We built this city on… great events!

As the Lions roared to victory over the Bombers at BC Place in Vancouver last weekend, we were inspired to contemplate how large events, like the Grey Cup, have a positive impact on host cities. As locals, (our head office is based in Vancouver) we witnessed the city and its football fans excitedly prepare for the coveted CFL finale. And there was no denying the buzz – a brand new stadium (well a swish new roof anyhow!) and the host city/province’s team making the cut. To top it all off? Of course, a triumphant win for the home team!

Following a spot of research, we came to realize that Vancouver, as we know it today, was very much shaped by the iconic events it has hosted over the years. Much of the city’s modern infrastructure owes its existence to the World’s Fair of 1986 and more recently, to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics of 2010. Not to mention the sporting events, thriving sports teams, and the passionate fans who support them – that have spurred on further development.

For example, where would the city’s skyline be without its crown, BC Place? The stadium was built in the early ‘80s in preparation for the World’s Fair in 1986 when it was used for the exposition’s opening and closing ceremonies. The structure, with its familiar marshmallow roof, became a Vancouver landmark and well-loved home to Vancouver’s White Caps and the BC Lions. It hosts over 200 events every year and in 2010, had the honour of being used as the Winter Olympics and Paralympics stadium.

Its success as a multi-purpose stadium and the fans that have supported events at BC Place over the years, inspired a multi-million dollar renovation program in 2010. Just after the Winter Olympics, the stadium was temporarily closed whilst it underwent a thorough upgrade including the addition of a unique retractable roof, before re-opening in time to host this year’s Grey Cup.

Moving onto the city’s transport system, the Sky Train’s ‘Expo Line’ was built for the World’s Fair in ‘86 and the ‘Canada Line’ for the Olympics. The Canada Line alone, now ferries over 100,000 people daily in and out of the Downtown core. And not forgetting, with this infrastructure, came investment in properties and businesses in the areas surrounding Sky train stations – investment reportedly to the tune of $5 billion so far.

Science World’s dome structure? Built for Expo ’86. Sea to Sky Highway? Upgraded for the Winter Olympics. Canada Pavilion at Canada Place? Built for Expo ’86. The list goes on.

Of course, we realize that a vast part of Vancouver’s charm results, not from its urban infrastructure, but from mother nature. Nothing can beat the exquisite natural setting that Vancouver enjoys – undoubtedly the top reason for the metropolis being consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world. Still, we’ve enjoyed our little jaunt through the last thirty years, reflecting on the events that have helped to shape the Vancouver skyline and infrastructure that we know and love today!

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