Richmond Olympic Oval
and Arts Precinct
Garden City Lands
Olympic Review met with George Duncan,
CAO City of Richmond and CEO Richmond
Oval Corporation, to discuss how the city
used the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver
2010 to create a lasting legacy for its
inhabitants, inspire people to get active and
attract elite athletes to train at its facilities.
Q. What was Richmond’s unique approach
to being a venue city for the Olympic Winter
Games Vancouver 2010?
A. The first question asked of the city was: what
can your city do for the Olympic Winter Games?
We took a different view and asked: what could
the Olympic Winter Games do for our city, and
how could we leverage the world’s biggest
brand to help us? Throughout our preparations,
we planned our post-Games legacy while at
the same time seeking to accommodate the
Olympic needs, requirements and expectations.
The initial budget for the facility was CAD
60 million for a long track speed skating oval as
laid out in VANOC’s (Vancouver 2010 Organising
Committee) budget. We leveraged that into
a CAD 178 million superb sports facility with
no impact on the local tax base.
We knew that Canada didn’t need two long
track ovals within 1,000 kilometres, so it was
always agreed that Calgary’s Oval would be
the iconic venue for long track speed skating
in Canada, while our Oval would serve our
Q. What was the city’s vision for the Oval
A. Our Oval was designed to be a centre of
excellence for sport and wellness with the
added benefit of being a superb theatre for
long track speed skating for the Olympic Winter
Games Vancouver 2010. We planned the legacy
as part of the original capital budget. This was
key to our success. The conversion plan was
not up for debate or funding post-Games.
We opened the venue over a year before
the Games and incorporated community
programmes in the facility. We planned for
every child in Richmond to skate on Olympic
ice. We wanted these memories embedded
in our community. We hired the post-Games
staff 18 months before the Games took place.
Their focus was on legacy.
Q. Has the Olympic legacy been successful?
A. There are those in our city who might have
been pleased if the legacy of 2010 was simply
a fine community centre in their midst. And in
many respects, we have met that standard.
The Oval produces an operating surplus
each year. But we have decided to be more!
We therefore worked on maintaining our
Olympic relationships with different partners,
including the IOC, to create in 2015 the Olympic
Experience at the Richmond Olympic Oval to
tell the story of Olympism to all visitors but also
to become a beacon for the Olympic Movement
through a strong partnership with the Canadian
Olympic Committee, to celebrate volunteerism,
and finally to attract aspiring Olympians to train
at the Oval.
Today, we attract national and international
athletes and teams to train at the Oval. For
example, Canada’s national women’s volleyball
programme has made the Oval its training
home. They are living, breathing, successful
symbols that can teach our youth about the
values of the Olympic Movement.
Richmond’s Olympic legacy lives on,
we are not finished. Legacy has become
a part of our culture and community.■
64 OLYMPIC REVIEW