The River District Discovery Centre

The River District Discovery Centre was designed to be disassembled and moved to other sites

How do you create a dynamic and exciting community?

The East Fraser Lands in Vancouver has officially become the River District.

With a 20-year building plan just getting underway, interest is very high and soon-to-be residents are lining up to be the first among its community members.

There is a unique challenge to rebrand industrial land, engage the existing community and keep interest growing over a 20-year development.

TAAC members came to hear about the challenges faced and solutions created from the team behind the River District Vision Centre.

The interactive projection model was very unique

Interactive Projection Model

Speakers included Yosh Kasahara, Marketing Manager, Parklane Homes (lead developer for the project), Ashley Willard Bauman, Braun-Allison (communications and strategy team), Shaun August, Eos Lightmedia (multimedia and lighting lead for the project), Juan Tanus, KEI Space (exhibit integration and interior installation project manager) and Ross Ireland, 3DS (exhibit and signage fabricator).

The River Centre walls opened onto the river

It was a beautiful summer evening and The River Centre walls opened onto the river

Note: the images are thumbnails — please click to see them full-size.

TAA President Duane Fast is deputized by Gordon Linden

TAA President Duane Fast is deputized by Gordon Linden into The Expo Book Team

On October 20, 2010 the Themed Attraction Association Canada put together a special Expo event. It was held at the Creekside Community Centre, an Olympic heritage building on the former Expo 86 site.

This was an event close to the TAA’s heart. TAA Canada was born after Expo 86. Our founding members worked together to produce that amazing event and then joined forces to start the Themed Attraction Association. Our purpose was not only to liaise with other people in the same industry, but also to work together to get more international work of the same caliber. And we’ve been pretty successful–our members have worked on every World Expo since 1986.

For this event we brought in a guest speaker from California. Gordon Linden is an acknowledge expert on Expos and the author of a well-known book on the topic.

Full House at the TAA Canada Expo Event

Full House at the TAA Canada Expo Event

THE EXPO BOOK addresses all aspects of the complex and rewarding business of creating an outstanding and successful world expo–from seeking registration with the Bureau of International Expositions, to selecting a site and formulating a theme, through all the subsequent planning, financial, operations and development issues including the transition to post-use of the site. It is probably the definitive source for expo information.

At this well-attended event Gordon gave us a great overview of Expos past, present and future. He discussed what went wrong and what went right, as well as what to expect next.

Spectacular location combined with fascinating speaker equals amazing event!

Duane Fast of Artcraft Display Graphics Inc. recently attended the UNESCO Conference on Geoparks held in Malaysia. Duane is an executive member of the Commission on UNESCO Geoparks.

There were two areas of focus at this conference. The main item on the agenda was a call for better interpretive and marketing skills amongst Geopark operators. Park operators tend to be academics more focused on the science of the park than the visitor experience. Both are important but a better balance must be achieved.

The second area of concern was that Geoparks were too focused on the geology of the park. While unique geology is the criteria for creating a Geopark, it has to work in conjunction with the geography (physical, cultural and human) as well as the biology of the park. All of these areas should be given equal importance.

Exciting news for Canadians was the official application of a Geopark in Canada, Stonehammer Park in New Brunswick. If accepted, this would be the first Geopark in North America.

Professor Liu Changming of China and Duane Fast of Canada

Duane Fast of Canada and Professor Liu Changming of China discuss closer ties between UNESCO and the International Geographical Union

In keeping with the Olympic spirit, the TAA Canada held their first event of 2010 in conjunction with the Paralympic Games. The event was held at the BC Hydro Olympic Pavilion. It was jointly hosted by BC Hydro and Artcraft Display Graphics Inc. Artcraft partnered with BC Hydro to produce the graphics in the pavilion. This long-time partnership is fostered by both companies’ dedication to environmental sustainability in all aspects of their lives.

Cathy Bullen shows off the PowerSmart house

Cathy Bullen shows off the PowerSmart house

We kicked the evening off with Cathy Bullen (BC Hydro) giving us a tour of the facility.

The front entrance to the pavilion is guarded by two giant First Nations carvings of welcoming figures. The tour included a PowerSmart house constructed on the site. This amazing display of energy saving innovations is slated to be donated to a worthy cause after the pavilion is decommissioned. The pavilion also featured an impressive array of Olympic memorabilia, including medals and torches.

