Ever", [42] it is widely regarded as one of the most exciting Canadian Football games of all time [43] with McMaster winning 41–38 in double overtime. It was the first championship played in the newly renovated facility.

The 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament final between the United States and Canada played at the stadium was the highest attendance for a women's CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying game with 25,427 people in attendance. [44]

The 2014 NHL Heritage Classic took place March 2, 2014 in BC Place, with the Ottawa Senators facing off against the home team Vancouver Canucks. [45] It was the first of the NHL's "outdoor" games to be played in what technically is an indoor stadium, albeit one of a larger capacity than a typical NHL arena.

BC Place hosted its second major international sports competition, the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Five group stage matches, two round of 16 matches, and one quarterfinal match were held in the stadium during June 2015, and the final championship match between Japan and the United States was played here on July 5, 2015. [46]

The stadium hosted round six of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2015–16 series. [47]


Interior scene at BC Place during a 2011 Major League Soccer season match between the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake BC Place - night game (6219415118).jpg
Interior scene at BC Place during a 2011 Major League Soccer season match between the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake

Currently, BC Place's main sports tenants are the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). The stadium was also home of the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League (NASL) during the early 1980s. The Vancouver Nighthawks, a member of the World Basketball League, played the 1988 season at BC Place. [48] Soccer Bowl '83 was also held at BC Place, where the Tulsa Roughnecks defeated the Toronto Blizzard 2–0. When it was built, the floor of BC Place was too small to accommodate a full-sized CFL regulation field, as a result BC Place became the first CFL stadium to use a 20-yard end zone instead of the regulation 25-yard end zone then in use. Although controversial at first, the smaller end zone proved highly popular with players and was adopted league-wide in 1986. [49]

The stadium has hosted the CFL's championship game, the Grey Cup, nine times: in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2011, and 2014. Notable was the 1994 championship, in which the hometown BC Lions defeated the U.S. expansion team the Baltimore Football Club on a last-second field goal by Lui Passaglia, preventing the Grey Cup trophy from leaving Canada (Baltimore would win the Grey Cup the following year). The stadium hosted the 99th Grey Cup in 2011 after the new roof was completed (this Grey Cup game was also won by the BC Lions at home). [50]

The stadium is also built to accommodate a baseball diamond, with retractable seating sections making room for right field. The Vancouver Canadians of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League played several series of games there between 1984 and 1988, including games 1 and 2 of the 1985 league championship series. Numerous Major League Baseball spring training games were also played, including in 1984 (Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers), 1986 (Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners), 1993 (Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee and Detroit Tigers) and 1994 MLB season (Toronto, Seattle, Montreal and Colorado Rockies). [51]


Expo Line SkyTrain pulling into Stadium-Chinatown station, located adjacent to Rogers Arena and BC Place SkyTrain Mark III arriving at Stadium Chinatown Station.jpg
Expo Line SkyTrain pulling into Stadium–Chinatown station, located adjacent to Rogers Arena and BC Place

The stadium is served by two SkyTrain stations via the Expo Line and Canada Line: Stadium–Chinatown to the East, and Yaletown–Roundhouse to the West. The False Creek Ferries and Aquabus also serve the stadium, docking at the nearby Plaza of Nations.


See also

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  1. "Whitecaps expand lower bowl capacity at B.C. Place to 22,120". March 4, 2016. Archived from the original on May 9, 2016.
  2. 1 2 Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. January 18, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019. and 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
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Preceded by
Stadio Olimpico di Torino
Winter Olympics
Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

Succeeded by
Fisht Olympic Stadium
Preceded by
FIFA Women's World Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Parc Olympique Lyonnais