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Category: Community Events

Let transit get you to your Canada Day events!

Flag in Vanier Park, Vancouver - Courtesy of I am I.A.M.

Flag in Vanier Park, Vancouver – Courtesy of I am I.A.M.

Canada Day is upon us and we want to help you enjoy all of the great celebrations our region has to offer.

Take a look at some of the bigger events and how to get there on transit!

Surrey is celebrating in style this Canada Day!

It’s a great (and free!) day of family fun for all ages – music, face painting, the works!

You’ll find midway games and rides, an expanded kids play area, over 100 exhibitors, live entertainment and a fireworks show in the evening.

My advice? Get there early because they are expecting more than 100,000 people to attend!

This is an easy one to get to. Take the Expo Line to Surrey Central station, hop on the 320 to Langley Centre at Cloverdale park and you’re there!

Where: Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, 17728 64 Avenue, Surrey
When: 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Feeling fishy? The Steveston Community Centre is hosting the 70th Annual Salmon Festival!

You can check out the parade with more than 100 floats, marching bands, celebrities and other personalities who will wind their way down Moncton Street beginning at 10 a.m.

But the real star of the day will be the annual ultimate salmon barbecue — nearly 550 kilograms of BBQ salmon!

Other activities like a vintage car show, craft and food fair, Japanese cultural show and children’s festival will be running throughout the fair grounds including local performers.

Where: 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
When: Breakfast starts at 6:30 a.m., main event begins at 10 a.m.

TransLink is providing a special event shuttle service on Wednesday, transporting passengers from Richmond’s Bridgeport Station to Lord Byng Elementary School in Steveston.

  • Shuttles start at 9 a.m. from Bridgeport Station to Steveston, with return shuttles starting in the afternoon, with the last shuttle leaving at approximately 4:30 p.m. Shuttles may continue later if the demand is great.
  • Lord Byng Elementary School (1 Road and Georgia Street) will be the shuttle’s temporary terminus, with a short walk to the festival site. The terminus may move to 1 Road and Steveston Highway if the area is heavily congested.
  • Additional shuttle service will back up regular service routes (C93, 401, 410) to ensure all customers can get where they’re going on Wednesday. Regular bus routes for the Steveston area will terminate at 1 Road and Steveston Highway due to congestion.
  • The shuttle are three articulated buses that are expected to run approximately every 20 minutes, leaving Bay 3 at Bridgeport Station.
  • The cost is a regular one-zone fare.

If you’re looking for crowds and Canada Day craziness, look no further!It's firework time again!

Canada Day at Canada Place is back for its 28th year.

This is a huge all day event including  live music and dance performances with popular acts and interactive activity zones featuring food carts, street hockey, an armed forces display, Salty’s Fun Zone and a circus show.

After all of that, you can check out the Canada Day Parade at 7:00 p.m. and the Fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

Where: Canada Place, Vancouver
When: 10 a.m. to end of Fireworks

To accommodate Canada Day festivities across the region, there will be extended service on SkyTrain, SeaBus and Canada line.

There will also be increased frequency or minor detours on some routes, including multiple routes in downtown Vancouver and the 135, 160, 209, 210, 211, 240, 246, 250, 250A, 257, 320, C43 and C47.

For other events, take a look at this great list from VanCity Buzz.

Know before you go! Use our Trip Planner to help you on your way to Canada Day fun!

Happy 148th, Canada!

We hope you all enjoy Canada Day!

We hope you all enjoy Canada Day!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh Canada we stand on guard for theeeeeeeeeeeee!!

I do love a good anthem.

Canada Day is this Wednesday, July 1st and there will be tons of activities happening all over the region.

Know before you go! Check out the holiday service schedule for detours and extended service.

Heading downtown Vancouver to see the fireworks at Canada Place?

Avoid those crazy long lines and pre-purchase return tickets for the SkyTrain!

Customers can buy tickets at Vancouver City Centre, Granville, Burrard and Waterfront stations.

Portable fareboxes only accept exact cash fare and tickets are valid until the end of service.

Perhaps you’re more of a Granville Island Canada Day celebrator. If you’re planning to ride your bike there, prepare to feel pampered!

