The Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Journey

Watch. Discover. Do your part.

The Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Journey video shows many examples of the sustainability initiatives made by VANOC and its partners in the planning, hosting and legacies of the 2010 Winter Games.

Take the 2010 Sustainability Challenge!

1. Watch the video: The Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Journey

As the sustainability character walks, cycles and buses you past many scenes of Olympic Games-initiated sustainability in action, there is a lot to see. Watch the video and look for the following:

  • Rain water collected for reuse
  • Two (inner-city) training and job opportunities that produce Games-time products
  • Waste heat captured and reused
  • Restoration of a former industrial site and waterfront
  • Wood waste, chipped, composted and creating new growth

2. Discover more about the Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Journey

3. Do your part to further sustainability at Games time and beyond.

At VANOC we have made our sustainability journey the responsibility of every person in the organization. Do your part by making sustainable choices in your daily life during the Games and beyond.



Richmond Olympic Oval

(Speed skating venue)

  • BC Pine-Beetle Wood Roof — The Oval’s massive ceiling is created from salvaged British Columbia (BC) wood that was affected by a pine-beetle infestation. At a size of about 100 metres by 200 metres (2 hectares), the roof is the largest surface ever covered in the once-discarded wood. Showcasing use of this wood may encourage its application elsewhere and help mitigate the economic hardship the pine-beetle epidemic has brought upon communities in BC.

  • Venues’ Aboriginal Art Program — Facilitated by the Four Host First Nations and VANOC,  the Vancouver 2010 Venues’ Aboriginal Art Program showcases more than 30 works of original  Aboriginal art at the 15 Olympic and Paralympic competition venues. Contributing over $2 million in commissions to Aboriginal artists, the program features work by established and emerging First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists including youth mentorship projects and traditional and contemporary textile art. The rainwater capture system at the Richmond Olympic Oval features Coast Salish designs of salmon, herons and the Fraser River by internationally acclaimed Musqueam artist, Susan Point.

  • Rainwater Capture and Reuse — Rainwater is collected from the Oval’s vast roof through an innovative collection system. Much of the captured rainwater flows into the building’s utility systems to supplement toilet flushing. The rest is stored in a pond in front of the Oval and used to irrigate surrounding trees and landscaping. Marsh plants in the rainfall collection pond act as natural purifiers, improving water quality in the pond and in the connected Hollybridge Canal.

Social Inclusion: Purchasing, Training, Job Creation and Accessibility

  • The RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop (Fab Shop) — Providing carpentry training and work experience for at-risk populations, the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop in Vancouver’s inner-city is a construction facility where more than 2,300 wood products needed in Games venues are made. RONA and VANOC partnered with community organizations and provincial and federal government training programs to provide this opportunity to up to 64 at-risk urban residents. Graduates of the 30-week program earn the first year of a four-year Red Seal certification in carpentry.
    More >> Watch the video A Fab Shop

  • CORE Program — The Fab Shop also houses the CORE program, a six-week employment-training program delivered by the Vancouver Regional Construction Association that prepares workers for entry-level construction jobs, many of which were at the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver construction site. Funding support for the CORE training program is provided in part by an innovative Community Benefits Agreement.
    More >> CORE Training

  • Victory Bouquets Contract — An innovative partnership between a social enterprise based in Surrey, Just Beginnings Flowers, and a North Vancouver small business, Margitta’s Flowers, won the contract to produce approximately 1,700 victory bouquets for athletes at Games time. Just Beginnings provides floral design training, work experience and job placements for people with multiple barriers to employment. These include single parents, victims of violence and individuals in addiction recovery, returning from prison or exiting the sex trade.

  • VANOC’s Buy Smart Program —By implementing its Buy Smart program, VANOC strategically uses its significant operating budget to make a positive difference in areas that might not otherwise benefit from the Games. The Buy Smart Program incorporates environmental, ethical, social and Aboriginal objectives into the Organizing Committee’s purchasing and licensing decisions. It also links to the supplier database of the 2010 Commerce Centre. Awarding the victory bouquets contract to a social enterprise/small business partnership is one example of Buy Smart in action.
    More >> VANOC buys smart

  • Paralympic Planning — The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games marks the first time that the Paralympic Games have been included in the organizational title. Accessibility for people with a disability and Paralympic operations have been integrated into the planning process from the start. Barrier-Free Guidelines have been developed as a resource for 2010 venue construction, transportation planning, special events, accommodations and operations.

