The world’s largest air-supported dome, which has sat like a giant pincushion above B.C. Place for the past three decades, was taken down in less than 50 minutes yesterday morning,
changing Vancouver’s skyline forever.

“It’s the end of an era,” said B.C. Place general manager Howard Crosley after all was said and done and the deflated dome hung from its cables like a deflated soccer ball.

“It’s the start of a new horizon for a great future. And looking out over it now, you see the horizon for the first time. It’s quite spectacular.”

The deflation is one of the first major steps in a $563-million retrofit that will replace the dome with a cable-supported retractable roof. It will extend the life of the stadium by 40 years.

Hundreds of onlookers watched from nearby buildings and streets yesterday as the dome’s 16 fans were shut off and the first wrinkles appeared in the normally taut fabric roof.

From the top floor of the nearby Hampton Inn, a large group of photographers watched as the centre of the dome began slowly to droop, revealing the towers at Metrotown in the distance.

The four-hectare roof undulated as it deflated, billowing up in sections and then sagging down.

Groups of workers on the stadium’s massive concrete ring waved and flexed their muscles for the cameras.

The deflation had been planned for Monday, but was rescheduled because of driving wind and rain.

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