An official purpose-built practice arena for the Vancouver Canucks could be built directly across the street from home ice at Rogers Arena in Northeast False Creek.
As part of Canadian Metropolitan Properties’ (CMP) proposal to redevelop the Plaza of Nations into a big part of Vancouver’s new waterfront entertainment district, there will be a NHL-sized ice rink at the new Vancouver Park Board-operated community centre in partnership with Aquilini Investment Group, the owners of the Canucks.
Daisen Gee-Wing, a senior vice-president of CMP, told Daily Hive the Canucks will only use the rink in the morning during their designated practice times stipulated by their collective bargaining agreement.
The rink can be used by the general public for the remainder of the day starting in the late morning.
The Canucks will also build a state-of-the art sports science centre and physiotherapy clinic that will be offered to the public when not in use by the players.
There will also be other amenities such as gathering spaces and a daycare, although Gee-Wing says the exact amenities have not been determined as they are still seeking input from the Park Board and the area’s current residents.
Large grass roof terraces are one of the redevelopment’s key design features, and the ice rink could be accessible to the public.
“Along that community centre, we’ll have plenty of opportunity for the general public to have different experiences of ground plains and high above views,” he said. “I think it’s going to work out quite well.”
The overall floor area of the community centre is about 110,000 sq. ft., including 33,000 sq. ft. for the ice rink, 11,500 sq. ft. for the daycare, and 64,000 sq. ft. for the Canucks’ sports medicine facilities and other community centre spaces.
But Gee-Wing says the municipal government initially had to be convinced there was a need for a new community centre and ice rink in the area.
“It was a struggle. The neighbourhood, the Aquilini’s, and Canadian Metropolitan Properties were able to convince the City to allow us to propose a community centre with an ice rink and daycare facility,” he said.
“Hopefully, if this proposal gets through, that will come to fruition. At first, the City didn’t believe they needed one, they believed they were overprescribed for the area, but we’re talking about over 10,000 new residents so there has to be some amenities for them. We as a developer need to offer some amenities, so why not a community centre? Not just for our development, but for the entire Northeast False Creek area.”
The entire Plaza of Nations redevelopment is designed by James Cheng Architects and includes ample new spaces on the edges of plazas and new streets for restaurants, bistros, bars, and retail to help enforce a lively entertainment district vibe for the area.
This includes restaurants and bars edging a new major public promenade-plaza area that is aligned to a potential new Pacific Boulevard main entrance into BC Place Stadium, which is envisioned to have a rebuilt glass-enclosed facade along the street with ground-level commercial space.
A wide crosswalk across the reconfigured street will provide stadium crowds with a new direct connection to the new restaurant and bar hub.
The form of the buildings on the site are intended to retain and frame some of the views of the iconic stadium roof from key viewpoints in False Creek.
Separate from the adjacent Concord Pacific project, CMP’s Plaza of Nations proposal alone for the 448,000 sq. ft. lot calls for 350,000 sq. ft. of commercial space and 1.655 million sq. ft. of residential uses.