BC Place is a multi-purpose stadium located at the north side of False Creek, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Opened on 19 June 1983 as the world's largest air-supported stadium, it is owned and operated by the BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), a crown corporation of the province. The venue has a spectator capacity of 54,500.

Construction of the venue started in 1981, and was built in part as for the opening and closing venue of the Expo 86 and in part to attract a never realized Major League Baseball team to Vancouver. Since 1983 it has been the home for the Canadian Football League (CFL) side BC Lions, and has also been home to the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League in 1983 and 1984, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC of the Major League Soccer since 2011. 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. From April 2010 to September 2011, the stadium is closed for renovations, with a new retractable roof being installed.


The stadium, completed in 1983, was built as part of the preparation for the 1986 World's Fair, Expo 86. It was the world's largest air-supported domed stadium until May 4, 2010 when it was deflated for the final time. The Stadium can seat 60,000 in its mixture of permanent and portable light-blue plastic seats. It was built in part to attract a Major League Baseball team in the 80s and 90s and several spring training games were held during that time, but no MLB expansion to Vancouver has occurred. Its design is similar to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was a Major League Baseball stadium (home to the Minnesota Twins) from 1982 until 2009 as well as home to the Minnesota Vikings football team currently.

The first major event held in the stadium was on September 18, 1984. Called "A Celebration of Life," Pope John Paul II hosted the event on his papal visit to the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Over 65,000 people came to the event, one of the highest attended events in the stadium. The second major event held at the stadium came a few months later, that being the Canadian Pacific Billy Graham Crusade, which drew similar numbers each night. The next major event held in the stadium occurred when Queen Elizabeth invited 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 2, 1986.

The opening and closing ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the opening ceremonies of the X Paralympic Winter Games were held in BC Place Stadium in February and March 2010, respectively. The stadium was the first air-supported structure and the 24th venue of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Sports teams

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 with plans of the MLS team playing there starting in 2011. 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 game 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). The stadium will also host the 99th Grey Cup in 2011, at which time the retractable roof will have been installed.

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.

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.

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.

  • A view of the deflated roof

  • A view of the deflation of the roof

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 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 million in expenses), not including $2.3 million for amortization.VCCEP Statements of Financial Information of (March 31, 2008). It hosts the Province's largest trade and consumer shows, concerts, 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 FC 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.

The King of Pop Michael Jackson performed a three-night series of exclusive Victory Tour (The Jacksons Tour) concerts with his brothers The Jacksons in BC Place on November 16, 1984 to an unparalleled 100,000 spectators in Vancouver, their very first visit.

Madonna performed in Vancouver for the first time in her career in BC Place during her Sticky & Sweet Tour on October 30, 2008. 50,000 tickets for the concert were sold in only 29 minutes.

Many local sporting provincial games happen in BC Place, such as BCCFA provincial games.

It makes a cameo in the opening movie to the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.

A monument commemorating Terry Fox is located outside the stadium, as well as a smaller monument commemorating Percy Williams.

Renovations and roof replacement

On May 16, 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. These major renovations are being done in two phases. The first phase which included upgrades to seating, washrooms and concessions and luxury suites, as well as reinforcement of the existing ring beam at the top of the building, was completed in October 2009. Work on the retractable roof began in May 2010, shortly after the completion of the 2010 Winter Paralympics. The new retractable roof resembles Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany although it is unique in that it will be the largest of its kind in the world.

On January 9, 2009, the British Columbia government approved the funding envelope for a $365-million upgrade of BC Place, which will include a retractable roof. The $365 million cost includes $65 million in interior improvements already underway, a $43-million seismic upgrade, the roof project, plumbing, electrical and infrastructure improvements and a contingency fund. BC Pavilion Corporation chair David Podmore said the retractable roof probably will not be finished until the summer of 2011. On August 25, 2009, tourism minister Kevin Krueger said there had been some delays in approving the project, and the government had asked PavCo to submit a revised business plan taking into account current economic realities.

BC Place is currently closed to events, for construction of the new retractable roof and accompanying upgrades.

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC have signed a letter of intent to use BC Place beginning in 2011 when they expand into Major League Soccer.

On October 23, 2009, the B.C. Government officially announced that B.C. Place would be getting a new retractable roof, plus associated upgrades, at the cost of $458-million under a fixed-price contract. Construction on the new roof began after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and is scheduled to be completed by September 30, 2011, ensuring it is ready for the Grey Cup and Vanier Cup in November. During construction, the B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps will play the majority of their home games at Empire Field, a temporary stadium at the Pacific National Exhibition.

The official budget for the completed Phase 1 upgrades, plus the ongoing revitalization project is now $563 million. Pavco has denied rumours that the true cost of renovations is approaching $850-million. Vancouver Sun Blog 2011/05/09


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, Vancouver.

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