Vancan Outta The Blue


BC Place: A GRAND Re-Opening
October 1, 2011, 13:58
Filed under: BC Lions, Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Tags: , , , , , ,

By Josh Hall

The renovation and installation of a new retractable roof at BC Place has been, to say the least, controversial. To pretend that as a sports junkie, my opinion on the entire situation is not in the slightest biased, would be a lie to you reading this right now. As promised though, this is my recount of the evening’s activities, stadium wise, and why I believe every single person needs to experience the new BC Place.

It began with the walk up to the stadium. No, they didn’t spend $563 Million just for a new retractable roof. The pimped the hell out of BC Place. Just standing in line waiting for the doors to open, the exterior walls of the stadium are fresh. New signage, cleaned cement walkways, and hey, no revolving doors.

The line-ups outside were nuts, thousands upon thousands of people waiting to get in to see the magnificent job which had been done. Amid the crowds were the likes of Jim Pattison and Pat Quinn. It was a site to see. The atmosphere was palpable.

Finally, you walk in and the concourse has the same wideness to it but yet it’s different. The concessions are sleek and sophisticated. There are plenty of different food options to choose from. Sure, you can get your typical hot dog or burger, but why not get some curry or a beef on weck sandwich. They even have mini donuts, although in my estimation, they aren’t nearly as good as the ones from the PNE, not to mention they are two dollars more than at the PNE. If you are a beer lover, unlike me, expect to pay anywhere from $8.50-$11.50 for a brew. If you’re a Smirnoff fan, well you’re going to fork out $9. It’s what’s expected at a place like this. $3.50 for a bottle of water and $4.75 for a Hot Dog are some other key price marks.

The concourse and its passages from one to another are also the same as before, with the winding ramp like walk ways going up and down. But windows have been installed at nearly every level and now give you hundreds of amazing new views of our great city. Even the paintings on the wall let you know whose home this really is.

Then there are the washrooms. There are plenty of washrooms, that is for sure. If I am being completely honest, the washrooms were a bit of a letdown for me. They said going into the game and the re-opening of BC Place that you wouldn’t miss a second of the action, even if you weren’t in the actual bowl. Well that’s what the 1000+ TV’s in the concourse are for, but there unfortunately, was nothing in the washroom. I get it, it’s just the washroom but it just looked really plain. There weren’t even ads above the urinals. No colour whatsoever was to be found and I just thought, well, there could be a TV in here or even a TV above every 1-3 urinals. No I am not kidding.

But of course, it isn’t all about the concourse or the washrooms. It’s about the feeling you get during the game, the atmosphere and most definitely, that roof.

I was there one and a half hours before kick-off so I could soak it all in because as a sports enthusiast, having this kind of stadium, a state-of-the-art facility, in my own backyard, is special. I only wish it had been done before the Olympics. Regardless, the bowl is just amazing. Looking around and seeing 50K+ seats, albeit oddly coloured, is something you have to see to believe. Maybe it was just the occasion, the grand re-opening, but I keep going back to the atmosphere; it was electric before the players even hit the field for warm up. In regards to the seats, it was advertised that the new seats would be up to 5” wider than the old ones, but honestly, I still felt a bit cramped. Oh well, it isn’t really about the seats anyways.

I’ll just say this now: the staff, and that includes hosts, concession workers and security were all very kind and hospitable. At one point during the game, a group of three guys and two girls next to me were all drunk, and I had beer spilt all over my left side. Security was quick to act by removing some of them and my name and number was given to customer service after a security member had come up to inquire about information on what happened. I have yet to receive a call but I will keep you updated.

Finally, fifteen minutes until kick-off, and the announcement was made that I had been waiting for, for over an hour; they were going to open the roof. It is one 8 minute period you will never forget if you get the chance to see it. It was much like a curtain being drawn inwards towards the center and when it was finally all the way open, the night sky seemed to grab every fan out of their seats. The crown jewel was on display.

Speaking of sound, there were a few glitches. This is to be expected in any new stadium, but I would hope they had tested everything beforehand multiple times. Specifically speaking, the speakers seemed muffled at times and it was if they weren’t all on at the same time. Music would go in and out of being heard right above me and being heard from across the stadium. This is something that will no doubt be fixed.

The other feature that many should look forward to, given the opportunity to be in BC Place for an event, is the lighting. There are a couple different aspects to the lighting improvements. First off, as a Football fan, you can expect the field to be a heck of a lot brighter. The old BC Place had a sort of din to it, but now, it’s brighter than Einstein baby.

Secondly, are the lighting effects along the upper side windows. In a ring around the entire stadium are bubble like windows which change colour. The effects are spectacularly done for whenever the Lions score or during other high moments in the event you’re at.  I can only imagine what it looked like from outside. Again though were a couple very minor glitches. That being a few of the windows didn’t have any colour to them. They stood out among the rest like a sore thumb, but again, that could happen at any game or event and I am sure it will be resolved for upcoming games.

Again, the atmosphere is wild. A wave was started up during the 2nd quarter and I swear it could have gone the whole game if it were not for the occurrence of a major play happening, causing everyone to cheer and forget about the wave. I say it could have gone the whole game because the bowl is so large, there’s a good amount of time before you have to stand up to wave your arms again. As well, boy does it get loud?! Of course, that loudness is a tradition that has been built up over the years as a means to distract the Lions’ opponent when they are on offense.

If I could recommend one thing, it’s to bring a jacket or sweater, especially in the cold months. Once that roof opens up, the air is on you like white on rice.

Now listen here, I am not telling you any of this blindly. I know why people are angry about spending so much money on a new roof and renovations when that money could go to our homeless. Yes, I get that money could go to healthcare and education. Even though I know I’m not particularly a selfish person, maybe it’s the selfishness coming out when I say that Vancouver should feel privileged to have this kind of facility within its boundaries.

I grew up an athletic kid all the way through high school, so maybe I am jaded when it comes to having such sports facilities nearby. In my heart of hearts though, I feel like someway, there will be money available for healthcare, education and even the homeless, despite how much money it cost us for these renovations.

If you are one of those people who are semi-against it, or just don’t have your mind made up, GO TO AN EVENT THERE. If you have always been completely opposed to it, well, you are entitled to your opinion, and to you I say, not everyone can be happy. I think this is a case of you can’t judge a book by its cover. This stadium is in one word, impressive. It feels like it was just built yesterday. Take in an event there, soak it all in, and then tell me it wasn’t worth

Original Post on VSP

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