More than 63,000 people showed up to a housewarming party at the province’s $883-million Vancouver convention centre expansion this weekend.

Vancouver Convention Centre West, which officially opened Friday, triples the exhibition space of the original convention centre at Canada Place.

The facilities are expected to generate $2 billion in economic activity through 184 upcoming events.

“It’s very impressive,” said Dan Cloutier of Vancouver (not the goalie), who was among the almost 40,000 people taking part in an open house yesterday.

“Despite all the criticisms it has received for cost overruns, I think it is a fantastic investment.”

The expansion features Canada’s largest living roof (2.4 hectares) and holds five million kilograms of soil, 400,000 native plants and three beehives.

The building’s interior walls are designed to evoke stacked lumber. Five-storey windows look out over Coal Harbour and Burrard Inlet and flood the building with natural light.

“Imagine coming out of a meeting and a cruise ship is tied up at Canada Place with mountains in the background,” said Cloutier. “It’s spectacular.”


• Vancouver Convention Centre West will hold the International Media Centre during the 2010 Games.

Latest From ...