Vancouver's BC Place is one of the biggest event venues in the country, and on Monday, June 19, it'll turn 40 years old.
The massive stadium was built for Expo 86, but was finished in advance, opening to the public with a ceremony broadcast on TV featuring performances and speeches on the field with thousands in the stands.
The first sporting event was a Vancouver Whitecaps game (they were part of the NASL at the time), held the next day on June 20 and shows started right away. For example, a month later on July 20th the Beach Boys rolled into town, playing a show at the beach...a beach they built inside the brand-new stadium.
It wasn't just sports and musical acts that show up. It's been used to host visits from the Pope, Princess Diana, and Queen Elizabeth (at different times) and for everything from rooftop DJ sets to urban emergency training drills.
It also is home to the BC Sports Hall of Fame museum, for those interested in local sports history.
Here are five other fun facts about the massive building.
1. Record-setting roofs
BC Place has, famously (and expensively), had two different roofs. Both have been record-setters.
The first, the inflated white dome that many still associate with Vancouver, was the world's largest air-supported roof when it was built. The huge flexible top was more than just a tarp; it had to be engineered to stay up at all times, despite temperature changes, high winds, and snow.
Snow and wind actually collaborated in a dramatic deflation of the roof in 2007 when it tore.
Just after the Olympics work began on a new roof, which is the world's largest cable-supported fabric roof. It cost a pretty penny; in 2012 it was announced the replacement came in at $514 million.
An upgrade a couple of years ago added rainwater collection to the roof's duties, and it now collects somewhere around 45,000,000 L of rainwater a year.
2. It shows up in films like Godzilla and the Fantastic Four
As with many places in Vancouver, it's shown up on screen a few times, including some blockbusters. For example, in the 2014 Godzilla reboot, it's where many take refuge after the mega-monsters do battle in San Francisco.
Other times it has made the cut include the 2005 Fantastic Four, on TV series like the X Files and MacGyver, and in commercials for everything from Adidas to Chevy.
3. World leaders like Prime Minister Jean Chretien and US President Bill Clinton had dinner there
The APEC summit in 1997 was a major moment for Vancouver on the world stage as major world leaders showed up, including China's Jiang Zemin, Indonesia's Suharto, and Australia's John Howard.
As part of the massive event, a dinner was held. And not a simple, small supper, but a 1,000-invitee event. As such, it was held on the stadium's floor, and included local business leaders and "eminent Canadians" according to Clinton's itinerary.
4. Pamela Anderson discovered in the stands
No, it's not like she was found one day out of the blue. It's more like, she was found one day by the Blue.
The 22-year-old fitness instructor from Vancouver Island had been living in Vancouver for a little while when she went to a BC Lions game.
She was wearing a Labatt's Blue shirt, and the camera found her, putting her up on the stadium's jumbotron. Labatt's decided to hire her as a spokesmodel, and things began to snowball. Within a year she'd moved to LA to pursue modeling and appeared on the cover of Playboy.
5. It was designed to be MLB friendly
While Vancouver has never been home to an MLB franchise, it's prepared. BC Place was designed with professional baseball in mind, and has been used for some exhibition and preseason games in the past.
A few times there's been discussion of Vancouver as a potential home for an MLB team, either with a new field or using BC Place; most recently it came up with the struggling Oakland A's.
...don't realize today, @bcplace was built with the intention of hosting @MLB games in a baseball-specific set-up. BC Place did host several exhibition MLB games over the years (including the ill-fated 1993 game where Seattle @Mariners star Edgar Martinez caught his foot in.../4— Jason D Beck (@JasonBeck82) April 28, 2023