Photo Credit: IAMJOHNYOO Photography


Answers to UBC Boathouse Frequently Asked Questions

The Rental

What are the rental rates and fees associated with making a booking at the UBC Boathouse?
The UBC Boathouse philosophy is based on the belief that planning events with should be a seamless and enjoyable process. To ensure this, one of our values is transparency which means that we are committed to providing all the fees associated with events up front so that no one is surprised at any point in the process. See our Rental Rates online at https://ubcboathouse.com/event-hall-facility-rental/event-hall-rental-rates/


Are we required to pay the SOCAN and ReSound fee and what is it?

Yes, by law we are required to charge the SOCAN and Resound music taxes. If you are playing music of any kind, the charge is $46 + tax. If you are playing music of any kind and dancing, the charge is $92 + tax.

SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (not for profit music licensing company dedicated to obtaining fair compensation for artists and record companies) require that users of music obtain SOCAN/ReSound licenses to perform or authorize others to perform music in public. The required license fee for an event with music will be charged based on the guidelines set out by SOCAN, ReSound and the Copyright Act of Canada.


Do we have to obtain special event insurance?
Yes. We require that you hold special event insurance for your event whether this is purchased with your booking through us or through your own insurance provider. A 5 million coverage is required. The rate is determined by the type of event, guest number, and whether alcohol is served.


Is the special event insurance different from the insurance that our caterer holds?
Yes, it is completely different. The insurance that your caterer holds is relative to their company. The special event insurance protects you.


What is the payment schedule for my event?
Upon booking a non-refundable deposit is required ($500 for a 5-hour rental or $1000 for an 8-hour rental) to secure the date.

The remaining balance and refundable $600 damage deposit is due by 30 days prior to your event date. Visa, MasterCard, cash or cheque are accepted up until this point. Less than 30 days prior to the event date, Visa, MasterCard or cash are accepted.

The $600 refundable damage deposit is to be refunded within two weeks following your event date to your credit card.


What is the cancellation policy?
Cancellations must be made in writing to the Facility Manager. If the rental is cancelled more than 30 days prior to the rental date, the non-refundable deposit is to be forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 30 days prior to the event date the full balance is owed.

We have generous 60-day holds on your favourite date with no deposit required. If you are not fully decided on your booking, we recommend placing a hold rather than firmly booking the date.


What rooms and spaces are included in the event hall rental?

The Event Hall Rental includes exclusive use of the event hall, adjoining waterfront patio, kitchen and lockable boardroom. Public areas of the building include shared usage of washrooms, lockable change rooms and docks (dock access for pre-booked event components as approved by the Facility Manager).


What is included in the venue rental?
The UBC Boathouse provides one full set up and one full take down of all venue tables and chairs, removal of sorted waste and the janitorial clean.
Any floor plan transitions during the event requires additional helpers (recommend: catering service staff, decor teams or designated volunteers from your party).

Tables and Chairs
[10] 8 foot rectangular tables (30” x 96” x 29” height)
[15] 6 foot rectangular tables (30” x 72” x 29” height)
[07]   4 foot rectangular tables (25” x 48” x 30” height)
[21] 60” diameter round tables (29” tall) seats up to 8 people comfortably
[14] 30” diameter round tables (either 42” tall or 30” tall)
[180] white resin folding chairs indoors and outdoors

All venue tables should be dressed. Linens can be rented through your own vendor.

Audio Visual Equipment (event hall only)
[1] HDTV screen (connection via HDMI or VGA cable, provided)
[1] Ceiling mounted projector and screen (connection via HDMI or VGA cable, provided)
[1] Corded microphone with stand
[1] Built in sound system
[1] Multi disc CD player
[1] Aux-cord connection

[1] Fridge
[1] Freezer
[2] Commercial Convection Ovens (half cookie sheet in size, for appie warming)
[1] microwave
Waste sorting bins for all waste and recycling

[2] stainless steel coat racks (holds approximately 100 coats)
[1] set of lounge furniture for use in the event hall, on adjoining patio (weather permitting) or removed
[1] UBC Boathouse Venue Coordinator for the duration of your rental
(Facility lead during your event in charge of health & safety and caring for the venue)


Does the rental include table linens?
No. Table linens are not included due to the variety in style choice that may be desired.


