Legacy Governance – Richmond

Richmond Olympic Oval 

  • Olympic City: Richmond
  • Country: Canada
  • Edition of the Games: 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
Since 2008
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How Legacy Governance Started In Richmond

In 2008, two years before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, the opening of the Richmond Olympic Oval was celebrated. That same year, the Oval was incorporated as a municipal corporation. Immediately after the Games, the Oval hosted the Wheelchair Rugby World Championship. It has since been host to many subsequent editions of this event. Residents and visitors in Richmond, Canada, continue to benefit from the city’s decision to host a portion of the Winter Olympics 2010. Sports managers have ensured that facilities and programmes are accessible to the entire community.

How does a city with a population of around 223,000 manage to annually stage international and national sporting competitions, in addition to more than 100 community events? In recent years, Richmond, in British Columbia, has hosted a long list of high-profile contests such as the World Martial Arts Games, the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, and the Fencing World Cup.

During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the city was the home of long track speed skating and is proud of the fact that the venue, the Richmond Olympic Oval, now serves the community on a daily basis. Thanks to its great modularity, the Oval has over 6,000 members who use its fitness, wellness and sport facilities for activities including basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, group fitness, yoga, table tennis, and more.

In addition, the Oval has over 2,400 m2 of strength training and workout space, a 17-metre climbing wall complete with lead, speed and bouldering, two indoor hockey rinks, and is home to the Richmond Olympic Experience, an engaging  interactive high-tech Olympic Museum. Thanks in part to the many opportunities offered at the Oval, Richmond attracted 8 million visitors in 2019 – 600,000 more than in 2015.


“Sport, health, wellness and entertainment—all under one roof” is the motto of the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The Oval project vision is to be “an outstanding centre of excellence for sports and wellness at the heart of an exciting urban waterfront.”

Legacy is…

To use the Olympic opportunity as a catalyst for raising the City to international stature, and creating new social and economic capital that significantly enriches Richmond’s quality of life. The Oval itself has endorsed the role of an agora around which a new city centre is being developed.

What’s next?

Subsequent steps include:

  • Promote the Community Wellness Strategy.
  • Continue to strengthen commitment to the community for the next ten years.
  • Continue to provide a training and competition facility for high performance athletes.


Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

The Oval is a one-stop shop for all ages and skill levels, from members of the community looking to try an activity for the first time to athletes representing the country on an international stage.

The Oval’s activities are integrated within the City’s policy with the aim of positioning Richmond as the best place for residents to play and achieve their highest potential, while also being a model of a Sport For Life community for Canada and the world. Richmond works towards integrating the delivery of recreation, school physical education and athletics, community sport, and regional health, to enable all citizens to reach their full potential within the framework of physical literacy, enhanced sport achievement and active for life.

Richmond became involved with the Active Well-being Initiative (AWI) as a pilot city because it wanted to connect with other cities, and to share its experiences as a place that is making the most of its Olympic legacy. In Richmond, there is a culture of activity, sport and wellness that is being served in the Oval and across the whole community. In November 2018, the city was designated as one of the world’s first Global Active Cities. The designation honours cities which have worked hard to offer all their residents the opportunity to have active and healthy lifestyles and to improve their well-being. As Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says, “Richmond has long been known as one of Canada’s healthiest cities. We continue to work hard to help our citizens lead healthy, active lives through a wide variety of strategies including our recently approved Community Wellness Strategy, which was developed in concert with numerous partners. This tremendous global honour will help further energise our efforts to make sure all Richmond residents enjoy a great quality of life.”

Promote the city by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Mouvement

Richmond increased its visibility by being identified as an official Olympic site for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. In addition to its role as an indispensable place for sport and entertainment for the locals, the Oval is also a world-class facility hosting national and international events and the training of elite athletes. The Olympic Games contributed to locating Richmond on the world map as a host city for big events.

The Richmond Olympic Experience (ROX) contributes to the promotion of the city’s Olympic history and links past, present and future.

