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 November 06, 2008
Vancouver Convention Centre Reaches "Green" Construction Milestone

 A rooftop planting marked a construction milestone today at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Premier Gordon Campbell planted some of the final vegetation on the expansion project's living 'green' roof -- the largest of its kind in Canada.

"The expanded Vancouver Convention Centre will be a Vancouver and British Columbia landmark and will help to inject billions into our provincial tourism industry, creating jobs and driving new opportunities," said Premier Campbell. "This project will also be one of the greenest convention facilities on the continent, incorporating a high level of environmental and sustainability standards."

The living roof measures 2.5 hectares -- the size of 15 hockey rinks, with more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, from 19 Northwest species. The expanded facility also features a restored marine habitat underneath the building, built into the foundation. The project won the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC Award for Innovative Marine Habitat Design in 2006.

"The Vancouver Convention Centre is our gateway to attract international visitors," said Bill Bennett, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. "We're looking at turning those delegate days into even more tourist days by showcasing all of British Columbia's regions in this facility."

The new facility, to open in spring 2009, will be almost triple the size of the existing one. The expanded centre has already booked 159 events, 54 of which would not have been booked in the previous space. These events, attended by delegates from outside British Columbia, are expected to generate over $2 billion in economic activity for the province.

"We are setting the bar for high standards of service that convention visitors encounter when they meet in Vancouver," said Convention Centre chair David Podmore. "Unique features like a marine habitat and living roof serve to keep Vancouver top-of-mind among meeting planners looking to bring business to our city."

"One of our distinct selling features as a destination is around green practices and stewardship of the environment," said Tourism Vancouver chair Geoffrey Howes. "Vancouver is renowned for its approach to sustainability and the convention centre is a leading example of these practices. It's a message we proudly take to the international marketplace, and one that is embraced by our meeting planner customers."

Other features include: an extensive environmental program including recycling and food and beverage management; energy conservation; seawater heating and cooling; and on-site water treatment.

In 2008, the Vancouver Convention Centre was awarded the Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award from the Council of BC Tourism Associations and Tourism BC, as well as being the Silver recipient of the global meetings industry IMEX and Green Meeting Industry Council's Green Supplier Awards.

The Vancouver Convention Centre is the only convention centre to be a repeat winner of the prestigious International Association of Congress Centres' award for "Best Convention Centre," most recently this year.