What time can I host my event?
The 5-hour or 8-hour rental block can sit anywhere in the day that you choose and additional hours may be added to extend the block in advance. Additional hours are billed at the additional hour rate. The booked rental block is to be inclusive of time needed for set up and tear down by you party and your vendors.

Within your rental block, a minimum of 2 hours should be reserved for vendor load in and set up prior to guest arrival and a minimum of 1 hour for tear down and load out after guest departure.


How late can I book the event hall until?
As the location does not fall within noise restriction the rental may continue as late as 3:00 AM.


What if my event goes longer than what I booked?
Additional hours on the day of your event will be billed at double the posted hourly rate and require approval from the Venue Coordinator. We highly recommend planning enough time in your rental to avoid this occurring on the day. We are happy to assist with timeline creation.

Are we ever able to come early to drop off products or to set up for our event?
If any additional time is required before your event to set up, you must pre-arrange this with the Facility Manager in advance. You will be billed per hour for additional time. Please refer to the Rental Rates to determine your additional hour rate. In the vast majority of cases, set up the day before or take down the day after is never permitted due to regular usage of the facility.


Can we leave product here to be picked up the next day?
No. All of your product and any items that you bring into the UBC Boathouse for your event MUST be cleared out by the end of your rental block. This allows the janitorial team to clean during the night and have the building ready for rent for the next day. We are a multi-use facility and do not have storage available on-site.


Can we add on additional rental items or extra facility products (such as the 8’x12’ pop up tent or white linens) the night of our function?
It is recommended that all additional rental items be reserved and paid for in full before your rental in order to ensure that they are available for your event. The UBC Boathouse does not guarantee the availability of rental items that have not been pre-paid, however, if the items you require are available, we will happily supply them for your event and deduct the rental fee from your damage deposit.


Can we bring tents to the venue?
Any tenting must be booked exclusively through the UBC Boathouse. Large tents for outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour or full patio coverage can only be pre-booked a minimum of 30 days prior and are subject to availability. These tents are subject to dock availability and are non-refundable to reserve. Inquire for current tent pricing, options and availability.


The Venue

What is the capacity of the Event Hall space?
The Event Hall can hold 150 people for a sit down function and up to 185 for a standing cocktail style function. Please note that 190 is our fire capacity and thus is the maximum number of people allowed in the space including all guests, service staff etc.


What are the dimensions of the Event Hall? 44′ by 66′
What are the dimensions of the Patio? 8′ by 44′.


Do we have exclusive use of the entire facility during our rental booking?
Your event will have exclusive access to the event hall and waterfront patio, kitchen and boardroom. The common areas are the dock, washrooms and change rooms which may be shared by the rowers.


Can we have a wedding ceremony or a function down on the dock?
The dock is complimentary for pre-approved photos, ceremonies and standing cocktail receptions, but is subject to availability around the rowing and paddling program schedules. The historical schedule can be provided at the time of booking but the dock time may not be confirmed until 4 months prior to your rental date when program schedules are confirmed.

Please note the dock area is a public rowing and paddling space and is a shared space. Prior to sending out invitations or finalizing your event timeline, please submit your desired ceremony and cocktail hour begin times to the Facility Manager for approval. Please be aware that the dock time availability is not guaranteed and must be worked around the public programming up to 4 months in advance to your rental date.


What time does the dock close?
The dock is available for the pre-approved times that you have confirmed with the Facility Manager. No glassware or china is permitted down on the docks, as this is an athlete area.

The dock is a beautiful setting to capture intimate photos during sunset. Please request in advance if you would like to go down with your photographer and a small bridal party group to capture these moments.


What if there is poor weather on my wedding day?
Please keep in mind that we can experience wind on the water and weather is never guaranteed. A Plan B floor plan must be decided on in advance for your event date. The decision for Plan A or Plan B floor plan based on weather is made with your main contact on the day of your event when the hourly forecast is available. We will contact your designated main contact to make this decision.

