Terrible Facility

kylet3

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I would be the lurker that WanderlustTO is referring to. It was good to meet you as well. I'm going to pass along my thoughts...

I haven't been to a competition since the 2010 Olympics. Having been to Skate Canada, Worlds, and the Olympics, this was the sixth nationals that I've attended and I have to say it was by far the WORST venue that I've ever been in for a competition. I've been to Vancouver for several competitions before and never had a problem until now.

As many have mentioned, this place was WAY out of the way if you are staying downtown, such as WanderlustTO and I did. I had no idea I was staying next to the skaters hotel until I actually got to my hotel and there it was lol. The cab prices weren't too bad, $22-26 which was ok and meeting WanderlustTO was really handy for being able to split cab costs. We were really fortunate in that both times we walked up to the hospital and never had to wait more than 15-20 minutes.

As for the venue. I was TERRIFIED of the whole rat situation. Especially when a couple people in the row behind me mentioned it had been up there earlier in the week for the juniors. :yikes:but I never encountered anything like that thankfully. That said, the concession being only on one side if you wanted a burger or chicken strips or whatever was really poorly thought out. It was nice that they brought in "healthier" options but those ended up running out fairly quickly in the morning. I only ended up having a hot dog on the Friday, I have invisalign so when you're trying to deal with that and brush your teeth in the arena carrying around a bag of supplies, it was far too awkward to deal with, so I just waited until the competition was done on day two. The concourses were BEYOND jammed and maneuvering in and out around all the people, not to mention, walking underneath bleachers and up and down several flights of stairs to get to my section, while fine for me, would be a big problem if you have any kind of mobility issues especially with a real lack of elevators. It just felt like a piss-poor excuse for Skate Canada, they copped out instead of having it in a decent venue where everyone could enjoy the competition.

There were some amazing performances on the ice last week but for me, it felt like more of a hassle than anything, and I think unless another event comes to Alberta (Edmonton or Calgary) I'm not really going to bother with going to a competition again.
 

clairecloutier

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Realistically, it was very unlikely I was going to be able to afford the GP Final next year anyway .... and I must say, these candid reports about the arena make me more reconciled to missing it! For the sake of all those who DO attend, though, I hope they can consider moving it to another venue ....
 
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For anyone considering going to the Grand Prix final, staying along the broadway corridor was pretty convenient. We were within an easy walk of a sky train station, a bus stop outside the door (which we likely would have used instead of driving if I didn’t have a baby with me), and it was 10-15 min to the rink.
 

DobrinFan

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Realistically, it was very unlikely I was going to be able to afford the GP Final next year anyway .... and I must say, these candid reports about the arena make me more reconciled to missing it! For the sake of all those who DO attend, though, I hope they can consider moving it to another venue ....
Too late. Tickets just went on sale if I can manage to get my code to work.
 

WildRose

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The UBC Arena doesn’t sound that bad to me, I would go to the Grand Prix Final.
I think the rat situation has been blown out of proportion. We know from people who are familiar with UBC (including my oldest son who has worked there for over 10 years) that this was an aberration and they did get it under control quickly.
I also don’t care that the arena isn’t right downtown. Vancouver has a fantastic transit system. Millions of people used it to get to multiple venues during the Olympics without a problem. When I drive my car to Vancouver I park it while I’m there and take transit everywhere. It’s faster and it’s cheaper and it’s easier and it runs on time. The bus drivers are even polite and helpful.
Unless people want to pay a fortune for tickets, Skate Canada can’t afford to put events in major arenas - those days are gone. Personally I’d rather have reasonably priced tickets, a smaller arena, and full stands. Vancouver is a good location. It’s easily accessible by air, has a great climate, and it’s a beautiful city to visit.
 

cygnus

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The arena was okay, despite the bitching. Ben the rat had disappeared once the crowds showed up. The food was better than many places I have been (the veggie soup was pretty good, actually). Yes it was crowded, but as they didn't block off an end the traffic "flow" was better than at a few other places ( fake London?) Even the food linups, long as they were moved quickly as they were fully staffed. Public transit is very good- I bought myself a compass card and used it most of the week. Parking , when it was used by some family members wasn't too bad, and it was close (if expensive). There were lots of food options within a 10-15 minute walk, had time permitted it- but that's a scheduling issue, not an arena issue. The GPF will be fine.
 

