With a 2.5-hectare “living roof” that doubles up as an insulator, a restored marine habitat and a black-water treatment plant that reduces potable water use by 72.6 per cent, among many other environmental features, the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) certainly qualifies as a “green champion”.
The vast “living roof” is covered by more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses, presenting a unique and inspiring sight for event attendees. But it’s not just for show: the insulating function of the roof reduces both heat gain in summer and heat loss during winter. In addition, the VCC’s seawater heating and cooling system cools or heats the building depending on the season’s requirements.
Bolstering its green credentials, the centre has a programme that measures the amount of recycling done during events. It also enables companies to go the extra mile in reducing their carbon footprint and opt to have a zero-waste or zero-carbon event.
The centre adheres to its environmental advocacy in key areas of operation. For instance, its catering department prepares food from a “scratch” kitchen that uses locally grown products – thus saving on energy consumption from transportation. It also donates leftover food to
Spanning approximately four city blocks, the 111,500-sqm facility is split into the West and East buildings. The West building is built 60 per cent on land and 40 per cent over water, and houses Canada’s largest convention centre ballroom at 4,920 sqm with five-storey-high ceilings.
The centre is designed “to open minds and to feed the imagination”. Much of the space is built in a way that allows delegates to enjoy the beautiful mountain and ocean views from within the facility.
Aesthetics aside, the VCC also offers clients state-of-the-art IT services that are vital to modern meetings and conventions, including high-speed internet connection of up to 1GB per second. Complementing this is the presence of an in-house events team who help companies in other aspects of event planning.
The centre has a unique Service Excellence Programme, which was awarded the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) 2011 Innovation Award.
Chu Pui Wia, director of sales and marketing of Suntec International, the VCC’s sales and marketing representative in Asia, says: “The programme is multifaceted and embraced by all members of our team – from our frontline staff and official suppliers to our management – to ensure that every guest experiences unparalleled service at every touch point.”
The VCC has already been thrust into the spotlight as a movie location, most notably for the highly celebrated Tom Cruise film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, as well as other TV productions like Hellcats, The Killing and Human Target.
As a venue, some of its notable events in recent years included hosting more than 10,000 media during the 2010 Winter Olympics and the SIGGRAPH Conference in August last year, which saw thousands of technology professionals from around the world in attendance.
Meanwhile, the VCC is developing new initiatives this year aimed at the Asian market, specifically targeting countries within a 12-hour flight radius, and with direct flights to Vancouver.
“We are looking at countries that have a potential for large outbound groups. As we focus on the corporate market in Asia, we are also looking at countries that are home to regional MNCs. With these two considerations, China is a key development area for us,” says Chu.
With this in mind, the VCC has set greater targets in 2012. “We want every guest using our facility to leave with a lasting and memorable experience,” Chu stresses. “To measure our success in reaching this goal, we would like to see more than 90 per cent satisfaction rate from our client feedback survey."
Chu concludes, saying: “We are looking to cultivate new markets in 2012, which include sports events, conferences, entertainment and other special events. This January, we hosted Taekwondo Canada's 2012 Olympic Team Trials and Junior National Championships. This is a great foundation for us as we continue to build on this market.”
UPCOMING EVENTS IN 2012
March 3–4: The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show
March 31–April 1: National Franchise and Business Opportunities Show
September 28–October 3: The 38th Annual National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) Symposium/Convention
October 13–16: 14th Biennial Meeting of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS)
November 7-8: Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating Exhibition (CIPHEX) West 2012
Total floor area 43,340 sqm
Exhibition Space 28,940 sqm
Conference Space A total of 52 meeting rooms in the West building and 20 meeting rooms in the East building. The ballroom space amounts to a total of 6,500 sqm for the combined facility.
The VCC offers access to 13,000 quality hotel rooms with three connecting hotel properties, including the Pan Pacific Hotel.