After the tour, the group adjourned to the lounge area for food, beverages and speakers. Our guest speaker was Trevor Hirschfield, a Paralympic athlete.

Trevor Hirschfield talks about his medal winning performance in Beijing

Trevor Hirschfield talks about his medal winning performance in Beijing


Trevor was a star of the Canadian wheelchair rugby team that won a bronze medal in Beijing and gold at the world com-petitions. His inspir-ational talk left us all feeling very humble.

This was followed by TAA Canada members showcasing their roles in Olympic work.

Chris Au of Didax Design marvels at the Olympic goodies

Chris Au of Didax Design marvels at the Olympic goodies


Food, drinks and schmoozing are at the heart of every TAA event

Food, drinks and schmoozing are at the heart of every TAA event


A green wall on the PowerSmart building

A green wall on the PowerSmart building

Finished Spindle Whorls • Photo credit: Gary Fiegehen

Finished Spindle Whorls

Spindle Whorls were originally small hand held spinning wheels for spinning fibers. Carved by First Nation’s artists to make them more attractive, they have since become an art form, sometimes made in larger sizes like the ones in the Squamish L’íl’wat Cultural Center. At 7-½ ft in diameter, these are the largest ever made that actually rotate. Towering over you as you enter the cultural center, they make an impressive sight.

Hugh Dasken of H. Dasken Mechanical and Technical Innovations had responsibility for design (excluding the carving), manufacturing and installation of the pedestals, based on a conceptual design by D. Jensen and Associates. The project presented some unique engineering challenges. Since each one weighs approximately 1,500 pounds and stands 15 feet tall they had to be made exceptionally strong. Quiet operation was also important, so the enclosure for the electric drive mechanism incorporated custom engineered soundproofing to allow the Spindle Whorls to rotate silently.

Both pedestals were fabricated out of steel and finished with polyurethane paint resulting in a durable and attractive finish. They were fabricated in Vancouver and carried to Whistler Village on flat bed semi trailers. The pedestals were then erected inside the Cultural Center where they were secured to the concrete floor with large anchor bolts. Last of all, the huge cedar Spindle Whorl disks were lifted carefully into place and attached to the rotational mechanism on each pedestal.

Hugh Dasken reports that this project was rewarding for both its engineering challenges and the magnificent way it showcases the carvings.

Zhenkang Li and Ian McLennan, in Shanghai, China

Zhenkang Li and Ian McLennan, in Shanghai, China

Ian McLennan meeting with Zhenkang Li in Shanghai, China – whose company in Shanghai, the Conter Group is contracted for a number of specialized services to the EXPO 2010 Corporation.
Zhenkang is one of TAA’s most trusted and able supporters in Shanghai – and has met with and assisted, on several occasions in the past, several TAA members – including Duane Fast (Artcraft Advertising), David James (Panther Management), and Hal Kalman (Commonwealth).
Zhenkang Li and Ian discussed a number of proposed initiatives – particularly for the post-Expo 2010 period, including residual usage of the Expo grounds (events and development), art projects, and other possibilities. They also discussed ease of entry into major pavilions by TAA and other exposition professionals during the run of EXPO 2010.

Recently in Shanghai TAA board member Ian McLennan met with Zhenkang Li of the Conter Group. The Conter Group is contracted for a number of specialized services to the EXPO 2010 Corporation.

Zhenkang is one of TAA’s most trusted and able supporters in Shanghai – and has met with and assisted, on several occasions in the past, several TAA members – including Duane Fast (Artcraft Advertising), David James (Panther Management), and Hal Kalman (Commonwealth).

Zhenkang Li and Ian discussed a number of proposed initiatives – particularly for the post-Expo 2010 period, including residual usage of the Expo grounds (events and development), art projects, and other possibilities. They also discussed ease of entry into major pavilions by TAA and other exposition professionals during the run of EXPO 2010.

TAA AGM at The Cultch

June 25, 2009

On Tuesday, June 23, The Themed Attraction Association of Canada held its Annual General Meeting at The Cultch.

The Cultch

The Cultch

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Following the AGM, the Executive Director of The Cultch, Heather Redfern, led the group on a tour of the facility. The Cultch has experienced an amazing refurbishment and transformation. This phase is nearing completion.

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