OTD: BC Place opens in Vancouver

On today’s date in 1983, the 60,000-seat domed stadium BC Place opened in Vancouver on Canada’s west coast.

The venue, with its 760-metre roof, was proposed by Erwin Swangard, then president of the Pacific National Exhibition. Five years earlier, he suggested an open-air multiplex to replace the older Empire Stadium, which hosted the 1954 British Empire Games.

The June 19 “official grand opening gala” was themed “Expect the World.”

Since then, BC Place has hosted many iconic events, including:

  • the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games;
  • the Grey Cup Championship in 2011, 2005, 1999, 1994, 1990, 1987, 1986 and 1983;
  • BC Lions Football seasons, including eight championship games and hundreds of community initiatives;
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC seasons, including the venue’s first major sporting event on June 20, 1983, a day after it opened;
  • performances by world-famous artists, including Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, The Three Tenors and more;
  • official ceremonies such as the opening of Expo ’86 and a visit from Pope John Paul II; and
  • the 2014 NHL Heritage Classic.

BC Place opened its doors for the first time on June 19, 1983. (Photo by City of Vancouver Archives COV-S509)


In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a $75 gold coin to mark the beginning of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which saw its championship game played at BC Place on July 5 of that year.

Canadian artist Tony Bianco created a detailed design of the Vancouver venue, featuring its newly installed columns designed to support the stadium’s retractable roof—the largest of its kind in the world. A soccer ball soars above the stadium in celebration of the 2015 tournament while orcas in the foreground and mountains in the background introduce quintessential images of Canada’s West Coast.

In the tournament, Canada finished the group stage in the top spot of Group A.

In the first round of the knockout stage, Canada defeated Switzerland 1-0 but eventually lost in the quarter-finals to England, which went on to finish third.

The United States earned its third title after defeating Japan in the final.

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