Canada Line (to YVR)

Canada Line While not free, for about the price of a cup of coffee, you can ride the beautiful new Canada Line rapid transit system, and head from the downtown Waterfront station all the way to the Vancouver International Airport. Along the way, you will cross the mighty Fraser River and have the opportunity to stop at trendy Oakridge Mall and Cambie Village.

When you arrive at the airport, be sure to visit one of the most beautiful airport observatories found anywhere on the planet. Here is a YouTube video you can watch before you go. We also have a photo of it on our Flickr page.

A number of interactive displays at YVR are available for kids, not to mention all the jumbo 747s that provide "live" entertainment. Located in the public, pre-security area of the Domestic Terminal, Level 4 and free for all visitors, the Public Observation Area is a great place to meet family and friends.

After arriving at YVR, proceed to Departures Level 3 of the Domestic Terminal. The Public Observation Area is located on Level 4 of the Domestic Terminal, above the food court area. Click here for directions from the Waterfront station to the airport. Click here for directions from the Vancouver International Airport to downtown.

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19 Comments

Big time kudos to the people at Skytrain. Excellent organization to keep things moving, safe and well communicated.

Lots of common sense too. One ticket vending machine was being repaired at Granville so it caused a bit of a queue, so they just told everyone in the line go on ahead without paying. Good call!!!

90% of the lineups are about 10-15 minutes no big deal. Had one monster of a line at Main Street that everyone figured was an hour long, turned out it was 20 minutes. All things considered nicely done considered these enormous crowds.

p.s. I don't work for Translink and normally rant on about how crappy they are but credit where credit is due.

Went on the Canada Line and both times waited about 10-15 minutes to get on the train cars; staff was very good and handled the crowds well.

Just so everyone knows: the free family members riding along with monthly passholders only applies on Sundays (and applies to all translink services including buses).

I took the Canada Line yesterday and it was great. At one point, there were a lot of people, but they managed it great. Wait time wasn't long.
added fair is when you buy your ticket from the airport stations. If you have a monthly pass, you dont have to pay anything. Also, if you have a monthly pass you can take your family for free (2 adults& 3 children per pass)
Congrats to the people managing this!

Canada Line freebies at Lansdowne Stn today (on the Richmond spur, not the YVR): Ocean Spray cranberry cocktail (small bottle - the size you'd get from a vending machine) and craisins (snack sized package). Also bibles, which I found kind of iffy (is that really permitted on Translink property? don't freebies have to be okayed?). OS had a big truck and display set up below/behind the platform and I wouldn't be surprised to see them there regularly over the games.

Canada Line stops running at 1:15am, yet we are expected to take public transit to downtown sites? Bars and restaurants are still open at that time. What message is that sending to small business owners as well as local and out-of-town commuters? Hopefully the powers-at-be extend those hours for the Opening Ceremonies and celebrations.

@Sam - The observatory is above the food court in the domestic section. Just follow your nose to the Tim Horton's and take the escalator up.

On more of a down note, you won't be able to see airplanes taking off, nor will you see 747s - you'll get an eyeful of twin propeller and smaller jets taxiing to and from the runway.

Remember, if you wish to leave from the Airport or Depart at the Airport you will need to ADD the YVR rip-off fee of 5 extra dollars to that Skytrain fee!!!!

@Sam. I've been told by officials at the airport that the observatory is very much open leading up to and during the Games. YVR is going to send us further information and some images we can post to our site for you to look at.

When you get to the airport, the observatory is in the domestic section. There is an escalator that anyone from the public can board and it takes you up one floor and directly to the observation area.

That said, check back here later and we'll post the "official" directions on how to get there - once we receive them from the airport. Thanks for your comment.

"When you arrive at the airport, take the kids to one of the most beautiful airport observatories found anywhere on the planet. A number of interactive displays are available for the kids, not to mention all the jumbo 747s that provide "live" entertainment"
I have tried in vain to find a window for watching aircraft arriving and taking off while waiting to collect over-seas visitors... I've been told for security reasons there is no way to see the planes unless you are departing YVR.. so please clarify - where is this observatory? Thanks!

Toronto can only dream of having a fast, direct subway line from their airport to their downtown. Good for you Vancouver ! Well worth the expense to build it, and well worth the fare to ride it.

No mention of the Riverock casino?
I would guess there are going to be some Great Shows there.
If anyone knows if the Brickhouse band has any special gigs, I would love to know about them.
Let it SNOW! ..Please..

From Wonderful Whidbey Island

The YVR Add-fare of $5 will be applied automatically for people buying a ticket at any YVR station and this is in addition to one's normal one, two, or three zone fare. Travel to YVR will remain unchanged.

If you have any sort of pass you are exempt from the YVR add-fare. If you have purchased a ticket to travel to the airport and make your return trip while the transfer is still valid you will be exempt from the YVR add-fare. If you buy a day pass from the YVR ticket machines you will also be exempt from the add-fare. Travel between stations on Sea Island will remain free.

YVR airport authority does not receive the money from the YVR add-fare. Translink included an add-fare of some sort in the project budget and YVR's $300 million dollar investment in the Canada Line paid for everything that was built on Sea Island and they will not be recouping their investment through the add-fare (that's what airport improvement fees are for).

If you have a pre-paid pass like a daypass, monthly farecard or pre-paid faresavers you won't need to pay the add fare.

If one were to take the family to YVR the fare out would seem fair. However, what about the fare back to Vancouver? Will it cost the family the same amount for the ride back?

The surcharge will only be added to cash fares purchased at the airport station not for fares going TO the airport.

If you have a bus pass or by a book of bus tickets, your fare to the airport will not change. Only cash fares to the airport will have the new surcharge added to them.

Dee, this is not true - fares are remaining the same except for travel from stations at YVR. The airport line was paid for in large measure by YVR, and they are adding a surcharge for traveling to/from the airport. It might also be a way to keep face with the taxi companies, who can't really compete with $3 fares.

Is it true the Canada Line fares are going up to almost double? Classy.

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