In the words of CEO George Duncan, “The Richmond Olympic Oval’s history is entrenched in sport excellence. From its foundation as a host venue for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, the Olympic spirit is encapsulated in every aspect of the operations at the Oval. From its evolution as a long track speedskating venue to a multi-use sport and culture destination, a world-class standard was established in the form of legacy goals that the Oval continues to work towards today.”


Figures speak for themselves. The 2019 Report shows the following results:

  • 1 million visits
  • 60,943 Group Fitness visits (+25 % from 2018)
  • 53,655 High Performance Training Sessions (+3%)
  • 1,876 Learn to Skate registrations (+24%)
  • 2,735 Summer Camps registrations (17%)
  • 35,572 visits to the Richmond Olympic Experience (3%)
  • 63 events hosted (+13%)
  • Constant increase in social media followers & web visits

Key Challenges

Competing environment

The Corporation operates in a highly competitive sport and fitness market which offers personal training, group fitness classes, high performance training, yoga, wellness, weight training and sport-specific training and facilities. The Corporation also hosts many local and national events and has various open spaces and rooms which are available for rent to the public. In addition, the Corporation also operates an Olympic museum and a retail store as part of the overall services offered to the public. The challenge is to attract both local users and high-level events and athletes in the same venue.

Key learnings and recommendations

Setting clear legacy goals

The Corporation adopted a set of five objectives in order to address its obligations to the City under the Operating Agreement and the funding requirements of the 2010 Games Operating Trust (“GOT”). To continue to build on its strong Olympic legacy, the Corporation focuses on:

  • Establishing positive brand awareness.
  • Becoming valued by the community and its employees.
  • Becoming the desired location for community sport, health and fitness.
  • Supporting high-performance sports.
  • Operating in a financially sustainable manner.

Every year, the annual report is an occasion to look back and assess the achievement of these objectives.

Defining ambitious operating objectives

Objectives were fixed in a 2008 agreement between the City and the Corporation and have since been adhered to.

  • The Oval will provide facilities, programs and services for quality sport, fitness, recreational uses and wellness services for the Richmond community, neighbouring communities and the general public.
  • The Oval will be developed, used and promoted as a training and competition facility for high performance sport.
  • The Oval will provide facilities for cultural, community and entertainment events. The Oval will provide ancillary commercial, retail, health and wellness services intended to enhance its use in respect to the activities set out above.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:



Richmond Olympic Oval Annual reports: https://richmondoval.ca/about-us/annual-reports/

Legacy Governance – Vancouver

2010 Legacies Now

  • Olympic City: Vancouver
  • Country: Canada
  • Edition of the Games: 2010 Olympic Winter Games
British Columbia
©Free Vector Maps

How Legacy Governance Started In Vancouver

It is never too early to activate the Olympic Legacy and Vancouver is the perfect example of what can be implemented from the bidding process onwards to ensure building upon not only the event but also the preparation process. 2010 Legacies Now was created as an innovative response to the legacy development challenge faced by Games hosts. It aimed at building support for Vancouver’s bid for the 2010 Games and ensuring a stronger sport system in British Columbia (BC). In 2004, the scope was expanded to focus on developing community legacies leading up, during and beyond the Games in the areas of literacy, arts, volunteers, accessibility and inclusion, The organisation has been recognised for its ability to forge partnerships, to create compelling programmes and to achieve social goals with entrepreneurial creativity and energy. A new and bold understanding was born during the Bid Stage for the 2010 Winter Games: what if tangible legacies were identified and developed before the Games even took place, legacies that would benefit not only the host community, but also the host country?

According to Dr Jacques Rogge, former IOC President, “2010 Legacies Now is the first of its kind to use the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a catalyst for change.”

