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PHOTOS: 40 years of BC Place Stadium, and a contest for free tickets to celebrate

The original ‘Dome’ opened on June 19, 1983

What’s your favourite memory of BC Place?

40th-anniversary celebrations for the Vancouver stadium involve a contest with a chance to win “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to win two free tickets to every public event there in 2024 — a grand prize worth close to $6,000.

Western Canada’s largest multi-purpose event venue was opened 40 years ago Monday, on June 19, 1983.

Over the years the stadium has welcomed royalty (Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince Charles), rock royalty (the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, KISS and others), Pope John Paul II, Expo 86 and 2010 Winter Olympics celebrations, pro sports and hundreds of other events.

BC Pavilion Corporation’s 54,500-seat stadium has hosted more than 36 million guests at live events including games, concerts, trade and consumer shows and more.

A BC Place “favourite memory” contest welcomes entries that are “original, respectful, and abide by all laws and regulations,” according to a post on bcplace.com. The contest runs from June 19 to Sept. 30 and is open to residents of British Columbia aged 19 and older.

Expo 86 opening ceremonies at BC Place Stadium in 1986. (Submitted photo)
Expo 86 opening ceremonies at BC Place Stadium in 1986. (Submitted photo)

After the Winter Olympics, the original air-supported “dome” was deflated in May 2010 for construction of the world’s largest cable-supported retractable roof, still in operation.

BC Lions play CFL games there, as do the Whitecaps pro soccer team.

In 2023 BC Place will host seven concerts by musicians including Ed Sheeran (Sept. 2), Beyoncé (Sept. 11), Coldplay (Sept. 22-23) and Guns ‘N’ Roses (Oct. 16). Next year the Grey Cup championship will return, and in 2026 BC Place will be a host stadium for the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

The history of the stadium includes 95 concerts, more than 400 pro and university/school football games (including nine Grey Cups) and more than 200 pro and international soccer matches.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles (now King Charles) at BC Place Stadium during Expo 86 in 1986. (Submitted photo)
Princess Diana and Prince Charles (now King Charles) at BC Place Stadium during Expo 86 in 1986. (Submitted photo)

Pope John Paul II at BC Place Stadium in 1984. (Submitted photo)
Pope John Paul II at BC Place Stadium in 1984. (Submitted photo)

On March 9, 1983, Queen Elizabeth II invited the world to Expo 86 during an invitation-only public event, followed by an “Expect the World” opening ceremony on June 19 with close to 40,000 in attendance.

The first sporting event was June 20, 1983, when the old NASL Whitecaps hosted Seattle Sounders with more than 60,000 fans in seats.

• RELATED/CONCERT REVIEW: Flea shines as Red Hot Chili Peppers kick off stadium tour in Vancouver.

BC Place’s first concert was David Bowie on his Serious Moonlight tour on Aug. 9, 1983 (Bowie’s dressing room turned into a sushi bar). Other artists who’ve played there include AC/DC (three times), U2 (five times), Bon Jovi (twice), Metallica (twice), Van Halen (twice) and Elton John (once, in 2022).

Also that month, a Major League Baseball Old-Timers Exhibition Game involved legends Hank Aaron and Roger Maris, and a performance by Bob Hope.

Other BC Place highlights include the final stop for Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion Tour (May 22, 1987), the 1990 NHL Entry Draft and the 1994 Grey Cup game when Lui Passaglia kicked a game-winning field goal for a BC Lions win.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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