I was there when it got pumped up ... 1983, and I was a reporter for CFUN -- back when radio stations tended to be "full-service", no matter what their format or audience. I drove onto what would be the field area in the CFUN Cruiser and parked, with mike trained on the speakers, as a group of politicians and other dignitaries gave speeches about creating jobs and making Vancouver a world-class city (this just in: we were a world-class city long before the stadium was built) and looking forward to Expo 86 ... Stephen Rogers was there -- he was the minister responsible at the time, as I recall ... I think Grace McCarthy and Mike Harcourt (he was the mayor) were on-hand, as well ... and we all got blue hard hats with a sticker saying, "I raised the roof at BC Place!"
Of course, part of the raison d'etre for BC Place was to give our sports teams -- the original incarnation of the Vancouver Whitecaps and the British Columbia Lions -- a place to play where conditions would be less of a factor. Lousy drainage around Empire Stadium and exposure to the elements had become detriments to good sports spectacles (or so they said), so they idea of being in a climate-controlled environment to watch football or soccer ... or the major league baseball team we thought we should have at the time ... or anything else was attractive to a lot of us.
The ceremony itself was uneventful. After the speeches, someone -- I think it was Rogers -- flipped a switch and the fans roared into life. Gradually, the fabric started to flutter, then grow taut and larger and larger (get your mind out of the gutter!), and then suddenly ...
The fabric was supposed to keep water out, but nothing was said about its ability to hold water in. Water had built up in the folds of the fabric and then suddenly, as it unfurled, it dumped water right onto several rows of dignitaries, making them the first and only people to get rained-on at an event at BC Place.
We tried to come up with nicknames for the stadium -- you know, like The Garage for GM Place or The Barn on Blanshard for Victoria Memorial Arena or The Joe for the Joe Louis Arena in \Detroit -- I referred to it as a concrete souffle ... someone suggested -- given the images of inflated fabric -- the Con-Dome ... but I liked Buzz Leboe's the best: The Mushroom in Bondage.
Oddly enough, though, no nicknames really stuck: it was always "BC Place" -- even though it had to be the most uninspired name for a venue ever.
anyway ... being gifted with a flypaper mind, where everything sticks ... I thought I'd offer up a few of my own trivia questions ... reply via comments, and lets see how you do (I'll post the answers tomorrow).
- Which sports team was the first to play in BC Place?
- A BC Lions exhibition game featured the reunion of what rock band?
- Name the members:
- What was the name of the new, original song they performed?
- What teams played in the first baseball game at BC Place?
- Who hit the first home run at BC Place? Who was the pitcher?
- True or false: David Bowie, Sting and The Tubes played the first big spectacle at BC Place
- What AL batting champ missed the first part of the 1993 season due to an injury suffered at BC Place
- For many years, CKNW was the flagship station of the BC Lions, but not when the Lions moved ùnder the dome. What station carried the games that year
- One of the features of the new stadium was the jumbo video screen in the end zone. Prior to each Whitecaps game, a video highlight package of the previous game was shown. Name the announcer who wrote and read the voiceover.
Have fun! Time now for a deflating experience!