Parq Vancouver Casino opens to crowds

$600 million casino drew massive crowd for late-night opening

Parq Vancouver complex includes two hotels but its 72,000-square-foot casino is proving the big draw | Photo: Christopher Morris 

Within 30 minutes of the 11 p.m. opening of the Parq Vancouver casino on Friday, September 29, the Vancouver Fire Department ordered its main Beatty Street entrance closed because of over capacity.

“It is nuts,” complained Kevan O’Brien, one of several latecomers denied entry to the two-level, 72,000-square foot casino next to BC Place Stadium. O’Brien noted that crowds streaming out of a Coldplay concert at the stadium likely helped to boost the Parq’s opening crush.

But Marion Harper Treskin, general manager of the Parq Vancouver Marriott hotels, was not surprised by the late-night lineup of gamers. “When the other parts of town are going to sleep, that’s when we come to life,” she said.

And, she noted, the Parq complex is much more than a 24-hour casino.

Parq Vancouver, the largest private development in B.C., is bookended by two new hotels – Western Canada’s first JW Marriott and The Douglas, a boutique Marriott Autograph collection hotel. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-crafted JW has 329 guest rooms, including 44 suites and three luxury suites as well as a two-floor villa. The Douglas includes 188 rooms and suites.

The two hotels buttress shared common areas, including 60,000 square feet of meeting venues, which Harper Treskin touted as unparalleled in the city. The six floors between the two hotels – which insiders call “the podium” – include the two-storey casino, the lobbies of the two hotels, the convention level and an array of restaurants and lounges.

The Parq grand, Vancouver’s largest hotel ballroom – almost 16,000-square-feet, accommodating 1,800 people – is the centerpiece of 23 meeting spaces. In addition a 30,000-square-foot park on the sixth floor connects visually to the city skyline.

“This is a monumental moment,” Parq Vancouver president Joe Brunini had told a crowd of media and speakers earlier in the day, which included Paragon Gaming co-founders Scott Menke and Diana Bennett.

“Vancouver is on a world stage, an international stage, and so we had to come up with the right vision,” explained Menke, who conceived Parq Vancouver more than 10 years ago. 

The Parq’s extravagant, chandelier-hung gaming floors replace the Edgewater Casino, formerly located in the Plaza of Nations. Parq Vancouver also includes eight restaurants and lounges under the guidance of Vegas restaurateur Elizabeth Blau and Canadian chef Kim Canteenwalla.