BEST’S Bicycle Valet will be providing cyclists FREE, secure temporary bike storage from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

You can check out more details here.

Wherever you celebrate this great land of ours, let us help you get there!

Plan your route with our Trip Planner or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Remember! On holidays you only need a one-zone fare for the entire system!

My Jane’s Walk experience: A Walking Tour of SE False Creek

Jane's Walk 2015It was a beautiful day on May 3rd when I headed out with my basset hounds to a Jane’s Walk in False Creek.

It WAS a beautiful day, until I ended up in a pond! Ok, that’s the end of the story, let me back up a little.

I hope some of you (or lots of you!) got a chance to participate in this year’s series of walks around Metro Vancouver.

Our leaders for the walk were Sabrina and Ian who work for TransLink and BCRTC, respectively. I have to admit, I didn’t know much about this area of False Creek and Olympic Village area other than, well, the Olympic athletes stayed there. I found out that it is a lovely community with various amenities, interesting public art and a rich history!

We started at Creekside Community Centre. I was tempted to just sit in the sun, enjoying a beverage at Tap & Barrel but we pressed on!

In 1978, False Creek was a mix of railway tracks, lumber mills and factories. That was until BC politicians decided to host a small transportation exhibition called “Transpo ’86″ to sync with the centennial of Vancouver and the 100th anniversary of the transcontinental railway reaching Vancouver.

This teeny little expo exploded into a a world’s fair and what we now look back fondly as just Expo ’86. Just to give you a little perspective, they were expecting a maximum of 14 million people. They got 22 million! SkyTrain is one of the lasting contributions from Expo ’86 along with BC Place stadium, Science World and Canada Place.

Our next stop was Main St-Science World SkyTrain station, currently under construction. This station was the first of many to begin a facelift. As our stations are around 30 years old, it’s about time! It includes the bike parkade, public art, prototype newspaper containment systems, retail and decorative lighting. The final changes will be made to this station in the next few months to be done by the end of this summer.

Just down the path you can see the Pacific Central train station. It houses… guess what? TRAINS! This was built in 1919 for the Canadian National Railway. CN passenger trains were transferred to VIA Rail in 1978. Today, one of the most popular train trips is from here to Seattle.

Just to the North of the station is the property which will become the new site for St. Paul’s Hospital.

The Trans Am Totem by Marcus Bowcott is quite striking to see up close. Until this walk, I had only seen it from the SkyTrain on my way to or from downtown.

It’s part of Vancouver’s “Open Air Museum” from the 3rd Vancouver Biennale exhibition allowing access to all and to hopefully create “unexpected and global inspired cultural experiences where people live, play, work and transit.” This piece, according to the artist, is a metaphor that uncovers an unpleasant darkness in our society while revealing the emotional bankruptcy that results from our dependence on cheap, consumer goods.

You can also see the viaducts from this vantage point and it turns out the Georgia viaduct is for more than just filming the Deadpool movie! Along with the Dunsmuir viaduct, it was opened in 1972 that replaced a structure built from 1913-15.

The update was supposed to create a series of expressways in the downtown core. An idea that didn’t quite come to fruition. However, 43,000 vehicles and 2,000 bicycles use the viaducts every single day.

Hogan’s Alley was the local and unofficial name for Park Lane, an alley that ran through the southwestern corner of Strathcona until the 1960s. Most of the area was destroyed by the 1970s for the construction of the viaducts. Only one landmark of that area still remains and the Jimi Hendrix shrine on the corner of Union and Main. His grandmother lived in Vancouver and Jimi spent many a summer in the area.

Next, we rounded back, passing our origin and continued to Olympic Village Square. Let me tell you, it’s for the birds! No, seriously, have you seen the giant sparrows? Apparently, they are European. C’est bon, es ist toll, es genial, è fantastico! The art is from Myfanwy MacLeod and inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s film, “The Birds.”

Then came the wetlands. Here’s where it all started to go wrong…

So, the park area with yes, wetlands, open green space, children’s playground, dog runs and the continuation of bike and walking paths is unofficially known as Hinge Park. The area is a combination of historical references to the former City Worksyard site with the creation of a naturalized wetland environment.

As I was trying to take a picture of the group, oops! It just slipped and I wasn’t fast enough. Phone. Pond. Ker-plunk!

