The Vancouver Grizzlies played their first game 20 years ago, on November 3, 1995. It was a pivotal year for Vancouver, as General Motors Place (now Rogers Arena) was constructed, transforming the landscape of the city forever.
To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at Vancouver in 1995; so many things have changed in the last 20 years.
GM Place, now known as Rogers Arena, opened in 1995 and was the home of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Vancouver Canucks. The arena was completed at a cost of $160 million and was largely funded privately.
The first event hosted in GM Place was a Bryan Adams concert. Adams played to a sold-out crowd of over 16,000 people.
Here’s an aerial shot of GM Place as it looked in 1995:
The now defunct Vancouver Grizzlies’ lineup in their first season in 1995-96 included:
Tickets for the first Vancouver Grizzlies game were $50 for the lower bowl. This historic ticket is currently for sale on eBay for $200 USD:
The Vancouver Canucks’ roster in the 1995-96 season included:
As well, Pat Quinn was the general manager, Rick Ley was the coach, Trevor Linden was the team captain, alternate captains were Dave Babych, Pavel Bure, Martin Gelinas, Dana Murzyn, and the goalies were Kirk McLean and Corey Hirsch.
Canucks tickets were $55 for upper bowl in 1995.
Plaid, crop tops and loads of colour were the three main elements of women’s fashion. Men wore looser fitting clothes and Air Jordans. Clueless was the hit movie of 1995 and influenced style for the year hugely.
With the band Nirvana came the introduction of grunge fashion, which defied many of the styles of the day. While plaid was still a major player in grunge, a lack of colour was the name of the game, as well as ripped tights, heavy Doc Marten boots and band t-shirts.
Philip Owen with the NPA was the mayor of Vancouver at the time. Because of Owen’s policies on drug addiction in Vancouver, the first safe injection site was opened in the city, Insite, a year after his term as mayor ended in 2003.
Mike Harcourt was the premier of B.C. in 1995. Harcourt resigned from office in 1996 after a scandal known as “Bingogate” in which a member of the NDP, David Stupich, used money gathered from a charity bingo competition to fund the party.
While the SkyTrain had already existed for nine years (it was launched with Expo ’86), the West Coast Express started operations in 1995. It was the first time Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Port Moody were directly linked with Downtown Vancouver.
Here’s a video of what electric trolly buses looked like in 1995 (along with some cool archival footage of traffic and buildings at Robson and Howe Streets):
The site of the Vancouver Public Library has changed a few times over the years. It started at Carnegie Hall at Main and Hastings Street when it officially opened in November of 1903. It remained at that location until 1957, when it moved to a newly constructed site at Burrard and Robson, the current location of the Victoria’s Secret flagship store. Finally, on May 26, 1995, the current location opened at Library Square on West Georgia Street. Construction of the Vancouver Public Library cost over $106 million.
Here’s archival footage of its construction:
The Canadian dollar in 1995 was worth 71 cents American.
Oh, and this little gem still existed:
It was the age before the smartphone, when they were simply known as cell phones. A cell phone is a mysterious item – it was large and bulky with an extendable antenna, may or may not have included enough storage for an address book and only made phone calls. There was no texting, no apps, no Siri and certainly no Tinder.
The top song of the year, according to Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 Singles of 1995, was “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, featuring L.V. It was the number one song for three consecutive weeks, from September 9 to September 30, when “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey knocked it out of the top spot.
Other top songs of the year included “Creep” and “Waterfalls” by TLC, and “Take a Bow” by Madonna.