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Debra Sparrow hopes BC Place artwork 'lights the way as we move from darkness'

February 23rd, 2023

BC Place’s iconic Northern Lights Display is illuminating with a special design by Debra Sparrow every night until February 26 as part of the VMF Winter Arts festival's Blanketing the City.

The renowned xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver shared her thoughts on the importance of sharing Coast Salish weaving patterns, colours and stories using the stadium’s lights:

“If you look around the city, you see the tall glass buildings and the lights, but really, what is your history? What is the foundation and the roots of this place? It’s blankets. We blanket the city with murals, and through the VMF Winter Arts, we now light up Vancouver and light the way as we move away from the darkness of the pandemic.

“This year’s artwork is far brighter, and it has new patterns that I’m excited about. Patterns speak to all cultures. As xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) textile weavers, we reflect the geometrics that give the whole city a sense of connection.

“We hope that humanity can learn from looking at the beauty of this artwork, and that it offers a way of connecting us all to each other. Here we are, as Indigenous people living on the outskirts of what you know as a city, where all of our villages were and no longer are. This artwork is also to honour our ancestors, for our Elders who were so wrongly done, while opening up a new way for all of us.

“My hands are up to BC Place for this amazing collaboration with myself and the VMF Winter Arts.”

'A special connection': BC Place welcomes back students with Field of Dreams program

June 3rd, 2022

The school participation program provides unique opportunity to play on same field as their sporting heroes

There’s nothing quite like seeing the smile on a child’s face.

And there were plenty of them at BC Place last month, as the stadium reopened its doors to schoolchildren in British Columbia with the Field of Dreams Schools Participation Program, welcoming back students to play on the same field as their sporting heroes.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to enjoy playing on the huge, open space,” said Lori Prodan, Principal of šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət Crosstown Elementary School. “As BC Place is part of our neighborhood, we appreciate this community involvement in support of our students.” 

Launched in 2019, Field of Dreams is a community initiative designed to offer schools an indoor space for physical activities on the stadium’s field of play when it is not otherwise being utilized for events or operations. Having welcomed over 500 students during its pilot, the program resumed this past May after temporarily pausing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Community-building is imperative to BC Place, and we’re thrilled to see children running around at the stadium again,“ said Chris May, BC Place General Manager. “The experience provides these kids with a great facility for their school programs, while also sparking dreams of one day performing on this same turf. Seeing the smiles on these kids’ faces reminds us of our responsibility to enrich the lives of British Columbians, especially the youth in our community. We are thrilled to be able to support Field Of Dreams once again.”

The stadium hosted neighbouring šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət Crosstown Elementary School and The Westside School for the relaunch on May 19, including 60 students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 from each school per session, as they took part in activities included in their physical education curriculum.

"Given that our elementary campus is located just off Terry Fox Plaza, we feel a special connection to the stadium,” said Christie Berkey, Principal of The Westside School. “Our students have been excited to play on the field like professional athletes. This experience will surely remind our students that they can achieve great things with effort and teamwork!"

Schools interested in applying for the 2022 program are encouraged to visit bcplace.com for information, including eligibility criteria, application process, and program guidelines. To apply, please email stadium@bcpavco.com.

BC Place host Canada Task Force 1 for remote camp operation training

March 15th, 2022

A team of all-stars took to the pitch for a training session recently at BC Place - only this time, they weren’t kicking a ball around.

Late last month, BC Place played host to Canada Task Force 1 (CAN-TF1), a special operations team of up to 130 members from Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services, BC Ambulance Service, City of Vancouver Engineering Services, and Vancouver Park Board.

One of six Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) Task Force teams in Canada, the group took part in mobilizing training sessions, involving remote camp setup and emergency water treatment infrastructure installation.

Coming off a busy 2021 where the team was mobilized at the Sumas flooding and the Agassiz landslide, as well as industrial collapses in Kelowna and North Vancouver, CAN-TF1 required a safe, dry, and large space to orient members of the team with base camp operations and setup.

“The square-footage for this type of operation requires a warehouse-type space. There’s very limited options in the city of Vancouver to do that,” said David Boone, Director of CAN-TF1. “If we were to do this outside, there’s a lot of moisture in the air. Once these tents are wet, if they’re packed away, it could build mildew and have issues. To have a community partner like BC Place provide a dry environment that’s safe and secure, is a huge advantage for us.”

The stadium has hosted various first-responder groups in the past, even once making use of the catwalk around the world-famous BC Place roof to simulate different rescue operations.

“We’ve used BC Place for Fire and HUSAR exercises, and this is just one more example of the great benefit we have in access to BC Place,” added Boone. “We appreciate BC Place for sharing their space for us.”

Part of the CAN-TF1 remote camp simulation at BC Place was a mobile water treatment and distribution infrastructure that can produce 19,000 liters of drinking water from a contaminated source. Potable water is crucial at remote camps, and is used for consumption, showering, hand washing, cooking, decontamination and cleaning.

“I’ve been to several games here, and I watched my father-in-law play bagpipes during a BC Lions game. One day you might be watching a soccer game, then another day you’re in a training scenario,” shared Scott Hamilton, CAN-TF1 Logistics team member. “It’s pretty unique to be able to do this in the city you work in. It means a lot to the team to have access to a facility like this.”