I didn’t hesitate! I let my country girl roots kick in. Shoes and jewelry off and in I went! Unfortunately, the area closest to the phone’s watery grave was covered in bramble so I had a ways to go actually IN the water. It was cold. It was gross. There were ducks. People stared. You can see the final picture below I got from Sabrina. I suffer for this blog!

BUT! I got my phone, it worked (a modern day miracle) and I saved all the pictures from the day! And thanks to the fruit inspired manufacturer, let’s call them… “Banana,” I got a replacement phone for my rapidly fritzing, waterlogged one.

Because I was rather soggy, I missed the final stop, the Brewery Creek region. Luckily, my colleagues provided me with their notes!

Way, way, back this area was covered in dense, dark rainforest with many indigenous flower and berries used for First Nations medicine and food.

Later on, it was still defined by its landscape, with slaughterhouses, the nearby Vancouver Tannery and breweries including San Francisco Brewery, Mainland Brewery, Landsdowne Brewery, Lion Brewery and the Thorpe & Co. Soda Water Works.

Inspired by hops and barley past, there is a movement for areas call Craft beer urbanism. Yep. It’s a thing! Craft breweries and smaller distilleries and wineries are a part of a still growing trend in urbanism that helps define place making opportunities and local identity.

Last, but certainly not least, was the Salt Building (now home to Craft Beer Market) built in 1930. The original 13,000 square-foot space worked with the Bay Area salt trade in San Francisco where unrefined salt was shipped to Vancouver for processing and extraction. It is one of the last buildings in the area that harkens back to the industrial heyday of Vancouver.

That’s all folks! It was an interesting and enlightening day. I’m very glad, despite what I’m dubbing the new Watergate, I was able to understand more about some of the communities and neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver. Although next time, I’ll have someone else take the photos, or have a wrist strap!

Getting to the 2015 BMO Marathon start line

Starting line

BMO Marathon starting line 2014

How are you getting to the starting line on Sunday?

Whether you are planning to run or cheer on the sidelines, make sure you TravelSmart to the race!

The race begins is in Queen Elizabeth Park and you can get there via the Canada Line Oakridge/41st Station.

Here are some helpful hints for race day:

Canada Line

The first train from Waterfront Station is at 4:48 a.m. and from Richmond Brighouse at 5:02 a.m., and extra trains will be in service until 8:00 a.m.

Portable fare boxes will be set up at Waterfront, Vancouver City-Centre and Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line stations.

Bus

CMBC will provide regular Sunday service and will modify several bus routes at certain times during the day to accommodate the marathon.

Shuttle Bus

Runners who pre-booked a seat on special shuttles to the start line can check departure details on the BMO Vancouver Marathon website.

The early-morning shuttle service leaves from Lougheed Town Centre, Scott Road Station, Lonsdale Quay, Brentwood Mall and Patterson Station.

Cyclists

TransLink’s TravelSmart is sponsoring BEST’s Bicycle Valet, which will offer secure temporary bike storage for up to 120 bikes, free of charge.

The valet will be open from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Bute Street, between Hastings and Cordova so you can park your bike downtown and take the Canada Line to the race.

Good to Know

SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium Lines, West Vancouver Blue Bus and SeaBus will operate their regular Sunday service. There is no Sunday service on the West Coast Express.

 Know before you go! Check our Trip Planner to map out your route.
Sign up for Transit Alerts, follow us on Twitter (@TransLink) or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333.

Jane’s Walk 2015 – See what your community has to offer!

Jane's WalkI posted about Jane’s Walk a little while ago. Don’t remember? Here’s a refresher!

On May 1st to 3rd you can participate in a free Jane’s Walk in the area you live, work or play and discuss what matters to you!

Jane’s Walk helps knit people into strong and resourceful communities.

The festival is inspired by urbanist and author Jane Jacobs – who would be 99 years old this Monday.

She believed in walkable neighbourhoods, urban literacy, and cities planned by and for the people.

Although she was never formally trained as a planner, she wrote one of the most influential books on city planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

There are over 100 cities worldwide hosting their own walks!

