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Vancouver Convention Centre Opens; A World Class Jewel


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Sat, April 4: 10-4

Sun, April 5: 10-4

Vancouver's convention centre a world-class jewel

Updated: Thu Apr. 02 2009 20:18:03


After years of delays and budget overruns, Vancouver's brand new convention centre will open its doors on Friday.

Jutting into Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver it is the new jewel on Vancouver's waterfront, and the man charged with running it says it is unique.

"I think of Hong Kong, Geneva... other world-class, potentially Cape Town, would compare to it. But this doesn't exist anywhere else in the world," said Warren Buckley, the convention centre's chief executive officer.

Not many convention centres can offer delegates and visitors stunning views like the North Shore Mountains. Even fewer would use more than two acres of hemlock for interior walls, or have a living roof with 400,000 plants and grasses.

And amongst its 55,000 square feet, and dramatic five-storey ceiling is Canada's largest ballroom.

But such beauty doesn't come cheap. The final price tag is thought to be $883 million, double the original estimate, though Buckley said that figure is too high.

"That budget was set two years ago. We will come under that budget... and that's it," he said.

Soaring costs for construction materials and labour are blamed on the increased cost.

During the 2010 Olympics official broadcasters from around the world like CTV will be drawing attention to the stunning view. The building will house the media centre as they show off Vancouver to the world.

Already, the new facility is drawing admiring glances, especially from the 90 convention planners from across North America who are attending the opening.

One, Kerry Crockett, is from Georgia.

"My group got to do the float plane tours, we got to see some of your wonderful clouds," she laughed. "The coastline is really beautiful."

And she's now booked two conventions -- one in 2012 and the other in 2018.

She's not alone.

So far, 184 events are booked at the new centre, all the way into 2018. That's expected to bring $2 billion to our economy.










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335,000 square feet of function space will be added to the existing 133,000 square feet, for a combined total of 468,000 square feet of meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary theatre space. The overall facility will have a gross area of 1.1 million square feet, including meeting space, support space, parking, and areas for retail and loading.

So looks like we're on par with Dallas, Texas in total space.

But how do you define size? Just meeting space or total area?

Largest U.S. convention centers

Here is a list of the largest convention centers

in the U.S. by available exhibit space:


Center Location (in square feet)

1. McCormick Place Chicago 2.2 million

2. Orange County Orlando 2.05 million

Convention Center

3. Las Vegas Las Vegas 1.94 million

Convention Center

4. Georgia World Atlanta 1.37 million

Congress Center

5. Kentucky Exposition Center Louisville 1.29 million

6. Sands Expo & Center Las Vegas 1.13 million

7. Ernest N. Morial New Orleans 1.1 million

Convention Center

8. Dallas Convention Center Dallas 1.02 million

9. Pennsylvania Farm Show Harrisburg 1 million

Complex & Expo Center

10. George R. Brown Houston 930,000

Convention Center

56. David L. Lawrence Pittsburgh 313,400

Convention Center


If you judge just meeting space, we're about half the size of Dallas.

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  • 2 weeks later...
But won't that put the roof at risk of collapse? ;)

The roof won't collapse, but two floors flooded...



Vancouver's $900M convention centre flooded by broken pipe

Last Updated: Monday, April 27, 2009 | 1:16 PM PT Comments73Recommend55CBC News

A water leak at Vancouver's new convention centre has flooded two levels of the mammoth building, damaging the flooring and forcing 1,000 delegates of a Public Service Alliance of Canada convention out onto the street.

The PSAC convention was supposed to be just the second event at the new convention centre, but just before the annual meeting kicked off Monday morning, the delegates got an unwelcome surprise.

Organizer Jeannie Baldwin told CBC News a sprinkler pipe burst and water began spraying out of the ceiling.

"There's water just pouring out the ceilings, literally, just pouring out of the ceilings on the first floor, and it's going onto all of our electrical, so it's pretty dangerous in there," said Baldwin, a regional vice president with PSAC. "So, we thought the best thing to do was pull all of our delegates outside until a decision was made."

Early reports are that two floors of the building were damaged and several meeting rooms will now need repairs, but there is no word yet on how much repairs will cost or how long they'll take.

One worker said the damaged flooring may have to be replaced. In the meantime, convention delegates have been told to return to their hotels and come back at 2 p.m. PT for an update.

The Vancouver Convention Centre was opened earlier this month at a cost of nearly $900 million, and is slated to be the main international press centre and broadcast facility during the upcoming 2010 Winter Games in February.

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