Exterior shot of Hillcrest Centre as viewed from the side, with people walking along the pathway.

Hillcrest Centre


Vancouver, BC

A bustling hub with a library, pool, skating rink, curling rink, gymnasium and field team rooms, the Hillcrest Centre is a joyful gathering place for children, families and community members. It's the largest aquatic and community centre facility in the Vancouver Park Board system, providing open and engaging recreation facilities, and a revitalized public site through the consolidation of three aging facilities.

Interior of Hillcrest Centre, with the pool viewing area on the left and ice rink on the right.
Design challenge

Vancouver’s Hillcrest Centre has had two very distinct states; its life as the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Curling Venue (Vancouver Olympic Paralympic Centre) and its subsequent legacy-mode conversion to a variety of community amenities. Its legacy-mode elements include a major indoor and outdoor aquatic centre, an 8-sheet curling club, a community ice rink, a community centre, a community daycare facility and a branch library. The project carefully balanced the temporary yet very specific needs of the high-profile Olympic curling event with a longer-term vision for a vibrant community recreation centre and social gathering place.

The facility demonstrates an energetic example of civic design and receives over 2 million visitors a year. This new model has been so successful that the client is looking to see if additional facilities of similar size and program are feasible.


The design of Hillcrest Centre was undertaken with active participation by the multiple stakeholders including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC), the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, The Riley Park Community Association, The Vancouver Curling Club as well as the Vancouver Public Library.  A steering committee was established and the design team worked closely with both programming and operational staff of all stakeholders. As well, operators of similar facilities, both within Vancouver and in other municipalities, were consulted to provide additional perspective on operational issues. The result is a facility that meets the needs of the partner stakeholders and maximizes community benefit.

Interior view of the library at Hillcrest Centre.
Outdoor night view of the building

“On a cold November Wednesday evening, the centre looked straight out of a movie set. The pool was packed with laughing children, the ice rink crowded with skaters sporting toques and the workout room filled with athletes of all abilities, as it is constantly. As I arrived and left the centre, dozens of people of all ages flowed through the front door. If there ever was a picture of success, it’s the beautifully designed Hillcrest Centre…”

Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier

Our response

The roots of the formal concept of the Centre are based in the synthesis of public use, program, site conditions, and the belief that community facilities have a responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. The end result is a project that resonates beyond the boundary of site and takes a larger role in defining the character of the community. This vital centre promotes awareness of a diverse and active community while dramatically enhancing the user experience.

Children walking down a colourful hallway heading towards the women's changing room.
Instructor looking over people swimming in indoor pool.
Skaters take the ice in the Hillcrest ice rink.

The Hillcrest Centre Conversion was a very demanding project…it involved taking the shell of an existing building, built to house curling events for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and converting it into a Skating Rink, curling Centre, Gymnasium, Community Centre and Library. All this was completed on time and on budget, and this was only possible because of a successful team effort, including your staff and a competent sub-consultant group.

Roland Haebler, President, The Haebler Group

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