Here we are, coming up on the second anniversary in  few months of the 2010 Winter Olympics that took place in Vancouver & Whistler! We had a partial tour of one of the largest venues of the games a couple of weeks ago, the Richmond Olympic Oval.  It had us all feeling so proud ~ proud of our country, our province and proud of this building that has now become such a fabulous legacy. The Richmond Olympic Oval is a dramatic and stunning building, standing out for its distinguished and innovative design.

Let me show you some photos of the exterior before I continue with a little bit of interesting information about the building.

The Oval was built to qualify for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Scale (LEED) Silver certification – an admirable goal that many new commercial buildings strive to achieve.

The roof was designed to represent the stylized native shape of a heron’s wing, a tribute to the Salish First Nation and the large wading bird that cohabited the riverbank on which the Oval has been built. The “wood wave” roof, which is one of the longest spans in North America , includes one million board feet of B.C. pine-bettle kill wood linked together in undulating sections to create a rippled effect.

The speed skating oval has been converted to a multi-use sport facility that includes two Olympic sized ice rinks, hardwood ball-sport courts, a gymnasium, a 200m track, a rubberized turf area and a high performance centre for elite athletes. While we were there, people were filing in to go to yoga classes, the excercise equipment was being well used, a basketball game for those in wheelchairs was set to start, ping pong games were being played and the two ice rinks were ready for skating to begin. An encouraging glimpse into an active, participatory lifestyle shared by so many of Richmond’s residents.

The main entrance lobby had traces of all of the structural components visible, whether inside or what was easily seen outside through the massive walls of windows. The staircases to the second and third levels also impressed us with their amazing design, of strength and transparency ~ a tough combination to get so perfect I think.

Another legacy in the Richmond Olympic Oval is this stunning statue that was created from stainless steel – so that we should never forget the original intent of the building and always be reminded of the excitement and the glory that the Olympic speed skaters brought to so many of their countries.

The 2010 Olympics ~ is a moment in history that British Columbians will always remember with pride!