Vancouver Olympic Centre/Vancouver Paralympic Centre

(Curling and wheelchair curling venue)

  • Waste Heat Reuse — Waste heat from this venue’s refrigeration plant is captured and reused to heat other building spaces, the adjacent aquatics centre, and domestic hot water for the facility. Waste heat from the swimming pool area will also be recovered through the aquatic centre’s ventilation system.
    More >> Taking the Heat

  • Legacy Facility — After the 2010 Winter Games, the curling venue will become a multi-purpose community recreation centre that will include an ice hockey rink, gymnasium, library and six to eight sheets of curling ice. Attached to, and being constructed with the new curling venue and community centre, is a new aquatic centre with a 50-metre pool and leisure pool. Post-Games, the venue will be managed by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

  • Accessibility — The complex is accessible to persons with a disability. For example, the change rooms for the swimming pool (in post-Games legacy mode) will consist of screen walls rather than doors, making entry more accessible for all users, including persons who use a wheelchair.

Olympic and Paralymic Village Vancouver

(Athletes’ Village site)

  • Restoration of a former industrial site and foreshore — Situated in a restored former industrial site on False Creek in downtown Vancouver, the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver will be the first phase of a model sustainable community known as Southeast False Creek. In addition to featuring the restored heritage Salt Building, the post-Games community plan will house approximately 3,000 residents in 1,100 units, and includes a commitment to affordable housing. The restoration of the foreshore included the introduction of an island to promote inter-tidal marine habitat and replanting of indigenous vegetation.

  • LEED Neighbourhood Development Pilot — This project will transform a former industrial brownfield area into a showcase of sustainable living. It aims to certify, under the new LEED for Neighbourhood Development pilot, to LEED Gold standard. Each building site aims to certify to LEED Gold standard for new construction, except for the community centre, which is targeting LEED Platinum level — making it one of the highest-rated environmentally designed buildings in Canada.  Units will include the application of universal design, with elements such as wider doorways, hallways and stairs that can be easily adapted for complete accessibility. In addition, a Neighbourhood Energy Utility provides space heat and hot water generation for the Village site using heat recovered from the City’s main sewer line.

  • Net-Zero Energy Building — Complete with a green roof, the Net-Zero Energy Building will include energy consumption monitoring, solar recovery, waste heat harvesting and above-LEED standards in energy conservation. A Net-Zero Energy Building is designed to generate as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year and offer superior indoor environmental quality to protect and enhance occupant health. At times during the year it may require energy form the grid, but at other times it generates more energy than it needs and the surplus is fed back into the grid.  The net result is zero energy pulled from the grid. 

  • Community Benefits Agreement — The City of Vancouver (property owner), Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties Ltd. (developer) and Building Opportunities with Business Inner-City Society (community implementation) negotiated the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to ensure the community directly benefited from the development of the Southeast False Creek lands, which include the site of the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver. The CBA provides for 100 construction jobs for inner-city residents on the site; $750,000 in training to prepare them for these jobs; and $15 million in goods and services purchased from inner-city suppliers. The majority of the entry-level construction workers hired in the CBA positions were trained in the CORE program housed at the Fab Shop. More >> Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)

Sea to Sky

(Cypress Mountain: freestyle skiing and snowboard venue)

  • Sustainable Transportation — In order to reduce traffic congestion, the focus will be to reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicle traffic, which has the added benefit of lowering our carbon footprint during the 2010 Winter Games. Visitors and residents are encouraged to choose more sustainable modes such as cycling, walking, public transit and carpooling. To support this strategy, there will be no parking allowed at the venues, and Olympic tickets will include passes for public transit. Spectators and volunteers staying in Vancouver will travel by bus to the Whistler venues. In addition, the VANOC workforce has made a commitment to right-sizing VANOC fleet vehicles, carpooling and using public transit. VANOC has also implemented a no idling policy.

  • Four Host First Nations logo — The Four Host First Nations (FHFN) logo reflects the unique culture and spirit of the Four Host First Nations, respecting each other and working cooperatively together, united within the circle of life. The FHFN are official hosts of the 2010 Winter Games. This is the first time in history that indigenous peoples have been recognized as full partners in an Olympic and Paralympic Games by the International Olympic Committee. Together with VANOC and our other Vancouver 2010 partners, the FHFN are working to achieve unprecedented Aboriginal participation in the 2010 Winter Games.

