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178 days to go – The Canada Line is OPEN!

August 17, 2009

And was it ever a busy day, both on the rails and for me!  Started at YVR airport at a near run, trying to be on time for the official opening of the Canada Line.  Didn’t help that I circled around the media check in before I found it.  But I made it, just as speeches were starting and got to go on the first official Canada Line journey from YVR to Waterfront and back.

Politicos at Waterfront Station for the Canada Line Opening

Politicos at Waterfront Station for the Canada Line Opening

I am not sure that sounds profound or exciting in itself but for me it was a true thrill!  The Canada Line is running and I was on the first official train!  Only about 10 feet (but many bodies) away from politicos including Premier Gordon Campbell, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Stockwell Day, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, VANOC CEO John Furlong and scads of other Metro Vancouver Mayors, Councillors, MLA’s, MP’s.  I got to spend some time talking to Richmond Councillor Bill McNulty (saw him Friday at the new bridge opening) and to Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart.  Mayor Stewart was great to chat with and let me know that Maillardville in Coquitlam will be hosting a French celebration.  I will post on that when I know more information.

The Inaugural Ride, yes, that is John Furlong behind me!

The Inaugural Ride, yes, that is John Furlong and Gregor Robertson behind me!

Back to today’s activities.  As I mentioned, it was busy.  All sixteen of the new stations were open with activities planned at most of them.  Richmond-Brighouse Station had a traditional Chinese Lion Dance and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  At King Edward the Cambie Village Business Association was giving out coupon-books and reusable grocery bags.  At YVR-Airport they were giving out temporary tattoos of planes or pilot wings at the new Public Observation Area (very cool, open to anyone who wants to visit, but if you’re already at the airport, go!).  They were also giving out popsicles near the Jade Canoe as well as other activities.  I started my Canada Line tour at YVR, but found out later that the Vancouver 2010 Mascots were there, and I missed them again!  Drat!

A new double-sided totem pole at YVR.  All sorts of new art here.  Go take a look around!

A new double-sided totem pole at YVR. All sorts of new art here. Go take a look around!

From the airport I aimed to visit all of the ‘Passport’ stations starting in Richmond.  The ‘Passports’ were small booklets very much like a Canadian passport.  Eleven of the stations had stamps to fill in your passport with.  If you collected more than eight stamps you could enter for prizes (this contest is open until the end of the week, visit ShoptheLine to find out where the stamps are now, passports may not be available though).  The Grand Prize is valued at over $4000!

A quick stop at Bridgeport Station (near River Rock casino, they had showgirls and Elvis!) was followed by the end of the line at Richmond-Brighouse Station.  This is where mayhem reined!  Apparently some people waited for three hours to get on the Canada Line here!  I considered it (for a microsecond) and then walked to the next station.  Lansdowne wasn’t much better (looked like two hours to me), so a stamp in my passport and a reusable shopping bag and I was off again!  I was walking more of the Canada Line than I was riding at his point!  Luckily the line at the Aberdeen Station was only about 40 minutes (I was starting to be concerned that I’d be walking to downtown!).  Once on the train at Aberdeen though the trip went much more smoothly.  I visited Langara-49th Avenue, Oakridge-41st Avenue, King Edward, Broadway-City Hall, Olympic Village, Yaletown-Roundhouse, Vancouver City Centre and Waterfront!  Told you I was busy, and yes, I did get all eleven stamps in my passport (plus one bonus stamp, just for fun!).

The line at Aberdeen Station

The line at Aberdeen Station

How was the day overall?  I loved it.  It was really fabulous!  The ride is smooth and quick (lineups will not be normal).  Starting tomorrow morning regular fares will apply.  So from downtown Vancouver to the YVR airport or anywhere in Richmond it will be $3.75.  After January 1st though the price will go up to $6.25 for trips to the airport.  If you’re not quite familiar with the Canada Line and need some time to make your transit adjustments, don’t worry, the buses affected are not supposed to be re-routed until September 7th.

If you find yourself in the area, hop on the new Canada Line and see something new in Vancouver or Richmond!  I think you’ll find it worth your time!  I have to go book a flight 😉  Talk to you tomorrow.  Thank you and merci!

Some of my stamps!

Some of my stamps!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. elspeth permalink
    August 18, 2009 8:02 am

    Hi there Andrea,
    Sounds like one busy day!
    I just love your blog. It’s so readable and informative and professional. I think you have found yet another metier.

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      August 18, 2009 10:48 pm

      Thanks E! You are my Gibraltar.

  2. Jodi permalink
    August 18, 2009 9:39 am

    Love the blog! My first time using/visiting one. Great stories.
    Keep up the good work – you are getting me excited about the Games!

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      August 18, 2009 10:47 pm

      Thanks Jodi! I’m glad your first blog experience is a good one! I hope you have time to keep reading. I will endeavour to keep it interesting!

  3. Erin permalink
    August 18, 2009 8:06 pm

    I am so glad that you took the ride, heehee I was impatiently waiting for you to blog about it too.

    I had been involved with cambie street cut and cover material placement QA since 2005 both through Lafarge and Golder, and it really is a treat to see the fruit of everyone’s hard labors. As I type, some coworkers are finishing up asphalt/concrete testing on the last few station parking lots. From reviewing a fledgling project tender and hopping onto 0530h barges of fresh cover bound for vancouver in 05, to hot nights compacting asphalt briquettes and cranking out grainsize analyses in 06-08, this line produced alot of blood and sweat over the years.

    Thank you for quintessentially capturing this crowning moment in Vancouver, for those like me who could not make it.

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      August 18, 2009 10:46 pm

      Wow, thanks Erin! Gosh, it is so easy to forget how many people were involved in the building of the Canada Line! Really, it has touched thousands of people in so many ways.

      I would like to make special mention of Andrew Slobodian, a contractor who died during the building of the Canada Line. My thoughts are with his family, friends and co-workers.

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