If there are weather conditions making the patio or dock unsafe, such as snow or ice, the Plan B floor plan would be implemented for that portion of your event. The patios and docks cannot be salted due to the damage it causes to concrete and the floating nature of the venue.


Will there be rowers on-site during my event?
There may be rowers and paddlers on-site utilizing the shared areas during your event (the dock and washroom area). Athletes are very respectful of the events in progress and are experienced in sharing the space with events and do so for many events per year. Your event supports athlete development at local, national, international and Olympic levels of rowing.

While guests are on-site, athletes predominantly use the alternate ramp entrance into the facility or onto the dock than where your guests are and are respectful when using the shared washroom area. If boats are on the water for programs during your ceremony the boats will be scheduled to return after your pre-booked ceremony window. In this case, please ensure your ceremony is running on time. Boats may return to the dock during your cocktail reception and athletes will dutifully slip their boats into the boat bays as to not interrupt your guests’ enjoyment of the environment.


Do we have access to both of the outdoor patios?
No. The patio adjoining the event hall is available for use throughout the duration of your event. The second patio space (past the washrooms and offices) will be off limits to your guests.


Are there washrooms onsite at the UBC Boathouse?
Yes. There is a women’s (five stall) washroom and a men’s (double stall and double urinal) washroom. Each washroom has four sinks and two hand dryers.


Is there AV available on the dock?
Boat bays make up the dock level of the building for rowing shell and rowing equipment storage; therefore, there is no house AV system on the dock level. It is required that you bring your own sound system, microphone system or extension cords for your outdoor activities. Power is available on the dock via the boat bays for your speaker system to plug into. The Venue Coordinator will supply your vendors with access to plug into power.

Note: DJ’s or live bands should bring their own speaker systems for all venue spaces.


Catering + Alcohol 

Do you have preferred caterers?
Yes! The UBC Boathouse has a Preferred Catering list with a selection of full service caterers that range in price point and style in order to offer you diverse options for your event. These caterers receive exceptional reviews annually from our couples and know the venue well in order to execute your event seamlessly.

If you choose a preferred caterer, the $600 galley fee is waived.


Can I bring my own caterer?
Should you wish to bring in outside food or a non-preferred caterer, please submit the company name to the Facility Manager for approval prior to booking with that caterer. The caterer must schedule a site-visit at the UBC Boathouse a minimum of 30 days prior to your event, to review the facilities, policies and their cook plan. A copy of their insurance must be submitted prior to your event.

The $600 galley fee applies to your rental.


Who buses the tables to clear the plate ware, glassware, etc.?
The busing of tables is the responsibility of your party, most renters choose to have their caterers oversee this duty. At the rental block end, please ensure that tables are left fully clear and ready for the Venue Coordinator to collapse.

It is highly recommended that catering service staff are hired until the very end of your event in order to oversee this as it is a time consuming duty. Should you choose not to hire catering service staff to stay until the end, please submit the names of the individuals responsible for this duty prior to your event day.


Who is responsible for removing waste and recycling from the venue?
The UBC Boathouse is on the City of Richmond’s waste sorting system as per their bylaw. The venue provides city bins to your caterer and bartender to use. You and/or your caterer are responsible for ensuring all waste is put into the provided bins and sorted correctly during service. The venue will ensure the sorted bins are removed from the venue from there.

Please be aware that if waste is not sorted as per the City bylaw, a fine may result.


Can my caterer cook on the upper patio or dock?
No. These are not approved cooking locations. If your caterer is cooking on-site, there is a designated area on the dike way where they can set up their pop-up kitchen. The caterer must bring their own tent for above the cook area for food safe requirements, tarp to protect the plaza from grease stains or damage, and their own tables. Venue tables are not permitted on the dike way for cook station purposes. Power is available for this location if needed.


