Vancouver, BC (April 3, 2009) – Premier Gordon Campbell and Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Stockwell Day joined convention centre workers to officially open the new Vancouver Convention Centre today – one of the world’s “greenest” convention centres and the largest waterfront convention centre anywhere in Canada.
“The new Vancouver Convention Centre is an iconic, world-class facility that will bring
thousands of new visitors to our province and inject billions into the economy,” said Premier Campbell. “Of the upcoming meetings and conventions already booked, 57 would not have come to B.C. without this new, larger centre. This centre is an economic engine that will generate more spending, more business and more opportunities for decades to come.”
The additional 111,500 sq m (1.2 million sq ft) triples the centre’s capacity, and includes
Canada’s largest ballroom, 52 different meeting rooms, a six acre “living roof” with its own colony of bees, and an exhibit hall larger than the playing field at BC Place. The new facility has already attracted 184 upcoming events which will generate more than $2 billion in economic activity.
“As the Asia Pacific gateway to Canada, Vancouver is a truly international city,” said Minister Day. “As a result, this spectacular expansion of the Vancouver Convention Centre will go a long way to capturing the attention of the world, encouraging meeting planners to select us for their next convention. It’s an investment in tourism and trade that’s already paying dividends.”
“It’s a remarkable building in so many ways,” said Podmore. “The men and women who
helped to design and build this waterfront expansion have combined form and function to create something very special. It’s a truly unique public asset in which we can all take a great deal of pride, because it’s as much for us as it is for our visitors, and that’s not always the case with modern convention centres in other cities.”
The expansion emphasizes the use of B.C. wood and features a 90-metre glass connector
linking it to the original Convention Centre at Canada Place.
Today’s opening ceremonies come ahead of two days of public open houses on April 4 and 5.
“One of the most important features of the Convention Centre is its capacity to bring people back to other parts of British Columbia,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, and minister responsible for BC Pavilion Corporation, which operates the Vancouver Convention Centre and BC Place. “Delegates will come to meet here, but we also know that many of them will also return as visitors to other parts of the province. It makes the Convention Centre a powerful marketing tool for our tourism industry.”
The $883.2-million expansion, which broke ground on November 8, 2004, was made possible by a funding partnership of the Province of British Columbia ($540.7 million), the Government of Canada ($222.5 million), Tourism Vancouver ($90 million), and an additional $30 million in revenues to be generated by business activities at the new centre.
“With the world watching in 2010, the Convention Centre expansion will give us the ability to tap into whole new markets,” said Geoffrey Howes, chair of Tourism Vancouver. “There’s no question the world wants to meet in Vancouver, and these new facilities and the centre’s setting and commitment to environmental sustainability combine to give us a competitive advantage that few places can rival.”
The expansion was built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold
standards, with environmental features that include the largest living roof in Canada, a new marine habitat surrounding the buildings foundations, water recycling, and the use of natural light and ventilation throughout.
With the opening of the new centre, the original at Canada Place will close for upgrades before the entire convention centre is turned over to VANOC in September for use as the media and broadcast centre during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
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