Thousands of attendees pour into the Vancouver Convention Centre every year from across the globe to attend various conventions. And, while environmental achievements, such as becoming the world's first double-LEED Platinum convention facility, are impressive, it's the green roof of the West Building that really is the center's star attraction. Here are five facts that make this Canadian architectural wonder a standout in sustainability and sheer entertainment value.
• Topping out at just over six acres, it is the largest green roof in Canada and home to more than 4,000 indigenous plants and grasses from the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.
• The roof is home to four bee hives with approximately 240,000 bees, as well as a family of nesting Canadian Geese who return every year to raise their young. To make them feel at home, the facility's staff placed a child's inflatable swimming pool on the roof so the birds could enjoy daily swims.
• The roof is mowed once a year in the fall by a crew of six landscapers. The careful process takes two weeks, and more than 11,000 pounds of grass and plants are cut and collected, with some clippings left on the roof to be composted back into the soil as fertilizer.
• In 2013, the roof was a featured Pit Stop for the reality series Amazing Race Canada, where 10 teams of 20 contestants raced around the roof searching for planted flags and the chance to win CA$250,000 in prize money.
• The water used to irrigate the roof in the summer months is recycled from the center's black-water treatment plant that collects and cleans water from the venue's washrooms.