Richmond Olympic Oval invites community to celebrate milestone
It opened its doors one decade ago as the official Olympic venue for speed skating, but its legacy is how it continues to bring the community together since the 2010 Winter Games.
"Our bread and butter is working with the community," said Andrew Clark, the Oval's manager of marketing and communication.
"It was first designed to be an asset to the community, and secondly to be an Olympic venue for speed skating and they're really realizing that today."
The multi-sport facility welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is the heart of sport, health and wellness in Richmond, Clark said.
Olympian race walker Evan Dunfee believes the Oval has achieved what many Olympic venues failed to do.
"Having travelled to different games and being in a couple of Olympics, either as a spectator or as a competitor, seeing these white elephant buildings that just get left behind and then seeing what we were able to do here at the Oval has just been so amazing to see," he said.
He believes a young person walking through the venue would be inspired to get active and perhaps, aspire to become an athlete.
"I do some of my training here and I work here; you turn around and you see the women's national volleyball team training, you turn around and you see the rugby guys training, and then you see some 75-year-olds playing on the ping pong courts.
"Just to have a kid come through here and see that life-long spectrum of what activity looks like is just so special," he said.
December 12th marks the Oval's 10-year anniversary and to celebrate with the community, it invited residents to its free day of activities Sunday, which included exploring its museum, participating in its classes and even trying out wheelchair basketball.