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B.C. Place's roof facing its last days 0

BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS
B.C. Place's roof will be taken down for the last time at 11 a.m. Tuesday. (FILE PHOTO)

B.C. Place's roof will be taken down for the last time at 11 a.m. Tuesday. (FILE PHOTO)

The Buzz:

Vancouver's skyline changes forever at 11 a.m. Tuesday when the roof nicknamed "Bill Bennett's Bubble" and "Marshmallow in Bondage" disappears.

The air-supported fabric roof of B.C. Place Stadium is scheduled to slowly fall in a controlled deflation after being aloft 10,020 days. No other roof in the world has covered Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, President Bill Clinton, Bono, Mick Jagger, Madonna, David Beckham, Pamela Anderson and the Olympic flame.

What goes up:

The world's largest Teflon-coated, woven fibreglass roof is 10 acres and was inflated Nov. 14, 1982. It consists of two 1/30th of an inch-thick layers of fabric four feet apart. Queen Elizabeth II came to invite the world to Expo 86 when she was the guest of honour March 9, 1983. It officially opened on-time, on-budget June 19, 1983 for $126 million when 41,604 people came to the opening ceremony. A day later, 60,342 people cheered Peter Beardsley's goals in the Vancouver Whitecaps' 2-1 North American Soccer League win over the Seattle Sounders. On June 23, 1983, the Guess Who reunion was the first concert, albeit the warmup act for a B.C. Lions' exhibition game against the Calgary Stampeders.

Royals, rockers and knockers:

Prince Charles and Princess Diana opened Expo 86 on May 2, 1986. Premier Bill Vander Zalm and Mayor Mike Harcourt closed it Oct. 13, 1986. Pope John Paul II hosted a celebration of youth in 1984. President Bill Clinton was at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gala in 1997. U2 visited for six shows since 1987, including last October's 2009 tour-ender. The 3 Tenors (1996) and KISS (1999) played new year's eve gigs. A cameraman spotted Pamela Anderson jiggling at a 1989 Lions' game. So began her journey to Playboy and Baywatch.

Can You Imagine?

On Sept. 21, 1998, Arthur Griffiths launched Vancouver's bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics at a B.C. Place news conference. The Games came Feb. 12 and went Feb. 28, complete with the malfunctioning cauldron, dancing Mounties and inflatable beavers. The Paralympics' March 12 opening was the last spectator event under the roof.

Luuuuu!:

B.C. Place has hosted seven Grey Cups. Lui Passaglia's 1994-winning field goal beat the Baltimore Stallions and is the undisputed greatest sporting moment under the dome. Most dangerous: Robbie Knievel's motorcycle jump in 1987. Most disappointing: the 1990 NHL draft when Pat Quinn passed over Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur and picked Petr Nedved and Shawn Antoski instead. Most forgettable: The Vancouver Nighthawks 1988 World Basketball League season.

Next:

The roof material is not biodegradable, but will be repurposed into tents and bags. B.C. Place will be the first stadium in the world with an air-supported roof to be replaced with a German-designed retractable system. The $458 million taxpayer-financed project is scheduled for summer 2011 completion and will be Canada's second most-expensive stadium, after Montreal's $1 billion Olympic Stadium.


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