On this Date: Vancouver hosts Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (2010)

Vancouver and Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, with venues also in Richmond and the University Endowment Lands. The Games opened on February 12, 2010.

Significance

While not themselves a milestone in Vancouver’s planning history, the Olympics served as a driving force for real estate, institutional and infrastructure investments. These investments included including athletes’ residences that were later turned into housing; rapid transit in the form of the Canada Line (2009) connecting Richmond and the airport with downtown Vancouver; sporting venues that became public recreation and community facilities; a new convention centre; and a new neighbourhood — the Olympic Village.

Background

In 2003, following a vote by Vancouver residents showing 64 percent in favour of supporting the city’s bid for the Games, the International Olympic Committee announced that Vancouver would host the [21st Olympic Winter Games and Paralympics[(https://www.olympic.org/vancouver-2010). The winning bid led to the creation of thousands of short-term jobs.

The Olympic Village in Southeast False Creek (SEFC), built on the city’s last large tract of undeveloped waterfront land near downtown, had been planned since 2006. Its financing ran into problems after the Games, but these were finally resolved in 2014.

The development of the Olympic Village as a mixed-used community was the culmination of planning directions outlined in the 1974 False Creek Official Development Plan to transform the industrial lands into a walkable, mixed-income residential community with commercial and retail uses supported. The concept plan for the new neighbourhood was detailed in the 1999 SEFC Policy Statement (pdf), a comprehensive plan based on the vision of a sustainable community guided by principles of sustainability, improvement in the ecological health of the False Creek Basin, ensuring economic viability, and strengthening social and community health.


For more information on Vancouver’s planning and development milestones, please visit our Chronology Timeline.

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