Status of Vancouver Stadiums

BC Lions – BC Place Stadium

In 2015, the Lions returned to only offering tickets in the lower bowl, with the upper deck screened off with a fabric that extends from the edge of the deck to the suspended roof. Only when the lower bowl sells out early enough before a game are tickets for the upper bowl offered for sale and upper sections opened for fans.

In late 2023, the BC Pavillion Corp. indicated stadium upgrades were needed to continue to be able to attract high-profile events. Part of the upgrades required would make the facility compliant with the latest accessibility requirements set out in the Accessible British Columbia Act.

Surrey Practice Facility

The Lions have had their practice facilities located in Surrey for over 40 years. They’ve been located in the Whaley neighbourhood on City Pky since 1991, leasing their practice field as well as office and meeting space.

In Feb. 2024, Surrey mayor Brenda Locke proposed a 12,000 seat stadium or arena for Surrey as part of a large economic plan to develop entertainment and event facilities in the city. A feasibility study to determine the location, size, type (arena or stadium) as well as financing was to begin immediately, though the preference was to partner with the business community to make the project pain-free for taxpayers.

This proposal is in contrast to earlier proposals from former mayor Doug McCallum, who was championing a 60,000 seat stadium. He states a minium 40,000 seat stadium is necessary to attract FIFA events, while others suggest 20,000 be the minimum Surrey looks at, leaving Locke’s proposal the smallest of any submission for a sports stadium for Surrey.

The announcement was news to the Lions, who are Surrey’s most visible sports locals, though they play out of BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. How a new facility fits in with them is a mystery. The proposed size as a stadium is too smalll for the Lions to use, but could it serve as a replacement practice facility? Like everyone, they will wait to see how this plays out.

BC Place 2010 Refurbishment

Construction to replace the BC Place Stadium’s signature inflatable dome, which opened in 1983, with a suspended retractable roof began after the 2010 Winter Olympics and was completed in time for the Lions to host the 2011 Grey Cup. The stadium re-opened on Sept. 30, 2011 when the Lions hosted the Eskimos. The stadium will remained a construction zone for about another month as the finishing touches are put on the stadium. Besides the new retractable roof, the refurbished stadium includes a new video scoreboard, new seats, a new field surface, fresh air circulation and improved cosmetics and amenities. The stadium unveiling received rave reviews.

The Lions played 2010 and six games in 2011 in a temporary 27,500 seat facility on the site of the old Empire Stadium while BC Place Stadium underwent an upgrade. Empire Field used a rubber-filled artificial turf system, although a natural grass field was installed for two Vancouver Whitecaps games in July, 2011. The turf was removed, much to the Lions liking, before the football club played their home game July 22.

CFLdb BC Lion Stadium History and Details

BC Place seating chart (BC Place alternate seating chart)

CFLdb Articles and Single Point Links on Vancouver Stadiums

Article Nov 2010: Cross Canada Stadium Round Up

Link June 2010: Empire Field Revealed

Link May 2010: BC Place Prepared for New Roof

Link Apr 2010: New Empire Takes Shape

Link Dec 2009: Lions to Play on Empire Site in 2010 Official

Link Oct 2009: BC Place to get new roof; Lions to play elsewhere in 2010

Link Aug 2009: Empire destination for Lions?

Link Jun 2009: Lions to be Punted from BC Place

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