Year in Review: Looking back on 2020 at BC Place

December 13th, 2020

Since opening more than 35 years ago, BC Place Stadium has never faced a year quite like 2020. The past 12 months at the facility have brought challenges, achievements and a renewed commitment to serving communities across British Columbia. Here's a look back at an unforgettable year at BC Place:

In February, BC Place welcomed more than 30,000 guests for the 58th annual Vancouver International Boat Show. The show featured an exciting lineup of the newest boats and accessories from over 250 exhibitors, as well as several informative seminars. Considered to be one of the premier boat events in North America, the Vancouver International Boat Show is a significant contributor to the $1.25 billion in annual economic impact the industry generates in British Columbia.

From February 19th to February 23rd, the stadium hosted the annual BC Home and Garden Show. Celebrating its 49th anniversary, the show featured over 425 trusted brands and local companies, including the industry’s top home improvement celebrities and local designers.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC kicked off the 2020 Major League Soccer regular season at home against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, February 29th. This would be the only match played at BC Place with fans in attendance this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the MLS suspended match play for several months beginning on March 12th, the Whitecaps were able to continue the season with six matches against their Canadian rivals from August 18th to September 16th. The stadium successfully hosted three of the matches in a fan-free configuration designed for broadcast television.

The HSBC Canada Sevens tournament returned to BC Place on March 7th and 8th for the sixth leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. It was an exciting weekend with hosts Canada taking the bronze medal after an impressive 26-19 victory over South Africa. The All Blacks Sevens were crowned Vancouver champions upon winning a tense final against Australia in front of a bumper crowd.

This summer BC Place became the first stadium in Canada to achieve Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery. The distinction further demonstrates the stadium's commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our guests, team members and community.

BC Place made history as British Columbia’s largest voting place in the 2020 provincial election. Over 3,200 British Columbians were able to vote safely and efficiently at the stadium during Advanced Voting and on Election Day in October. The success of this adapted setup demonstrated how our venue can safely host activities while maintaining the priorities of public health.

BC Place has continued to serve as a backdrop for some of TV's biggest shows throughout 2020, including DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman and The Flash. Wondering what other movies and TV shows have been shot at the stadium? Check out: 10 Movies You Didn't Know Filmed At BC Place

For several years BC Place has been proud to provide a safe space for first responders from across the province to perform critical training exercises. For example, earlier this year several members of the Canadian Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team completed unique drills at the stadium, including rappelling from 200 feet above the field. Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) refers to technical search and rescue skills used in the event of a disaster. These specialized skills play a critical role in a variety of emergency situations, including urban building collapses, mudslides, flooding, and forest fires, among other disasters.

BC Place has always been committed to giving back to the community. Each year, the stadium supports hundreds of local organizations and not-for-profit societies to help make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. This year was no exception, with the need for help in many communities being greater than ever.

With the postponement of events earlier this year, the Centerplate team at BC Place wanted to ensure leftover food did not go to waste. To date, over 10,000 pounds of food has been donated to The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light, which helps serve the stadium's neighbours in the Downtown Eastside. Led by Executive Chef Will Tse, the team was also able to distribute over 300 grocery bags to assist staff.

BC Place introduced the Hearts of Hope project in April, an initiative dedicated to spreading messages of hope and gratitude throughout the community during this unprecedented year. The stadium received dozens of messages from staff and community members wanting to share their appreciation for essential workers around British Columbia.

In the spring, BC Place launched the 'Together Again' series as an opportunity to share stories from British Columbians who have a strong connection to BC Place and the events that bring it to life. The series included compelling conversations with CFL legend Wally Buono and Nathan Hirayama from Rugby Canada, inspiring others to reflect on their own memories at the stadium over the years.

BC Place continued to support its partners at the BC Sports Hall of Fame on a number of initiatives this year, including the 'Inspiring the Future' series. The series featured honoured BC Sports Hall of Fame members discussing how to overcome challenges in the face of adversity, specifically related to the hardships COVID-19 presented for many.

To recognize Indigenous History Month and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in June, the BC Sports Hall of Fame partnered with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council to share a virtual tour of the Indigenous Sport Gallery. The award-winning exhibit space features information about traditional Indigenous games, artifacts and memorabilia from Indigenous athletes in all levels of sport, a feature on the North American Indigenous Games, as well as a Circle of Champions, honouring the Indigenous athletes that have been formally Inducted to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

BC Place celebrated the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver on February 12th, 2020. The stadium was proud to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Games, with over 3 billion viewers tuning in to see BC Place transform into a breathtaking set. From snowboarder Johnny Lyall jumping through the Olympic rings at the Opening Ceremonies to Sidney Crosby's golden goal in overtime of the men’s hockey gold medal game, the 2010 Games created unforgettable memories for people around the world.

The stadium recognized the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope in April. On April 12, 1980 Terry Fox dipped his foot into the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland, transforming the course of cancer research in Canada. BC Place is proud to be the home of Terry Fox Plaza, which features a memorial by artist Douglas Coupland. The four bronze statues of Terry Fox stand in downtown Vancouver aligned towards Stanley Park, symbolizing both the journey he was never able to finish and the worldwide movement he inspired.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the globally recognized Northern Lights Display has continued to shine a light on charities and non-profit causes that are important to British Columbians. The stadium was illuminated for over 200 unique community initiatives and charitable causes this year, a record number for BC Place. The stadium has also continued to light up with a special animation at the top of each hour every night to show support for health care professionals working tirelessly across the province.

While the stadium lights may have dimmed this year, we have never gone dark. Thanks to your continued support, our future remains bright. We look forward to the day when we can be together again under one roof!