BC Place
Location 777 Pacific Boulevard
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 4Y8,
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Opened June 19, 1983
Renovated 2009 (interior), 2011 (exterior and interior)
Owner Province of British Columbia
Operator BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCO)
Surface Polytan LigaTurf 240 RS+
(FIFA recommended 2 Star)
Construction cost $126.1 million
($260 million in 2020 dollars[1])

2009 to 2011 - $514 million
($514 million in 2020 dollars[1])

Total cost:
$774 million in 2020 dollars[1]
Architect Studio Phillips Barratt, Ltd.[2]
Stantec Architecture Ltd. (renovation)
Structural engineer Geiger Berger Associates[2]
Geiger Engineers (new roof & center-hung scoreboard)[3]
Schlaich Bergermann & Partner (consulting engineers)
Services engineer Genivar, Inc. (renovation)
Tenants BC Lions (CFL) (1983–2009, 2011–present)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS) (2011–present)
Vancouver Whitecaps (NASL) (1983–1984)
Vancouver Nighthawks (WBL) (1988)
Capacity 54,320 (Football)
21,000 (Soccer)

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. When originally opened on June 19, 1983, it was the world's largest air-supported roof.[4] In 2010 the stadium closed for a major renovation and reconfiguration. It reopened on September 30, 2011 as the world's largest cable supported retractable roof stadium. It is the home field for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). It was the Olympic Stadium during the 2010 Winter Olympic and 2010 Paralympics and has hosted the CFL Grey Cup eight times. The BC Sports Hall of Fame is located within the stadium.


Construction of the stadium started in 1981 and was completed in 1983. BC Place was built as part of the preparations for the 1986 World's Fair, Expo 86. 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.[5] Its original air-supported design was similar to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota which is currently home to the Minnesota Vikings National Football League team.

Highlights of stadium eventsEdit

The first major event held in the stadium was on September 18, 1984 when 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.

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.

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.

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.[6]

2007 roof deflationEdit

On January 5, 2007, a tear occurred in the roof's ETFE fabric close to Gate G on the south side where the roof meets the top of the concrete bowl.[7][8] 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.[9] 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.[10] No one was injured during the incident, although rain and melted snow flooded the bowl and subsequently had to be pumped out.

An independent report indicated that an accidental rapid pressurization combined with lightly gusting wind and a location of previously undetected damage caused the tear.[11] The damaged panel was replaced with a temporary one on January 19 and the roof was re-inflated.[12][13] The BC Contractors Association held an exhibition in the stadium over the week of January 23,[14] during which the roof leaked in several places when it rained.[15] The temporary panel was successfully replaced with a permanent one in June 2007, prior to the start of the BC Lions 2007 season.[16]

Sports teamsEdit

File:BC Place 2011 Lions.jpg
File:BC Place 2011 Whitecaps.jpg

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 last NASL Soccer Bowl was also held at BC Place, where the Tulsa Roughnecks defeated the Toronto Blizzard 2-0.

The stadium has hosted the CFL's championship game, the Grey Cup, eight times: in 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2005, and 2011. Perhaps the most thrilling game 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 now that the new roof has been finished.[17]

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",[18] it is widely regarded as one of the most exciting Canadian Football games of all time[19] with McMaster winning 41-38 in double overtime. It was the first championship played in the newly renovated facility.

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 Vancouver Nighthawks, a member of the World Basketball League, played the 1988 season at BC Place.[20]

A couple of Seattle based professional teams have staged games at BC Place. Prior to the 1994 MLB season, the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Montreal Expos played an exhibition tournament there.[21] The retractable seating sections made room for right field. 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.

Renovation and roof replacementEdit

PavCo, which owns and operates BC Place, 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.

On May 16, 2008, it was announced that over $150 million in major renovations would be carried out on BC Place Stadium. These included seating replacements, washroom and concessions renovations, and replacement of the ETFE roof with a new retractable roof.[22] 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[23] and was completed in October 2009. Work on the retractable roof began in May 2010, shortly 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.[24] The new roof, a cable-supported retractable roof system first used with the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany,[25] is the largest of its kind.[26]

The updated stadium also features the second largest centre-hung high definition scoreboard in North America, after the one in Cowboys Stadium. 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 Script error.[1]

BC Place has been described as one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of North America and the Crown Jewel of the CFL.[2] TSN analyst and former CFL player Chris Schultz praised both the design and engineering of the new stadium.[3]

The opening measures Script error, 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.[1]

BC Place renovations summaryEdit

  • New retractable roof is the largest cable supported retractable roof in the world.[2][3]
  • Revolving doors replaced with clear glass doors, which allows the stadium to be accessed much more easily.[4]
  • Old brown glass around building replaced with light green glass which lets more light in and makes stadium brighter.[4]
  • 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".[4]
  • New synthetic turf, called Polytan LigaTurf RS+, was installed as the new playing surface. Turf has a Script error thick shock pad underneath the turf and special eco-friendly BionPro infill.[1]
  • A centre-hung high-definition scoreboard measuring Script error.[1]
  • Around the stadium is a new 51 inch electronic ribbon board, with a circumference of 2200 ft.[2]
  • Added 1,140 new HDTV screens. Screens work thru 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.[3]
  • All concourses widened and refurbished.[4]
  • Added 140 additional portable concession stands. Storage of food and supplies will be in concession stands.[3]
  • 50 fully refurbished private suites and 1,300 newly refurbished premium Club Seats.[5][6][7]
  • Wheel chair seating now at every price point and level of the stadium.[2]
  • New upgraded washrooms, and access ramps with new lighting.[8]
  • New state of the art sound system.[2]
  • New wider seats: seats or Script error wide with cup holders on every seat.[1]
  • New sport lighting in stadium; 10% of lighting is called hot strip lighting. Hot strip lighting gives instant on and off.[1]

Awards for BC Place renovationEdit

  • Project of the Year for the 2012 International Stadium Business Awards[2]
  • National Council of Structural Engineers Associations' 2012 Outstanding Project Award in the Forensic/Renovation/Retrofit/Rehabilitation Structures category[3]
  • One of the 2012 Awards of Excellence presented to GENIVAR and Geiger Engineers by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, Canada[4]

Notable eventsEdit


BC Place with original roof, view from the north

BC Place is busy with over 200 event-days per year including British Columbia's largest trade and consumer shows, concerts, community events, and motorsports. 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. The stadium annually serves as the finish line for both the Vancouver Sun Run in April and the Vancouver Marathon in May. The food festival, Eat! Vancouver, takes place annually at BC Place.

File:BC Place Vancouver.jpg

Michael Jackson performed exclusive Victory Tour concerts with his brothers The Jacksons in BC Place on November 16, 17 & 18, 1984 to 42,000 spectators each night. Madonna performed in Vancouver for the first time in her career at BC Place during her Sticky & Sweet Tour on October 30, 2008. 50,000 tickets for the concert were sold in only 29 minutes. Taylor Swift is set to perform at BC Place during her Red Tour with special guest Ed Sheeran on June 29, 2013 to an audience of nearly 50,000 spectators.

BC Place will host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup final game.[5]


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 Edgewater Casino.

See alsoEdit

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External linksEdit

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