Can I bring my own alcohol?
Yes! You must obtain a single-day Special Event Permit online and forward a copy to us before your event day. This allows you to purchase your own alcohol. A SIR or SES is required to apply: https://specialevents.bcldb.com/

You also must hire a licensed bartender to serve for the duration of your event. No self-serve stations are permitted as per the liquor laws. Our preferred bartenders provide great service options for bartending. These bartenders are: Straight Up Bar, Lavish Liquid Bar, and Bartendo.

Alternatively, if your full-service caterer is licensed to obtain the Special Event Permit for you, they can take care of this entire process for you.


The Booking Process

Can I hold a date while I decide?
Yes! We allow a 60-day courtesy hold on your favourite date. This hold ensures that for your 60-days you have first right of refusal to choose to book the venue should another renter be interested in booking the date. In order to place a hold, we need two full contact names, phone numbers and emails.


What if I want to book a date that has a courtesy hold by another renter?
You can challenge their hold. If you are ready to firmly book the date with a non-refundable deposit, inform us that you are ready to challenge the hold. When a hold is challenged, the renters with the hold are contacted and will have 24 hours first right of refusal to book or release the date. Should the holder release the date, the date would be yours to book.


How do I book the venue?
We are excited that you are ready to book! At this point, you should have already contacted our office to confirm that the date you are interested in is available and that your capacity works well in our space.

If you have a hold on the date or the date you are wanting to book is available, submit the Event Hall Booking form. This form will trigger a contract to be created for your review. A non-refundable deposit will be due to secure the date and a signed contract to be sent in to the Facility Manager.


When do I confirm my ceremony and cocktail hour time for the dock?
To host your ceremony or cocktail hour on the dock, please submit your desired ceremony and cocktail hour start times to the Facility Manager for approval and confirmation, a maximum of 4 months prior to your event date (and prior to sending your formal guest invitations) when the program schedules are firm. The dock is a shared space with registered rowing and paddling programs and your desired time may need to be slightly adjusted in order to avoid conflict with rowing program schedules.


When do we complete the Viewing Appointment?
Please book your 1-hour Viewing Appointment a minimum of 30-90 days prior to your event date. Your appointment will include drafting your floor plan, finalizing your timeline, and reviewing your full vendors list. Please invite your caterer or any other key vendors. You should have an idea of your final guest number prior to this appointment.

After your appointment, floor plans will be digitized to-scale and emailed to you for your review and so that you can share with your vendors.


Can I book a wedding ceremony rehearsal?
Lead by your officiant or wedding planner, gather with your wedding party and family to rehearse the finer details of your ceremony.

You are welcome to pencil in a Rehearsal for your wedding ceremony with the UBC Boathouse 60 days prior to your wedding date; however, the Rehearsal is not confirmed until two weeks prior. Please contact us to confirm your Rehearsal time two weeks in advance. Rehearsals are not guaranteed, as they are booked based on UBC Boathouse event hall and dock availability. Rehearsals are complementary if during UBC Boathouse business hours (subject to change at any time) and can be booked for a maximum of 1 hour; otherwise, they may be booked at $150/hour.


The Finer Details

Does the UBC Boathouse have a list of preferred vendors?
Yes! Our preferred vendors are all listed on our website. These vendors receive exceptional reviews annually from our previous renters and know the venue well. They are prepared to execute your unique event flawlessly.

Our preferred vendors list is not exclusive and you are welcome to bring in other vendors you love. The $600 galley fee is waived only if you book a preferred caterer, this fee does not apply to other vendor categories.


Do I need an Event Planner?
This is up to you and part of your ability to customize your event at the UBC Boathouse! We do highly recommend hiring a wedding or event planner/day-of-coordinator if you would like the finer details of your day taken care of. A planner/coordinator would represent you and your vision and wants for your event and be responsible for executing this flawlessly. This is a great option if you are not wanting family or friends to be involved in the behind the scenes on the day.


If we do not hire an Event Planner, who executes these details on my event day?
This is up to you! An individual from your group that has been involved in your planning and doesn’t mind being involved in the behind the scenes on the event day would be recommended.

