BC Pavilion From Expo 86 To Casino Hotel Entertainment Complex in Downtown Vancouver
Expo 86 BC Pavilion under construction in Jan. ’85. [Photo by Ray Van Eng]
The date was January 1985. I was at the future Expo 86 fairgrounds in Falsecreek Northeast not long after the new year. The site was under heavy construction to erect both temporary and permanent structures in time for the 1986 World’s Fair.
Snow had fallen the night before and the sun was forecast to come up later that morning. As with the fall weather in Vancouver, there was little guarantee that it would actually happen. But I patiently waited. Lo and behold, the sun broke through the fog at around 10:30AM and it was a glorious sight.
So much of Vancouver has changed since then that to be a witness of that transformation at its embryonic stage is a privilege that I personally treasured very much over the years.
Right there before my eyes was the future BC Pavilion with just the skeleton set up. The green glass panels were not installed yet. It was still early days. Expo 86 had about 16 months to go before the gates would be opened to visitors. During the Vancouver’s world fair, this legacy building with the adjacent Plaza of Nations were designated as the BC Pavilion. An international parade of flags stood where they are today. In fact, not much has changed around here for more than two decades.
Today, the structure houses the Edgewater Casino which is operated by Paragon Gaming, a Las Vegas based company. Paragon has plans to build a $450 Million casino, hotel and entertainment complex at a location nearby just west of BC place where currently, a new retractable roof is being installed. The new Paragon development could potentially triple the size of the current gaming facilities at Edgewater. With Edgewater Casino’s license running out in mid-2013, Paragon is very eager to have the new development project approved by the city and get on with the construction as early as possible.
Recently, suspected multi-million dollar money-laundering activities in late 2010 at other BC gambling houses of fortunes such as the Starlight Casino in New Westminster and River Rock Casino in Richmond have once again focused people’s attention on this Paragon gaming development right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
According to the City of Vancouver web site, the Edgewater Casino now has 65 games tables and 493 slot machines. The new casino could increase that capacity up to 150 games tables and 1500 slots. City staff is currently putting together a report on the casino development and will have a public hearing later, although one such meeting scheduled for Jan. 18, 2011 was cancelled.
For details on the $450 Million casino development, please see –
Expo 86 BC Pavilion, 750 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver BC
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