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Blog › March 2010




Standing 1231 metres (4,039 feet) above the city, the Eye of the Wind has married wind technology with tourism by introducing the world’s first elevator-accessed viewPOD™.  Beginning with this wind turbine Grouse Mountain is striving to become energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2020.

 From the viewPOD™ the 360 degree view is spectacular. On a clear day you can see southeast to snow-capped Mount Baker and Mount Rainier and, to the north their sister mountain, Mount Garibaldi.  All three are part of the still-volcanic Cascade Range. To the west and southwest lie Vancouver Island, the Gulf Island, the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains.







Overall height:                   65 metres / 215 feet

Weight:                            133,946 kg / 285,300 lbs / 145 tons


Diameter:                         7 metres / 23 feet

Height:                             5.5 metres / 18 feet

Weight:                            13,600 kg / 30,000 lbs, 15 tons

Capacity:                          36 people

Framework:                    Structural steel and glass

Glass:                              Tempered: 2.5 cm / .5 inches thick

Viewing Area:                  360 degrees


Capacity:                          7 people per passage

Speed:                             1.6 metres per second

Travel time:                      25 seconds


Output:                                    1.5 megawatt

Cut-in wind speed:              2.7 metres per second

Cut-out wind speed:            25 metres per second

Output capacity per year:    Enough energy to supply power to                                    400 average Canadian homes                     


Blades:                                   5,530 kg / 12,200 lbs each

                                                 27.3 metres / 122 feet long

Sweep area of blades:        4,657 square metres / 28,400 sq. ft.

Blade material:                     Fibreglass reinforced polyester

Speed of blades at tip:        300 km / 186 miles per hour



Some key construction milestones:

 Foundation Assembly:  the foundation of the structure was the first construction phase for the Eye of the Wind.  The foundation is a 2 metre (6.56 ft) high, 8 metre (26.25 ft) wide hexagonal concrete base with anchors imbedded deep into the bedrock, some as deep as 15 (49.21 ft) metre.

Wind Turbine Blade Transportation:  The most logistically complex task was the transportation of the three 37.3 (122.37 ft) metre long blades which journeyed via freighter from Europe to the Fraser Surrey Docks.  The blades were transferred to barge and tugged to Indian Arm.  Finally, a giant Sky Crane helicopter air-lifted the blades to the Peak of Grouse Mountain.

Tower Section Transportation:  The wind turbine tower was manufactured in Washington State in three sections.  Each section is close to 20 metres (65.6 ft) long and made from structural steel weighing up to 45,000 kg (99,208 lbs) per section.  The tower sections were transported via special low-bed trailers along expressways and city roads and finally navigated at a walking pace up Grouse Mountain’s winding 13 km (8 miles) back road.

viewPOD™ Assembly:  The custom viewPOD™ was designed and manufactured in France.  It was transported by freighter to the east coast of Canada and rode a train to Vancouver.  This steel and glass capsule was assembled on the ground before being lifted into place.

Crane Assembly:  To prepare for construction the LR1280 crane had to be brought to the project site via 17 separate truck loads.  It was assembled on the ground, alongside what would become The Eye of the Wind, over a period of three days.  This monster crane is able to lift 300 tons and has a 90 metre boom.

Structure Erection:  The assembly of the structure took place over three days in September 2009.  Each component was individually lifted by the crane and then bolted into place.  The three tower sections were lifted first, followed by the viewPOD™, the wind turbine machine carrier, the generator and finally the blades.  The blades were pre-assembled to the centering hub and lifted as one unit.

 Post Construction Work:  the months following construction saw the installation of the elevator inside the tower and the completion of the electrical components of the project.  These steps transformed The Eye of the Wind from a collection of parts to a highly animated, fully-functioning natural attraction.




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Home sales activity strong through Olympic period


The Greater Vancouver housing market continued to experience strong demand from homebuyers and an increase in total property listings in a month where the eyes of the world were focused on the region.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,473 in February 2010, an increase of 67.1 per cent compared to February 2009 when 1,480 sales were recorded and a 28.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,923 sales recorded in January 2010.

More broadly, last month’s sales totals marked a 7.6 per cent decline compared to the 2,676 sales recorded in February 2008 and were 13.5 per cent behind February 2007 when 2,859 residential sales were recorded on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver.

Over the last 12 months, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 19.7 per cent to $581,911 from $486,054 in February 2009. This price is 2.4 per cent above the previous high point in the market in May 2008 when the residential benchmark price sat at $568,411.

 “We don’t know at this point what long-term impact the Olympics will have on our housing market, but we do know that activity in our market remained steady through all of the excitement and distraction of the last few weeks,” Scott Russell, REBGV president said.

“In February, for example, 110 sales were recorded on the MLS® in downtown Vancouver. That’s higher than 2009 and slightly lower than the mid-2000s, which is consistent with data from the overall market. It’s too soon to say whether that’s an Olympic effect,” Russell said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,606 in February 2010. This represents a 17.6 per cent increase compared to February 2009 when 3,916 new units were listed, and a 10.5 per cent decrease compared to January 2010 when 5,147 properties were listed on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver.

At 11,346, the total number of property listings on the MLS® increased 11 per cent in February compared to last month and declined 21 per cent from this time last year.

“Two months into 2010, we see the total number of homes listed for sale on the rise and demand in the market strong, but less frenzied than we saw in the latter part of 2009,” Russell said.

Sales of detached properties increased 67.5 per cent in February 2010 to 983 from the 587 detached sales recorded during the same period in 2009. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties increased 22.5 per cent from February 2009 to $800,796.

Sales of apartment properties in February 2010 increased 65.2 per cent to 1,074 compared to 650 sales in February 2009. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 17.3 per cent from February 2009 to $390,899.

Attached property sales in February 2010 are up 71.2 per cent to 416, compared with the 243 sales in February 2009. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 16.2 per cent between Februarys 2009 and 2010 to $495,496.

2010-02_NorthVancouver_HPI_10-Year-Trend_Graph copy2010-02_WestVancouver_HPI_10-Year-Trend_Graph copy