In order to leave lasting legacies in BC communities well beyond the Games and maximise ability to capitalise on Games‘ opportunities for BC communities, work was approached with three main ideals: to create mutually-beneficial partnerships, to be a highly-engaged funding organisation, and to use innovative methods to broaden the reach. Through its network, the organisation identified useful resources and facilitated new partnerships to create far-reaching self-sustaining community legacies. The first mandate was to support provincial and community sport outreach programmes, while building capacity and increasing the sustainability of sport in BC. The organisation also aimed to see more British Columbians on Olympic and Paralympic teams.


Legacy is…

“Harnessing the opportunity as a catalyst to create lasting social and economic impact that will change a community and a nation forever.”

What’s next?

Moving beyond the 2010 Winter Games, the organisation is embracing the spirit, drive and dedication of the world’s athletes to ensure that the work leading up to the Games continues. Many programmes were strategically transferred to partners who continue today to carry them forward as they continue to create lasting community benefits. As part of the transition, two new agencies were established.

Building on its international reputation as a leader in social innovation, the business model has evolved to further the work in creating positive and lasting social change.

In 2011, LIFT was set up to replace 2010 Legacies Now. LIFT aims to be a leader in advancing positive and lasting social change. It strengthens social purpose organisations to make them sustainable and effective at delivering social impact that improves the health and productivity of Canadians.

LIFT focuses on 3 areas: health, education and skills development leading to employment


Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

Attention was focused on three areas: sport development, community capacity building and province-wide community outreach. The primary commitment, however, was to fund and promote sport development programmes to take athletes from the playground to the podium. Aimed to introduce youth and communities to the joy of sport and provide promising young athletes with support to excel.

Over time, efforts led to increased participation in sport, greater athletic excellence, and active and healthier communities.

Develop human capital and generate social cohesion

The second objective is intrinsically linked to the first one as 2010 Legacies Now aimed to strengthen sport and recreation, healthy living, literacy, accessibility and volunteerism, using an inclusive approach. Indeed, social cohesion and BC communities are at the heart of the whole legacy project. 2010 Legacies Now found innovative ways to work with over 4,000 organisations and groups across the province in the quest to see BC communities discovering and creating lasting legacies leading up to 2010 and beyond.

2010 Legacies Now was deeply anchored into the communities of British Columbia and carried by a strong involvement in supporting all communities including children, youth, families, Aboriginal communities, etc.


2010 Legacies Now took an innovative approach to leveraging the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games into local, tangible legacies in over 400 neighbourhoods and communities throughout British Columbia. The organisation strategically invested in programmes, organisations and communities to create legacies which would continue to live for many years.

2010 Legacies Now worked with many universities to evaluate and measure the impact of some of their programmes and initiatives. Several KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) were established with the support of an accounting services organisation.

During actual Games-time, 2010 Legacies Now focused on information sharing about its delivery model, best practices and achievements’ measurements.

2010 Legacies Now is recognised internationally as a leader and innovator in community legacy development. Read the two case studies of 2010 Legacies Now that were commissioned by the International Olympic Committee:

Catalyst, Collaborator, Connector: The Social Innovation Model of 2010 Legacies Now, Mr. Joseph Weiler and Mr. Arun Mohan, 2009
The Evolution of 2010 Legacies Now – A Continuing Legacy of the Games through Venture Philanthropy, Mr. Joseph Weiler, 2011

Key Challenges

The establishment of a new entity

It was the first time an independent legacy organisation was established at the bid stage. Being a “first of” comes with many challenges and opportunities. Due to the fact that 2010 Legacies Now was set up to support the bid, its vision and mandate aligned with the Games. The initial challenge was to clearly establish where the organisation fit as part of the Olympics as it relates to hosting the Games, how to compliment and add value to established organisations who play a key role. Plus establishing and creating meaningful partnerships with community organisations and sector associations. The challenge was overcome by face-to-face meetings, planning and setting an environment for collaboration based on respect as well as a common vision. Becoming a trusted partner by delivering what was promised played a vital role in the organisation success. It was also important for 2010 Legacies Now to have its own funding in place so it could invest strategically and play a convening role when needed. As the partnerships grew, more opportunities evolved.