We do require a main contact to be designated to represent you and your wants on your event day. This is the person we will check-in with throughout the event, contact to decide Plan A vs. Plan B weather decisions and do a final walk-through at the end of the rental. If you have hired a planner/coordinator this responsibility can be designated to this person if they are on-site for the entire duration of your event; alternatively, if you chose not to hire a planner/coordinator please designate an individual from your party that is willing to take this responsibility on.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the main contact is aware of their duties.


Is the UBC Boathouse Venue Coordinator different than an Event Planner/Coordinator?
Yes. The UBC Boathouse Venue Coordinator is the facility lead on-site responsible for health & safety and ensuring the facilities are functioning and facility policies are followed during your event. We do not provide wedding or event coordination services. If you would like someone to execute your unique details please inquire with our recommended event planners.


How do we set the room up?
The room is yours to set up however you desire as long as walkways are maintained and guests have room to safely navigate the space. Please take a look on our website for a few different room set up options. We will help you to create a customized floor plan that will best meet the needs of your event at your 1-hour Viewing Appointment 30-90 days prior to your event.


Does the lounge furniture have to stay in the event hall?
The lounge furniture can be placed on the patio adjacent to the event hall or it can be removed for you entirely.


Can we put chairs, tables and or the lounge furniture out on the patio?
If there is no rain, this is definitely an option for you.


Who is responsible for floor plan transitions during my event?
If your floor plan requires transitions during your event, the UBC Boathouse Venue Coordinator will lead and participate in the transition, but assistance for your catering team or other pre-designated helpers will be required. Please provide the names of those individuals prior to your event date.


Can we bring in a DJ or live band?
Yes! We highly encourage you to book a DJ or live band. We do also have a list of preferred music vendors. Music vendors must bring their own equipment. Any table or chair needs can be fulfilled with venue product in your floor plan.


Where can we park?
Parking is available on both sides of River Road, the 3 Hour Parking signs do not apply during your event. We also share the Navy league parking to the right of the Boathouse. You may park there if it is empty. Do not park in the adjacent business parking lots as you will be towed! No vehicles are to be parked on the dike path in front of the UBC Boathouse at any time.


Can we drive up onto the dike way for product unloading and reloading?
Yes in the LOADING ZONE. Your vendors may drive up the dike way for active loading or unloading of their products for a MAX of 15 minutes. NO stopping or idling on the dike path is permitted as this is a park trail used by many pedestrians and cyclists.

Vehicles must be on the interlocking brick plaza, in the loading zone next to the playground, facing River Road. There is room for 4 regular vehicles at a time. Should the area be full, vendors must wait until others move their vehicle to the street. Please do not pull into undesignated areas including the cook area or UBC trailer area. Any damage will result in a portion of the damage deposit being retained.

Only one catering vehicle is permitted to remain on the dike way for the duration of the event. All other vehicles must be moved to the street for the duration of the event. This is city property, so please be diligent in following these guidelines.


Is the UBC Boathouse wheelchair accessible?
Yes! The UBC Boathouse is wheelchair accessible. A guest using a wheelchair that is driving themselves may drive up to the dike way and park on the event plaza level closest to the playground. Please note that parking is very limited on the dike and needs to be prearranged. When a guest using a wheelchair is being dropped off, the dike way may also be used as a drop off location outside our main ramp gates. The driver of the vehicle must then park on the roadside and will of course be permitted to drive up on the dike following the event to pick guests up.

The dock space is also wheelchair accessible. The second ramp leads straight to the docks, however, if the incline is too steep due to the tides, the main ramp can be used to access the lift within the facility. The manual lift is operated by our staff member onsite.

In order to be best prepared, it is always helpful to let us know in advance if access for individuals utilizing mobility aids will be needed for your event. This will help us to ensure that we inform any other vendors arriving for your event to keep clear of the parking area on the dike way as well as to ensure that our staff are ready and waiting to operate the lift as needed.


Can we have food and drinks on the dock?
Yes! All drinks must be served in plastic cups, no glass or china products are permitted on the docks. The dock space must be cleaned entirely of all food and garbage by the end of your event. Bins are available on-site for your party or caterer to utilize.


