Port of Vancouver Visitors’ Centre


This reinvention of the Port of Vancouver Visitors’ Centre was a long-overdue success.

Located at the far end of Canada Place Pier, the centre had welcomed visitors from around the world since Expo ’86. Thirty years on, it was time for a serious update, for changing times, changing trade, and a changing Vancouver.

Veteran 3DS partners Waddell & Conder developed the story and designed the multi-purpose space. The Centre’s chief purpose is to showcase the city’s role in world trade, through the port itself and as a major global hub. It also has to double as meeting space for large groups, conferences, and events.

The solution was transformational. Specifically, an interactive display table that transforms into event seating. As a display, the table is an unexpected wonder of tech. Program material is projected onto an “ordinary” Corian table top. When touched, however, the entire surface is touch-responsive, allowing full interactivity with any programmable content – on a grand scale. This technology involves a hidden tracking matrix that allows any surface to become touch sensitive. The effect is breathtaking.

Then, the transformation: for events, the touch surface is turned off and the tables pull apart on invisible tracks, split into multiple sections and lock into place, to become a dramatically-long series of benches. Reading becomes seating; seating becomes reading.


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