Legacies beyond Bricks and Mortar – Getting people to understand social legacies

When people thought of legacies related to major events and, in particular, the Olympics they thought of new stadiums and infrastructure left post Games. No Games had a vision on creating social legacies to the extent of the Vancouver Games and in particular on creating legacies leading up to during and beyond the Games. It took a lot of education and communications to explain and get people to understand the concept of social legacies. This was particularly true with anything beyond sport. There was also the task of showing how many of the social legacies impacted or contributed to economic benefits. It was important to communicate along with the partners the successes and impacts along the way to make things more tangible.

Mobilising and sustaining engagement throughout the whole Games’ cycle

Due to the financial commitments of the provincial (state) government in the overall Games is was critical to have legacies across the province of British Columbia not just in the host city of Vancouver and mountain venue of Whistler. Mobilisation and engagement started during the international bidding phase, prior to being awarded the Games, as the Vancouver 2010 bid promised a legacy win or lose. 2010 Legacies Now was an important factor in generating the support of the BC sport community in the Bid to host the 2010 Winter Games. In the months leading up to the OCOG being established and in the early years of the OCOG, 2010 Legacies Now and its partners played a critical role keeping the momentum and engagement throughout the province. The plans were designed to allow for certain programmes to be ramped up closer to Games time, plus activities and the focus could shift depending on the type of social or economic legacy. Programmes and initiatives needed to be rolled out strategically to ensure sustained engagement and momentum.

Key learnings and recommendations

Have legacy front and centre

From the beginning of the bid stage, it is critical to build your vision of hosting the Games with Legacy in mind. Hosting the Games requires much more than the actual sport competition. You need to have the perspective of what hosting the Games can do for the city, region and country. Clearly articulating the legacy vision and objectives are an integral element to securing and building meaningful partnerships. The community needs to understand the legacy vision and see the value in it. Legacies need to be relevant to the local citizens from grassroots communities to elite athletes. It is critical to involve community organisations in the planning and delivery. Engaging community organisations creates a more inclusive approach and authentic programming and delivery.

Value added through entrepreneurial methods and collaboration

As 2010 Legacies Now evolved, the organisation increasingly embraced the use of entrepreneurial methods and approaches in the pursuit of the organisation’s mandate. Deployed a wide range of entrepreneurial tools to elevate programmes’ impact to a higher level including: Connecting programmes to the 2010 Legacies Now network and helping them obtain credible media attention; Acting as an advisor and coach on strategy, planning and other operational matters; Identifying new revenue streams for programmes; and Guiding groups through the institutional landscape and helping to design ‘cross silo’ solutions that eliminate barriers to elevated impacts.
The entrepreneurial approach was enhanced by collaborations which were a key feature of the 2010 Legacies Now model. Placing emphasis on a collaborative approach and the creation of collaborations to yield increased benefits. Collaborations were pursued in several ways. In some cases, the 2010 Legacies Now role was to introduce new partners or combine partners who do not ordinarily work together. In other situations, the 2010 Legacies Now contribution was to create a productive and trusting environment for partnering, focused on a single agenda – heightened programme impact. 2010 Legacies Now played many roles in creating this productive setting, acting as a mediator or referee, finding common ground and purpose amongst many different views.

Ten strategies for social legacies

Start planning early; develop a multi-year plan
Offer strategic funding for capacity-building, partnership development and sustainability
Provide a variety of resources, including expertise, guidance and management support
Implement measurement process to demonstrate return on investment
Begin planning for post-event operations 18-24 months prior to the event
Recognise the power of the event (brand) and capitalise
Use the closing of the event to launch the next phase of work
Harness lessons and expertise of partners to ensure long-term success
Create a continuum of learning to improve operations and impact
Share successes and impact in both hard numbers and softer stories



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:


Sustainable Sports and Events (SSE) Toolkit

Vancouver, Canada