How do we transport AV or musical equipment into the building?
If musical instruments or AV equipment needs to be brought into the Boathouse, the unloading and loading policy applies.


Where can guests go if they want to smoke?
Smoking is permitted only on street level (the gravel shoulder along River Road) and a 25 metre distance away from the playground.

The UBC Boathouse is a smoke free facility and is situated in Richmond’s Fraser River dike way which is a designated smoke free park trail. The smoke free areas include inside the facility, the patios, the docks and the dike way park trail. All cigarette, vaping and other devices or substances fall into this guideline.


Can we have a slideshow?
Yes, you may use our projector and screen at no extra cost. Please be aware that a VGA or HDMI connection is required on your laptop/computer in order to connect to our system (cords provided). Slideshows may appear very faint when projected onto our screen on a bright day.


Who will play my slideshow?
The Venue Coordinator will assist in connecting your device to our projector and/or Smart TV. Please designate an individual from your party to operate your personal laptop device.


Who handles the troubleshooting of AV?
The UBC Boathouse ensures that the projector, screen, Smart TV and one corded microphone are in good operating condition for each event and the UBC Boathouse Venue Coordinator will provide the HDMI or VGA cords for connecting your device to our system.

If any issues arise, we have found that because laptop technology is frequently changing and varies by make or model, we cannot guarantee compatibility with our projector system. It is highly recommended that your laptop that will be used is tested prior to your event date and again prior to guests arriving to-site to ensure it is operational. Please arrange for any adaptors or dongles required to connect to our HDMI or VGA cords.

An AV technician is not provided within the event hall rental. If you require a professional AV technician for your event, we recommend Focus Audio and Visual.


Are we allowed animals in the building?
Yes! You may have a domesticated pet in the building as long as it is potty trained and you take full responsibility for any damages incurred by the animal. Please inform the event team prior to your event date about which pet you are bringing on-site and the name of the person responsible for caring for them. Please note that farm animals are not permitted.


Can we cover the patio space or rent heat lamps for out there?
We have one white 8’x12’ pop-up tent that is for rent at $80.00. This tents is not walled. Should you wish to rent a proper tent to cover the entire patio, let us know and we can provide you with a price quote a minimum of 30 days prior to your event date. Yes, you can rent heat lamps for the patio through your rentals company or if you rent a full tent we can arrange for them for you.



Are there any decor restrictions?
If you have questions regarding your unique decor or event elements, reach out! We are happy to have a conversation about your vision and assist with finding creative solutions during your planning process.

Real candles are okay as long as they are dripless or contained to prevent wax drips or spills.

  • No tape, sticky substance of any kind, tacs, nails, staples are permitted on any surface including the windows, walls, floors, art or venue product (tables and chairs). Items such as string lights or lanterns may be hung from the lamp cages in the event hall or from the support beam.
  • No confetti, glitter, real flower petals, fake snow, rice or similar items are permitted to be sprinkled on the tables or floors. As an alternative to real flower petals for your ceremony aisle, we recommend the synthetic (fake) flower petals to be used as the colour doesn’t run. Please ensure you have a designated person to pick up the petals following the ceremony.
  • No bubble or smoke machines indoors.
  • No items may be released into the Fraser River or into the sky from our premise.

Furniture may be brought into the venue as long as these items have felt bottoms to prevent scratching or marking on the floors.

The UBC Boathouse reserves the right to deny any decor or event elements that put the facility or guest safety at risk.


Can we have candles in the event hall?
Yes! Please use dripless candles, or have your candles in a holder or vase of some kind to prevent wax drips or spills.


Can we pipe and drape to cover any wall in the event hall?
Absolutely! Pipe and drape is a great way to make the space unique.

Please note, if you plan to pipe and drape the East wall where the Thunderbird carving is mounted, this will mean the projector screen can only be used if you open the drapes as the screen is flat to the wall.

In order to cover the carving, 19ft in length x 8ft in height are needed.
In order to cover the entire East wall, 40ft in length x 12ft in height are needed.