Construction complete on first Vancouver 2010 indoor competition venue: UBC Thunderbird Arena and all 15 venues to showcase Vancouver 2010 Venues' Aboriginal Art Program

    VANCOUVER, July 7 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010
Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and the University of British
Columbia (UBC), in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province
of British Columbia, announced today that UBC Thunderbird Arena is the first
indoor competition venue in the Host Region to complete construction. VANOC
also formally launched the Vancouver 2010 Venues' Aboriginal Art Program,
designed to celebrate the spirit of the nation by promoting understanding of
the rich cultures and traditions of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
    Construction on the UBC Thunderbird Arena began in April 2006, and
involved refurbishing the Father Bauer Arena, built in 1963, and the
construction of two new rinks: a practice rink and a 7,500-seat competition
arena. Construction was completed on budget and 4 months ahead of its
originally scheduled completion date of November 2008.
    "The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are leaving a
lasting legacy of world-class sporting venues, generating new economic
opportunities and promoting active living and sporting excellence for
generations to come," said British Columbia (BC) Premier Gordon Campbell.
"Through the new Venues' Aboriginal Art Program, we can showcase BC's strong
Aboriginal arts community to the world, and share the richness and diversity
of our province's cultural heritage with millions of people."
    "This beautiful new venue builds on a proud UBC and Vancouver Olympic
hockey legacy," said Professor Stephen J. Toope, president and vice-chancellor
of UBC. "It was here in 1963 that Father David Bauer founded Canada's first
national Olympic hockey team with a nucleus of UBC players. I take pleasure in
knowing that this will be a wonderful home for a new generation of competitive
and recreational athletes - an exceptional facility for UBC athletes and for
the entire community to use and enjoy."
    The venue will host the men's and women's ice hockey, as well as the
men's ice sledge hockey competitions during the 2010 Winter Games. Prior to
the Games, the facility will be home to the UBC Thunderbirds' varsity hockey
program, student and staff programs, and community programs. The community can
use the venue for over 230 hours a week for hockey leagues, high school
rentals, drop-in programs and other events. Hockey Canada will also use the
facility as a pre- and post-Games training and event-hosting venue. Following
the Games, the venue will become a recreational and high-performance,
multi-sport legacy facility, easily convertible for ice sledge hockey training
and competitions. The arena can also be converted to a concert venue.
    "The Government of Canada is proud to play a key part in the success of
the 2010 Winter Games and the development of world-class facilities such as
the UBC Thunderbird Arena," said James Moore, Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific
Gateway) (2010 Olympics) (Official Languages). "This venue will serve not only
as a top-notch venue for our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, but also as a
lasting legacy for the community. Athletes and local residents will be able to
use the arena for years to come."
    UBC Thunderbird Arena was developed by UBC Properties Trust and built by
Bird Construction. The arena was designed to be highly accessible for athletes
and spectators with a disability, and was designed with careful attention to
sustainability and energy conservation. Built to be equivalent to LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System)
silver certification, highlights of the venue's environmentally friendly
design include the use of an Eco-Chill system (which recycles waste energy
used to maintain the ice to heat the building) and the use of energy-efficient
lighting. The facility is also close to transit services.


    In addition to opening the arena, VANOC today launched the Vancouver 2010
Venues' Aboriginal Art Program. The program will span all 15 Olympic and
Paralympic venues and will emphasize BC and Canada's leadership in respecting
the traditional cultural histories of its Indigenous peoples. The program
provides a platform for Aboriginal artists in Canada (First Nations, Inuit and
Métis) to participate in the 2010 Winter Games. The program - an element of
VANOC's commitment to unprecedented Aboriginal participation in the 2010
Winter Games - was part of BC and Canada's initiative to respect and celebrate
the diverse cultures of Aboriginal peoples.
    "Aboriginal history, arts and culture is an important part of Canada's
history," said John Furlong, VANOC Chief Executive Officer. "This program
provides a unique landscape for talented Aboriginal artists to participate in
the 2010 Winter Games and an opportunity to showcase to the world the rich
artistic tapestry of Canada's Aboriginal peoples. This will be an
extraordinary way of telling our nation's story."
    "As Official Partners in the Games, the Four Host First Nations are
honoured to be a part of this exciting program that will showcase the best
Aboriginal artists from across Canada in the Olympic and Paralympic venues",
said Tewanee Joseph, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Four Host
First Nations Secretariat. "Our culture is thriving and we want to share it
with the world".
    The world-class Aboriginal artistic talent showcased by this program will
highlight the cultural spirit of the Vancouver 2010 experience for millions of
people worldwide and will continue to inspire people well after the Games. In
addition to the designs at the Richmond Oval by internationally acclaimed
Musqueam artist Susan Point, UBC Thunderbird Arena will be one of the first
venues to host Aboriginal art under this initiative. The program will showcase
art from various sources, including Four Host First Nations "welcome" works of
art, women's traditional art, works from established Canadian Aboriginal
artists and art from Aboriginal youth programs.
    VANOC is seeking additional Aboriginal artists to embrace this exciting
opportunity through a request for expression of interest (RFEOI) posted at until August 15, 2008, Successful respondents will
progress to the second stage of the process where they will submit designs
requested through a request for proposal (RFP) process. The designs should
embrace Vancouver 2010 values, the venue's character and the pride of being

    About VANOC

    VANOC's Government Partners provide funding, infrastructure, essential
service support and management services to the 2010 Winter Games, which will
contribute to lasting economic, sport, cultural and social legacies. VANOC's
Government Partners include the Government of Canada, the Province of British
Columbia, the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler. To
date, members of VANOC's Contributing Province/Territory Program include
Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. VANOC's Venue Cities are
Richmond, Surrey and the District of West Vancouver. VANOC has also signed
memoranda of understanding with each Canadian province and territory.
    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler
from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

    About UBC

    The University of British Columbia is consistently ranked among the
world's 40 best universities, and is one of Canada's largest and most
prestigious public research and teaching institutions. Celebrating its
centenary in 2008, UBC is a global centre of research and learning located in
the Pacific Rim gateway of Vancouver, and in the Interior city of Kelowna. It
offers more than 45,000 students a range of innovative undergraduate, graduate
and professional programs in the arts, sciences, medicine, law, commerce and
other faculties. It also boasts Canada's largest intramural and recreation
program and the most successful varsity sport program among Canada's 52
participating universities.
    UBC athletes have participated in the Olympic Games since the 1928 Games
in Amsterdam. At least 215 athletes, coaches and support staff from UBC have
participated in the Olympic Games. At least 25 athletes, coaches and support
staff from UBC have participated in the Paralympic Games. Visit:

For further information:

For further information: VANOC: Jason Macnaughton, Vancouver 2010, (778)
328-6734; Province of British Columbia: Bridgitte Anderson, Press Secretary,
Office of the Premier, (604) 307-7177; UBC: Randy Schmidt, University of
British Columbia, (604) 822-1266; Government of Canada: Donald Boulanger,
Manager, Media relations, Canadian Heritage, (819) 997-9314

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