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Trip 004 - August 17, 2009 (Monday)

Canada Line Skytrain Opening Day

in Vancouver (and Richmond & YVR airport).

Liked: Spacious trains.

Of note: Trips from the airport will require a surcharge, compared to the trips to Richmond and Vancouver. However, considering how much it costs to depart from the airport by cab, this is a small price to pay.

Related Website: The Canada Line - Official Site.


If you live in Metro Vancouver, you know how difficult it was to make a decision to build this Canada Line Skytrain from downtown Vancouver to Richmond and Vancouver International Airport. Today, all the doubts have been (hopefully) put to rest. This is a very important addition to the transit needs of our region, and, while one might argue that Skytrain is just as badly needed elsewhere, let us enjoy Canada Line and the easy access it now provides to the airport and downtown Vancouver.

Canada Line is great news for all the motorists in Metro Vancouver as well. The more people ride the Line as opposed to driving, the fewer vehicles we have on our roads, the fewer traffic jams and wasted gas for those of us who keep driving.

We decided to board the train at the Marine Drive station at the South end of Vancouver, and ride to the airport. At YVR, we checked out the new airfield observation area, and then rode Canada Line back to the Marine Drive station. When Canada Line opened to the public at 1 PM, the line-up at the Marine Drive station was about 400 people strong, but the stations were not too crowded. On the way back the trains were packed. Today was the only free of charge day for Canada Line, but if close to this many people would ride it, Canada Line would do fine.

1. Canada Line was supposed to be finished by Labour Day, but it opened ahead of time, much to the relief of the long-suffering Cambie Street merchants, many of whom sustained serious financial losses when the customers stopped coming due to the tunnel construction along the street.

Cambie Street Vancouver BC Canada

2. Here we are at the Marine Drive station in Vancouver, waiting for Canada Line to open.

Canada Line Marine Drive Station Vancouver BC

3. The train is arriving.

Marine Drive Station - Canada Line

4. The passengers are boarding the train. Lots of space on the trip to the airport just after 1 PM.

Inside Canada Line Train photo

5. Canada Line track and the approaching train as seen through the photo camera of another customer.

Canada Line track picture

6. Approaching Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The control tower is on the left, and Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel is seen on the right.

Vancouver International Airport

7. A large crowd was standing at the YVR-Airport Canada Line station, and waiting for the train. TV and plenty of photo cameras were capturing the moment.

Canada Line passengers at YVR-Airport station

8. Eager passengers boarded the train, and it started going back to Vancouver, with Waterfront Station being its final destination.

Canada Line Train photo

9. Here is the YVR-Airport station, as seen from some distance.

YVR-Airport station

10. And now a closer look (from the other side). The station is connected to the airport, and it is a short trip to the airport building after leaving the train.

Canada Line YVR-Airport station Richmond British Columbia Canada

11. We are now en route to the new airfield observation area at the Vancouver International Airport. It takes about five minutes to get there from the YVR-Airport station, which is a terminus station for the airport spur of Canada Line. Note a volunteer holding a sign directing people to the observation area. There were quite a few volunteers helping passengers on this opening day.

Inside Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

12. This is the observation area. There are free telescopes to look through (the boy in a green and white striped shirt is doing just that). The note on the telescopes warns not to look at the sun, so parents beware! There is a flight simulator video game at the observation area, as well as plenty of tables to enjoy a meal or just relax.

Vancouver International Airport observation area

13. As far as what to see at the observation area, you would mostly have to be satisfied with looking at taxiing planes. Takeoffs can be partially seen on the left side of the observation area, but nothing as dramatic as the planes taking off or landing right in front of you. Pilots, take note that the telescopes from the observation area make it very easy to look directly into the cockpit.

YVR airfield

14. After enjoying a giveaway drink by Vitamin Water (thank you), it is time to go back. The crowds have become substantial by this time (around 2:30 PM), but the line was moving fairly fast. The trains leave YVR every 8 minutes during peak hours, and there is an information display at the station showing when the next train is coming.

YVR-Airport station line-up

15. Speaking of the train...here it is! Note a Canada Line attendant wearing a green polo shirt, as opposed to blue shirts worn by Skytrain attendants at the Expo and Millennium lines.

YVR-Airport Canada Line station Richmond BC Canada

16. Very crowded.

Crowded Canada Line train

17. But it now takes only 16 minutes to get from Marine Drive to the Waterfront station.

Canada Line advertisement board

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Other Trips in Vancouver Area:

Vancouver Stanley Park Visit


Vancouver Maritime Museum


Vancouver Seawall Visit



Admiralty Trail Hike



ihikebc.com Trip 004 - Canada Line Skytrain Opening Day (Metro Vancouver BC)