  • First Nations Snowboard Team — The First Nations Snowboard Team (FNST) and its partners are establishing a legacy for Aboriginal youth by providing opportunities using winter sport as a vehicle for social change. The FNST is the only snowboard body that is entirely operated by Aboriginal snowboarders. FNST members must reflect a holistic approach, and commit to their athlete agreements. FNST was created through funding from the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund — a fund created as a legacy of the 2010 Winter Games through partnership between the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations, the Province of BC and the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation.
    More >> Soaring to New Heights: The First Nations Snowboard Team

  • The Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program — The Aboriginal design on the bottom of the snowboard represents the Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program. This programs marks the first time an Olympic Organizing Committee has partnered with indigenous peoples in creating an official licensed merchandising program — a program that showcases excellence in Aboriginal arts, culture and enterprise in Canada. The FHFN logo on every product signifies authentic Aboriginal art and design. One third of the royalties from the sale of Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal licensed products goes toward the Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Youth Legacy Fund, which supports education, sport, sustainability and cultural initiatives for Aboriginal youth across Canada.
    More >> The Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Licensing and Merchandising Program

Whistler Olympic Park/Whistler Paralympic Park

(Cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping, Nordic combined venue)

  • Smaller Footprint —The footprint of Whistler Olympic Park/Whistler Paralympic Park is approximately 30 per cent smaller than the initial design thanks to careful planning based on the recommendations of a governmental environmental assessment. The venue layout was altered to avoid disturbing old-growth forest and wetlands and incorporates extended riparian buffer areas around streams and wetlands throughout the site.
    More >> Watch the Whistler Olympic Park video.

  • Wood Waste Reuse — Rather than burning wood waste at the Nordic venue site, much of it was chipped, composted, mixed with indigenous seed and reapplied to disturbed areas for revegetation and erosion control. Other wood waste was reused for temporary compound construction.

  • Benefits for Aboriginal Communities Economic opportunities were realized by local First Nations communities; Squamish Nation- and Lil’wat First Nation-owned companies were awarded contracts for trail development and building construction at this venue. Resource Business Ventures (whose trucks pull away from the site), is a majority-owned Lil’wat construction company that won major contracts to clear the site and build the trail network.
    More >> Resource Business Ventures — First Nations Construction Company Grows with the Games

Connections Local and Global


  • BC Hydrogen Highway — This government and industry initiative highlights hydrogen and fuel cell technology development. The highway is showcased in Whistler, Victoria, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Surrey and at Vancouver International Airport. Partners include the Province of British Columbia, Natural Resources Canada, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the District of West Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver, General Motors of Canada, BC Hydro and VANOC.

  • Sustainability Star Program — VANOC celebrates leading examples of innovation in sustainability with the Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Star Program. The program recognizes initiatives by Games partners, sponsors and VANOC that demonstrate positive and measurable social, economic and environmental impacts in a Games context.
    More>> Star-Studded Games

  • Tailed Frog Habitat Management — Based on the recommendations of a governmental environmental assessment, VANOC in 2007 implemented a tailed frog-management plan at the Whistler Creekside alpine skiing venue. During site construction, the team avoided disturbing an in-stream frog habitat wherever possible. Where disturbance was unavoidable, VANOC used best practices to move tailed frogs and tadpoles by hand, relocating them 40 metres upstream. Environmental monitors have since determined there is a population abundance of the tiny tailed frogs in Boyd Creek, site of the relocation.

Olympic and Paralympic Village Whistler

  • Affordable Resident Housing — After the Games, the Olympic and Paralympic Village Whistler will provide much-needed affordable resident housing. The housing will be a model of sustainable living, mainly comprising resident-restricted housing for Whistler residents, plus mixed-use amenities including commercial spaces, a youth hostel and high-quality recreational facilities. Housing types will include a combination of duplexes, townhomes and apartments.

  • LEED Neighbourhood Development — The neighbourhood is designed to qualify for Gold certification under the new LEED Neighbourhood Development (ND) rating system. The project is developed on a brownfield site making use of land that was previously landfill. The project also focused on preserving secondary growth forest and nearby wetlands. Once complete, the Olympic and Paralympic Village Whistler will have the highest neighbourhood density in the Whistler area, a facet that has enhanced the certification of the neighbourhood under the LEED for ND pilot scheme.

  • Innovative Energy System — An additional sustainability highlight is the Village’s innovative energy system: the neighbourhood will receive up to 90 per cent of the energy needed for heating and domestic hot water requirements by capturing waste heat from the nearby waste water treatment plant, substantially decreasing the electrical and natural gas requirements of the community.

  • Storm Water Management System — The project also contains an innovative storm water management system, using a network of roadside rain gardens, bio-swales and sediment ponds to ensure no net impact on the water flow or quality in the nearby Cheakamus River.

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