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Canadians take the podium at International Olympic Committee awards


November 10, 2015
by Elsa Lam

Richmond Olympic Oval by Cannon Design. Photo by Derek Lepper

Richmond Olympic Oval by CannonDesign. Photo by Derek Lepper

The Richmond Olympic Oval, the signature venue from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games and now a multi-use community recreation centre and sports venue designed by CannonDesign, has received the All Time Award from the International Association of Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) —an award reserved for landmark sports facilities from the past half-century. The All Time Award is being issued in conjunction with IAKS 50th anniversary and will not be awarded again until 2065.

The Oval is one of just 10 facilities to receive the All Time award and the only award-winning venue from North America.“We have always been proud of the visionary work that helped make the Richmond Olympic Oval an influential and notable facility, a cultural treasure for the community in the years since, and now with this award from IAKS, one of the best sports facilities of our time,” said CannonDesign Principal Ken Wiseman, who led CannonDesign’s efforts on the Oval. “Our firm is honored to have worked with the City of Richmond and so many other people who helped make this building a reality.”

Prior to the Oval’s creation, Olympic speed skating venues were built as single-use “sport-only” building that had little value to the community after the games, resulting in “white elephants” with long-term revenue and operational challenges and little or no community use. Equipped with a flexible and adaptive interior sport environment, the Oval has changed how designers view and create Olympic facilities. The level of convertibility and multi-use achieved in the Oval continues to enrich and nourish the Richmond, British Columbia, community and its surrounding region.

During the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the venue offered a 400-meter speed-skating track and 8,000 seats for spectators along with a fitness centre, athlete testing area, cardiovascular rehabilitation centre, wellness centre, sports medicine centre and concessions areas. Now as a regional community recreation centre, the facility offers three floors of flexible space allowing for combined sports, recreation and community uses simultaneously. The Oval has also spurred new housing and commercial development and a City Centre waterfront park that enhances community, public access and use of the Fraser River.

“We were fortunate to work with a city that challenged us to raise the bar when it came to sports design, sustainability and community engagement,” added Wiseman. This award is further evidence of that vision as the Richmond Olympic Oval continues to leave a remarkable legacy.”

This year’s IAKS/IOC awards also recognized several additional Canadian projects. The Prince Arthur’s Landing, Thunder Bay’s Waterfront Project by architecture and urban design firm Brook McIlroy received a 2015 IAKS/IOC Silver Medal. Bronze Medals were awarded to the NCC Rideau Canal Skateway Facilities in Ottawa by CSV Architects and Regent Park Aquatic Centre in Toronto by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects. The Edmonds Community Centre in Burnaby by CEI Architecture received an Award of Distinction.

Finally, Vincent Morissette’s project Actus was recognized with a Silver Medal in the student and young professionals’ category.

This year’s awards were presented during the IAKS annual Congress in Cologne, Germany in late October.