By Michael McColl
Opened in 1983, and completely renovated between 2009 and 2011, Vancouver’s BC Place is the jewel in the crown of Canada’s sports stadiums and a must visit on any trip to the city.
With a total capacity of 54,500 in upper and lower bowl seating, BC Place has played host to some of the top sporting events in the world, including the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Most recently, the stadium became a venue for the World Rugby Sevens Series and has hosted the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) championship, the Grey Cup.
The stadium is also home to two of the city’s sports teams – Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer and the CFL’s BC Lions. Both the men’s and the women’s Canadian national soccer teams also play regularly at the stadium. The Whitecaps play home games from March to November, with the Lions’ season taking place from June to November.
The downtown location of the stadium puts fans right in the middle of many bars and restaurants, giving visitors and locals a chance to sample some of the best that Vancouver has to offer before heading off to their event.
And you can leave your car at home as BC Place is serviced by two Skytrain stations (Stadium-Chinatown and Yaletown-Roundhouse), the False Creek Ferry, aquabus and buses.
Stadium Must Knows:
- BC Place boasts a cable-supported retractable roof, so Vancouver’s infamous wet weather doesn’t come in to play if you’re attending a game or an event at the stadium. The roof is the largest of its kind in the world and takes around 20 minutes to open and close.
- The lights on the outside facade of the stadium are colour co-ordinated to match the team or event taking place, lighting up Vancouver’s evening skyline in spectacular fashion with Whitecaps blue, Lions orange and Canada red.
- The state of the art High Definition scoreboard takes pride and place hanging centrally above the pitch and is the second largest scoreboard of its kind in North America behind the one found in Dallas Cowboys’ stadium.
- Canada’s men’s soccer team recently set a record-breaking attendance of 54,798 for a World Cup qualifier against Mexico at BC Place in March 2016, which was the largest ever crowd at a national team event of any sport on home soil in the country.
- The Whitecaps and Lions use a special lower bowl only configuration for their matches, so book early as a number of games sell out and are hot tickets in town.
Stadium Must Sees:
- Approaching BC Place from the downtown hub, you are met by a statue of Terry Fox outside the stadium in the plaza named after him. Fox is one of Canada’s most inspiring athletes and has left a lasting legacy that has touched all Canadians.
- The BC Sports Hall of Fame is located within the stadium at Gate A. Open daily, additional admission is required to any game or event ticket, but it is a must visit for sports fans and tells the rich history of sport in the province.
Stadium Must Do’s:
- If you’re a soccer fan, a ‘March to the Match’ takes place every Whitecaps and Canadian national team home game, leaving from Doolin’s Irish Pub. It’s the perfect pre-match experience for first time visitors and regulars alike.
- The upscale stadium food offers everything from your typical North American fare like burgers and hot dogs, to local fish and chips, Asian cuisine and must tries like the short rib poutine and Indian curries from world renowned local chef Vikram Vij.
- BC Place has a good mix of beers and wines throughout the stadium, including local craft brews at The Thirsty Pigeon. Named after some of the stadium’s famous inhabitants, The Thirsty Pigeon can be found in three sections of BC Place (203, 234 and 248).