Surrounded by the mountains and located on the waterfront at Canada Place in the heart of the beautiful downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Convention Center (VCC) is a two-time winner of the prestigious International Association of Congress Center's Apex Award for World's Best Convention Center. In fiscal year 2010, VCC hosted more than 350 events and 225,000 delegates, which generated more than $215 million in economic activity for the province of British Columbia.
The Vancouver Convention Center opened in July of 1987 after originally serving as the Canada Pavilion at the World's Fair in 1986. Since its inception, the facility has demonstrated a constant commitment to service excellence, unparalleled technical capabilities, and the ability to host creative high quality banquets. After recent expansion, VCC has tripled in size to cover 1.1 million square feet (or four city blocks) for a combined total of 466,500 square feet of pre-function, meeting, exhibition, and ballroom space.
The world's first LEED* Platinum certified convention center also boasts the largest non-industrial green roof in North America. The green roof has become the most extraordinary addition to VCC. Its 5-acre "living roof" is landscaped with more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, which provides a natural habitat to birds, butterflies, insects, small mammals, and bees. These bees (nearly 240,000 of them) live in four hives that produce honey, which is used in the center's kitchen.
The layers of the structure act as an insulator, reducing heat gains in the summer and heat losses in the winter, additionally contributing to the building's storm water utilization. The underside of the roof is lined with beautiful Douglas fir slats, a locally harvested material.
The foundation of VCC has a five-tier artificial reef and 1500 feet of marine habitat that is home to barnacles, mussels, seaweed, starfish, crabs and various other fish species. In addition, the on-site black water treatment and desalinization systems, which are projected to reduce potable water, use 60 to 70 percent less water than typical convention centers. An integrated heat pump system takes advantage of the constant temperature of the adjacent seawaters to moderate heating and cooling. The building design considers natural lighting and ventilation, in addition to the energy efficient fixtures and advanced energy management systems. The interior is clad with locally harvested materials, including Douglas fir and Hemlock wood finish, as well as low-VOC flooring.
Patrons, who visit VCC for business or leisure purposes, are able to take advantage of the wonderful views, as well as 400,000 square feet of walkways, bikeways, plazas and open public space. The design goes far beyond the big box functionality and experience of a traditional convention center. It offers a new vision of sustainability and a rich public experience by weaving together the natural ecology, local culture, urban context, and building programs in a unified whole, which functions literally as a living part of both the city and the harbor.
*LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions.