Vancouver Olympic/ Paralympic Village


1702 Columbia Street

Vancouver, British Columbia


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Site/Building area
70,000 m2/ 140,000 m2
Completion Date
November 2009
See City of Vancouver website
Certifications & Awards
  • LEED-ND® Platinum certified, 2010
  • LEED-NC® Platinum & Gold certified, 2010 (Platinum for Community Centre & Net Zero Building; Gold for all others in the neighbourhood)
Project Team
  • Client: City of Vancouver
  • Developer: Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties Ltd
  • Architects: GBL Architects; Merrick Architecture; Borowski Sakumoto Fligg Ltd; Walter Francl Architects Inc; Nick Milkovich Architects Inc; Robert Ciccozzi Architecture
  • Architect and Interior Design: CHI Design Ltd.
  • Engineers: Morrison Hershfield Group Inc; Acumen Engineering; KD Engineering Co
  • Engineering Consultants: Keystone Environmental Ltd; Glotman Simpson Group of Companies
  • Mechanical Engineers: Cobalt Engineering; Stantec
  • Civil Engineers: Professional Pioneer Consultants Ltd.
  • Traffic & Transport Engineers: Ward Consulting Group
  • Electrical Engineers: Nemetz (S/A) & Associates Ltd
  • Municipal Engineers: Engineering Services Ltd.
  • Landscape Architects: Durante Kreuk Ltd; PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
  • General Contracting: MetroCan Construction Ltd.
  • Concrete Construction: ITC Group of Companies
  • Integrated Water Management: Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd.
  • Sustainability Consultants: Recollective Consulting
  • Cost Management Consultants: BTY Group
  • Project Management and Cost Consulting: Quoin Project and Cost Management Ltd.
  • Geotechnical Engineers: Geopacific Consulting Inc.
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Interview: Ian Smith - Manager of Development SEFC & Olympic Village, COV

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Interview: Ian Smith - Manager of Development SEFC & Olympic Village, COV

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Interview: Ian Smith - Manager of Development SEFC & Olympic Village, COV


The Olympic and Paralympic Village is part of the Southeast False Creek (SEFC) development. The SEFC site includes 32 hectares of formerly industrial lands which constituted the last remaining tract of undeveloped waterfront land in downtown Vancouver. The SEFC development has over 600,000 square meters of residential development, approximately 6,200 housing units, and an estimated total population ranging from 10,000 to 12,000 people. The first phase of the development, completed at the end of 2009, temporarily accommodated athletes of the 2010 Olympic/Paralympic Winter Games, after which it was converted into a high-density, mixed-use sustainable neighbourhood with approximately 1,100 housing units.

The project involved the redevelopment of a former brownfield site and ecological restoration of the shoreline and contaminated lands. The sustainable development strategies employed for site development include creating high-quality open space; achieving high-density and urban infill; as well as developing a strong community centre, a diverse local economy and a full range of housing. Emphasis was also placed on alternative transportation, water conservation, energy efficient design and stormwater management. It is anticipated that, as a cornerstone of sustainable urban development, the complex will help promote these strategies throughout the region and beyond.

Key Sustainability Features

  • LEED for Neighbourhood Developments (LEED-ND) Platinum certified, 2010
  • LEED Canada for New Construction & Major Renovations (LEED-NC) Platinum certified (Community Centre and Net Zero Senior's Building); LEED-NC Gold certified for all other buildings, 2010
  • Neighbourhood Energy Utility: 70% of heating energy derived from renewable sourceGreen infrastructure: green roofs covering 50% of roof area in the village
  • Natural stormwater management: bioswales and natural wetlands
  • High-quality open space: 60% of development
  • Parking/ refuelling for electric vehicles: 15% of all parking stalls
  • Housing diversity: 1,100 residential units including 250 affordable housing units and 100 modest market housing units
  • Community amenities: community centre with 69-space daycare and 560 square meters of commercial and restaurant space
  • Capacity building: 100 construction jobs for inner-city residents  and $750,000 in training


The Village is a LEED-ND (Neighbourhood Development) pilot project, which achieved LEED Platinum certified in 2010. All buildings within this sustainable neighbourhood acheived LEED-NC Gold certification, with the Community Centre and Net-Zero Senior's  Building both achieving LEED-NC Platinum certification in 2010. The Village is served by a Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU), which provides space heating and domestic hot water to all buildings in SEFC. The NEU is designed to use and distribute heat energy from a variety of renewable sources, such as sewage heat, geothermal or natural gas. In the foreseeable future, the NEU will derive the majority of its energy by capturing waste heat from the municipal sewage system. High-efficiency natural gas boilers will provide back-up and supplemental heat on the coldest days of the year. It is the first application of this technology in North America.

The SEFC stormwater management plan aims to reduce stormwater runoff and eliminate contaminants entering False Creek by capturing, storing and cleansing rainwater landing on the site before it discharges into the inlet. Stormwater management strategies include green roofs, which cover half of the roof area of the development, as well as cisterns for collecting rainwater that is then re-used for irrigation and toilet flushing. Above ground, rainwater is collected and directed towards a network of bioswales and wetlands that store, clean and later discharge it into False Creek. The green infrastructure on the site was designed to be highly visible in order to draw attention of residents and visitors to the processes at play, and to (re-) connect them to the surrounding natural and built environment.

The ecological restoration strategy included the creation of significant wildlife habitat through green space, and foreshore rehabilitation and the reintroduction of intertidal marine habitat and native plants in support of biodiversity. Because the developers chose not to daylight (redirect a stream that has been piped underground to its more natural, above-ground channel) the original stream that flowed through the site, they were required to compensate the loss of shoreline area by reconstructing marine habitat along the foreshore. This was achieved through the construction of a habitat compensation island, which provides increased herring egg-laying potential and attracts a variety of bird and animal life.

The site is located close to frequent, high-speed transit (buses and Canada Line), and incorporates streets that were designed primarily for pedestrian and bicycle use. While conventional streets in Vancouver are approximately twenty metres wide, street widths in the Southeast False Creek neighbourhood vary between only twelve and eighteen metres. All of the buildings are “zero lot line”, meaning that building facades are flush with the edge of the property line, and residential entranceways and storefronts open directly onto the sidewalk. Along with the selection of materials, street furniture, street trees and scale of the space, this helps to create an intimate, enjoyable pedestrian experience and unique sense of place. In turn, these design strategies, in combination with close proximity of destinations, encourage walking and biking as alternative transportation modes to the car. This is further enhanced by a limited number of parking spaces on site and preferential treatment of hybrid or electric vehicles. Fifteen percent of the parking stalls will have charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and eleven car-share vehicles will be located on site for use by residents.


A Community Benefits Agreement, negotiated by the City, the developer, and Building Opportunities with Business (BOB), provided 100 construction jobs to inner-city residents on the site, $750,000 in training to prepare them for these jobs, and fifteen million dollars in goods and services purchases from inner-city suppliers.

“Green” products and technologies employed in the development of this project include: 


The Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver exemplifies a complete and compact development that not only provides a high degree of mixed use but also a range of housing options. Affordable housing, a seniors’ complex, high-end condo units, daycare services and a community centre all contribute to creating a neighbourhood for a diversity of users. The heart of the new neighbourhood  is a public plaza surrounded by commercial spaces, services and restaurants. It will serve as a neighbourhood core, offering a place for human interaction and activity, including meetings, large gatherings and cultural events.

Audio Tour of this building

This building is part of the City of Vancouver Green Building Audio Tour, a collection of audio recordings about Vancouver's greenest buildings. Each three-minute recording takes the listener on a virtual 'tour' of the building's green design features, guided by the architect or member of the design team. You can listen to them online, via podcast, or via your cell phone by calling 604-673-8150. The Vancouver Green Building Audio Tours were created through a partnership between City of Vancouver Sustainability Office and the Open Green Building Society.

To hear the audio guide for this building click on the player at the top of the left sidebar on this webpage, or dial 604-673-8150 and enter code 04, 05, or 06.


Sources include: