Vancouver residents may want to haul out their cameras and head to False Creek this weekend because the city’s skyline is about to change forever.
The white pincushion-like dome that has sat above B.C. Place for the past 27 years will be deflated at 10 a.m. Monday, following a small button-pushing ceremony.
It is among the first steps in a $563-million renovation that will see the world’s largest air-supported dome replaced with a retractable roof by the end of next summer.
“It’s been a fantastic icon for the city of Vancouver,” said B.C. Place general manager Howard Crosley.
“The new skyline will be fantastic as well. It’ll change but still be a great view.”
The 60,000-seat stadium, which was completed in 1983 for $126 million, has borne witness to a host of major events over the past three decades.
The dome has hung with the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger. It celebrated Rick Hansen’s return to Vancouver after a grueling two-and-a-half year wheelchair journey around the planet.
It also has hovered over a SoccerBowl, an exhibition NFL match and seven Grey Cups. And it kept dry the opening of Expo 86 and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
It has also been an iconic landmark in the city and is a staple photo for tourists and postcards.
Its deflation on Monday is dependent on weather, Crosley said, as heavy rain would transform the four-hectare Teflon roof into a gigantic catch basin. It should take about 30 minutes to lower the roof in a controlled fashion, though he admitted it could be lowered “as fast as you want” by opening all the doors.
The Teflon roof (part of which blew out in January 2007, precipitating an extremely fast deflation) will be recycled into tarps, shelters and possibly even handbags.
Crosley, who has worked at B.C. Place for the past 12 years, said his favourite memories under the dome include the 2005 Grey Cup and the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.
“It was absolutely spectacular to see that happen in B.C. Place.”