Canada Line opens on Monday, stations are getting a final scrub. Globe and Mail photo.
It's the hottest ticket in town, but predictably cars on the Canada Line for the most part are empty. I am pleased to say I've been able to ride the entire length of the Canada Line today, and I firmly believe that Metro Vancouver transit users and those who regularly transport themselves on this north/south corridor will not be disappointed. It's a beautiful system.
For about a year I've been planning to keep a promise to my dear Aunty. She's 91-years old and when you're that age, there's not a lot to keep you invigorated. Sadly, my aunty forgets a lot these days. I fear the day she doesn't remember who I am. So does she.
My Aunty lives just one block from Cambie Street near City Hall in a modest 2-bedroom condo. For the last several years her life has revolved closely around her immediate community. The construction of the Canada Line for her was a minor imposition, but I wished that she could have the honour of riding the train before most others.
She was the oldest of five sisters, one of ten siblings raised on an Alberta farm by parents who emigrated from Europe. My Aunty had two children and her husband ran a business in Calgary before moving to the Fraser Valley to start a small farm. When my uncle died too young from cancer, eventually my Aunty moved to the Cambie area.
I can say without any intended hyperbole, my Aunty and her ilk built this country. Which is why I sought to arrange a ride for her on Canada Line today. When you're in your nineties however, just leaving the house requires all the will you can muster. Regrettably, today would not be the day for her to ride.
At 1pm I met a Canada Line representative at the new King Edward station, without my relative but packing an HD video camera. We headed underground and we didn't have to wait long for the sound of an oncoming train. The exhilarating warm rush of air came down the tunnel as the roar of the cars increased. The headlights appear and the stainless steel cars swooshed past the platform before coming to a stop.
We entered the car at the front of the line which was empty except for Canada Line CEO Jane Bird, a fellow Canada Line exec and urban affairs writer Frances Bula, who wrote her own post about the line today. What a surprise to be in the company of so many bigwigs!
I recorded all the stations on the entire length of the line from Waterfront station to Richmond, including both legs of the line (YVR and Richmond/Brighouse). My host was someone who has worked on the project for six years, and was involved in designing the track system. The conversation we had that day was friendly and informative, and I'm extremely grateful for today's experience.
As there is a covenant on releasing video of the line until Monday, I am respecting Translink's wishes and not showing my recordings until then. We hope to accompany the images with a more comprehensive visual look at the line with some initial analysis of the urban planning challenges facing the line and its prospects for future success.
So come back on Monday to CityCaucus.com. See our HD video presentation and weigh in with your own views on this significant new Metro Vancouver transportation infrastructure.
In the meantime, read the Vancouver Sun's Canada Line primer page, and take the CityCaucus.com Poll: Do you think that Canada Line can attain its ridership goals within the next decade?