Bloom13

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I agree..been to a lot of arenas/events and this wasn’t bad. Yes the lineups were big and maybe have to go to another checkout to find the right drink but that’s gonna happen at most large events.
 

overedge

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Just curious, did anyone buy, or have any observations on, the "Superfan" option - special seats, goodie bag, etc.? I see this is being offered for the GPF as well.
 

marigold

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Just curious, did anyone buy, or have any observations on, the "Superfan" option - special seats, goodie bag, etc.? I see this is being offered for the GPF as well.
The goody bag included a program, pin, Canada flag and insulated tote bag. I only chose the Superfan option for its proximity to the ice. I didn't care for the frills.
 

marigold

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Do you think it was worth the price?
If you are talking strictly dollar value of the stuff you receive, then it's overpriced like anything else at the arena. However, if you collect souvenirs for commemorative reasons, then there is that value to consider. :)

The GPF goody bag includes a blanket, so it will be interesting to see its quality. It certainly got cold in the arena near the ice and a blankie would come in handy.
 

victorskid

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Before I left Vancouver I started an e-mail to Skate Canada which I finished once I was back home. I made an effort to include positive comments and to make some constructive suggestions in advance of the GPF. I received an acknowledgement and then a follow-up to assure me that my comments were being passed to their events planning folks.

If any of you have some constructive comments to pass on, I would encourage you to do so. The GPF event is definitely going to be in the same facility as the tickets are now being purchased. What improvements might be practical and possible?

One suggestion that I made was to add another large screen within the competition space as turning one's head to see the ones there this time was not very convenient. I also suggested large TVs in the two concourse areas might be useful for those caught in the washroom/food lines and missing competition.
 

Japanfan

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Parking , when it was used by some family members wasn't too bad, and it was close (if expensive).
The parking is excellent - there is a lot right next door to the arena and we were able to get a spot on both competition days (had expected the lot to be full as we got there a bit late both days). After spending $500 for two tickets, and $600. for GPF, $15.00 a day for parking doesn't matter that much. It's worth it for the convenience IMO.
 

Snowflake3939

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Just curious, did anyone buy, or have any observations on, the "Superfan" option - special seats, goodie bag, etc.? I see this is being offered for the GPF as well.
I had Superfan tickets - we were supposed to get a voucher for a bag, a pin, a program and "a T-Shirt". We got a small Canadian flag instead of a T-Shirt. I got the Superfan option on GPF tickets and it's supposed to be a blanket (hope we don't get another flag instead of the blanket).
The parking is excellent - there is a lot right next door to the arena and we were able to get a spot on both competition days (had expected the lot to be full as we got there a bit late both days). After spending $500 for two tickets, and $600. for GPF, $15.00 a day for parking doesn't matter that much. It's worth it for the convenience IMO.
I got the parking pass for the week (it was very reasonably priced) and only one day during the event, I wasn't able to park there and also on the day of the gala, we had to park about three blocks away.
 

kalamalka

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One suggestion that I made was to add another large screen within the competition space as turning one's head to see the ones there this time was not very convenient. I also suggested large TVs in the two concourse areas might be useful for those caught in the washroom/food lines and missing competition.
Both of these are excellent suggestions. Since we were in the wheelchair area, we were directly under one of the two screens, so couldn't see that one at all, and the one at the other end of the rink was too far away to read the scores. I also missed having any screens in the concourse - they're not just useful if you're stuck in line, but to help judge the timing to get back, or to follow a skater if you're not in time
.
I will try to write a similar e-mail, with some comments specific to the wheelchair arrangements - good to know that you got a follow-up note.
 

victorskid

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Both of these are excellent suggestions. Since we were in the wheelchair area, we were directly under one of the two screens, so couldn't see that one at all, and the one at the other end of the rink was too far away to read the scores. I also missed having any screens in the concourse - they're not just useful if you're stuck in line, but to help judge the timing to get back, or to follow a skater if you're not in time
.
I will try to write a similar e-mail, with some comments specific to the wheelchair arrangements - good to know that you got a follow-up note.
I was seated in Section 102 so the screen at your end was too far away to read the skater information clearly and I had to turn around to see the big screen above the "live stream desk".

The number of steps everywhere in the facility and the limited elevator availability were issues for anyone with mobility challenges. I'm not sure how this can be improved by the GPF was I did point it out in my message.

Sorry I didn't get to meet you - I chatted with Rosaleen a few times but never in the actual seating area :)
 

JasperBoy

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I met a few people who had bought seats in the first three rows and found them to be too close to the ice. This would be the Superfan section. These people were able to move up to Row 6 or 7 and said they preferred to have a view of the whole ice from farther back.
I imagine Japanese Superfans will be buying the front row seats for the GPF.
As for the items in the goodie bag, I have accumulated most of that stuff over the years....many years. When they sold media guides I always bought one, but now all I buy is a pin.
A blanket would have been useful because the arena was chilly. However, my standby plane ticket only allowed me a ten pound luggage allowance for both backpack and purse combined. It was challenging!
 

Vash01

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Yes. A rat was running around today during Markell's skate. Two employees were trying to catch it, running through the stands while he skated. There was even a scream during the skate when the rat went by some lady's feet. Apparently there were a number of rats spotted yesterday as well.
I am laughing, but it must have been very disruptive. It just encourages me to get rid of my GPF tickets.
 

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