So, here’s the NEW news, the following mayors have also agreed to step it up a notch by leading their own Jane’s Walks:

Some Metro Vancouver Councillors have stepped up to the challenge as well:

And more!

  • Former Vancouver City Councillor and SFU City Program Director Gordon Price
  • Former Co-Director of Planning for City of Vancouver Larry Beasley
  • Former Vancouver City Councillor and social activist Ellen Woodsworth

There are so many amazing stories to hear and places to see during this festival.

I encourage you to check out Jane’s Walk, choose your city and pick a walk that’s right for you!

Keep an eye out on social media for some of these hashtags: #janeswalk #janeswalkmetrovancouver #TravelSmart

Get more information at travelsmart.ca and janeswalk.org.

Songs on SkyTrain

A few weeks ago outfitted in bright yellow tees, toothy grins and great attitudes, Coquitlam’s Music for Young Children (MYC) troupe from Place des Arts took to the SkyTrain.

Why? To sing of course!

And not just to commemorate this program’s 35th anniversary, which is wonderful thing to celebrate!

The children along with their teacher Cindy Sletmoen and several parents, were out to raise money for sick kids at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Their original goal with their “Practice Makes Cents” campaign was $10, 000 by May.

Then they upped it to $20, 000 just to challenge themselves.

Did they meet that goal? I’d say so!

The final count won’t be done until May 1st but right now they’re sitting at $37,143$50,859.

They’re adorable, they’re children helping children and they sound great. Enough said.

Take a look at photos from their musical SkyTrain adventure!

CMBC team impresses at the Vancouver Sun Run

Harminder Sun Run

Harminder Sidhu, Operations Supervisor

Ready to feel a bit lazy and completely inspired at the same time?

Over 40,800 runners participated in this year’s annual Vancouver Sun Run, including a team of dedicated Coast Mountain Bus Company employees and family members.

The STC Transit Troopers trained hard and it paid off! The team emerged with first place in the transportation category out of 23 teams!

Harminder Sidhu, Operations Supervisor at Surrey Transit Centre and co-organizer of the team, clocked in at an incredible time of 39:03.

This ranked him 257th overall out of 40,000 people. WOW!!

Harminder is a year-round runner, tracking about 60 to 70km a week.

This is the fourth year a team from our operating companies has participated.

This year, the team was made up of Operators, TComm employees, Transit Supervisors, Mechanics and Operation employees from all around Metro Vancouver.

You can take a look at the entire team’s results below.

Way to go!!
CMBC Sun Run team results

Jane’s Walk: Connecting Communities

Get to your neighbourhood and strengthen your community May 1-3

Get to know your neighbourhood and strengthen your community May 1-3

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”- Jane Jacobs

On May 1st to 3rd you can participate in a free Jane’s Walk in the area you live, work or play and discuss what matters to you!

Jane’s Walk helps knit people into strong and resourceful communities.

The festival is inspired by urbanist and author Jane Jacobs who believed in walkable neighbourhoods, urban literacy, and cities planned by and for the people.

Although she was never formally trained as a planner, she wrote one of the most influential books on city planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Metro Vancouver cities aren’t the only ones participating. There are over 100 cities worldwide hosting their own walks!

Check out a Burnaby Jane’s Walk from last year!

Guess what? YOU can lead a tour, too! Don’t be nervous, you don’t have to be an expert.

Use these simple steps to lead a Jane’s Walk:

      1. Decide what you want to talk about

2. Plan out a route by going for a walk

3. Enter your walk on janeswalk.org

4. Get the word out to friends, neighbours and anyone you might want to attend your walk!

Orientation Sessions

Thursday March 19th
5:30-6:30
Translink - 400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster

Monday March 23
5:30-6:30
Mt Pleasant Library   - #1 Kingsway

Thursday April 16th
5:30-6:30
Mt Pleasant Library - #1 Kingsway

Take a look at some ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • History – Past & Present
  • Health and Happiness
  • Architecture
  • Stroller Walks for Parents and Tots
  • Public Space
  • Family Walks
  • First Nations Heritage
  • Accessibility and Walkability
  • Redevelopment & Urbanization
  • LGBTQ community
  • Live Music Venues
  • Nature in the City
  • Public Art and Theatre
  • Urban Gardens
  • Sports, Recreation & Health
  • Community Development
  • Being a Newcomer in a Community
  • Transportation
  • A Local Literary Tour

So source your stories and talk to your neighbours and local residents. You can even ask them to be a stop on your walk!

You can also head to your trusty local library to absorb a wealth of knowledge about the area and theme you’re interested in.

Walks should be about 1.5 hours with anywhere from 6 to 10 stops along the way.  When planning your walk route, keep accessibility in mind. Such as transit, public washrooms and parking.

Don’t forget to promote your walks on social media using some of these hashtags: #janeswalk #janeswalkmetrovancouver #TravelSmart

Get more information at travelsmart.ca and janeswalk.org.

Pink is the new black on Pink Shirt Day 2015

PNKTAD

Pink Shirt Day is February 25, 2015

Pink Shirt day is about respect. It’s about donning our rose-coloured clothing on February 25th and standing up to bullying in all its forms.

It all started with two Nova Scotia high school boys in 2007. They saw bullying of a younger, new student when he wore pink to school on the first day of classes. The older boys protested his harassment by convincing dozens of classmates to wear pink in solidarity and the event has snowballed in the best possible way! You can read about the original movement here.

Australia, The United States and The United Kingdom have all adopted their own anti-bullying days. The dates and the locations may change, but the message stays the same: We will not tolerate bullying behaviour in our schools, workplaces, communities or on transit.

TransLink is committed to this cause on and off the system. To show our support for anti-bullying efforts, you may see our Transit Police Officers, SkyTrain attendants and other uniformed staff wearing the Pink Shirt Day button and even some Transit Operators sporting some pink hues on buses around Metro Vancouver.

Come on out to CKNW Orphans’ Fund’s Pink Shirt Day event at London Drugs Plaza (Granville & Georgia Street) on Wednesday morning to meet Transit Police Chief Neil Dubord. He will be there to help spread the word about what TransLink is doing to deter bullying on the system and show support for anti-bullying efforts.

Looking for more ways to support Pink Shirt Day? Check out pinkshirtday.ca for a list of locations selling buttons and businesses holding fundraisers with proceeds going straight to Pink Shirt Day. On Twitter, follow @pinkshirtday and #PinkShirtDay.

 

 

Open House for New Westminster Station on January 28, 2015

Here's whats coming up at New Westminster Station!

Here’s whats coming up at New Westminster Station!

We’re inviting you to attend an open house to learn about the station design, construction plan and project timeline for the upgrades coming to New Westminster Station.

New Westminster Station Open House

Date: January 28, 2015
Time: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: New Westminster Station, ticket vending level between CIBC and Tim Hortons

Get involved online

Can’t make it to one of the sessions? No problem! We will also have information and a feedback survey posted at translink.ca/newwestminster. Feedback will be accepted between January 28 and February 11.

We hope to hear from you soon! Oh, and we’ll be posting more info about upgrades at New Westminster Station soon.

5 Transit trips to make this weekend

Cambie and Broadway

The forecast is in, and it’s looking like grey sky and rain for this weekend. Don’t let the gloomy weather stop you from getting out and enjoying all that Metro Vancouver has to offer. Here’s a quick list of five fun transit accessible activities to get you out of the house.

1. TravelSmart to the Art - Show your validated TransLink fare and receive a discounted admission to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

2. Dine Out Vancouver Festival – Check out Canada’s largest food and drink festival. With over 277 restaurants participating, there’s something for everyone with many restaurants located on, or just off the SkyTrain line!

3. Ice Skate at Robson Square – This free (fee for skate & helmet rental if required) activity is located just steps away from Expo/Millennium and Canada Line stations. Psst! Robson Square is also steps away from the Vancouver Art Gallery! Why not make a day of it by doing both!?

4. Gluten Free Expo – Located at the Vancouver Convention Centre East, just steps from Waterfront Station (terminus for the SeaBus, West Coast Express, Expo/Millennium, and Canada Lines) this event is the perfect opportunity to discover, sample, and save on hundreds of gluten free products.

5. Hot Chocolate Festival – Get your chocolate fix at the 5th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. Twenty-four different venues and 57 different flavours! Check out the website for a walking map to assist you in getting around.

Know before you go!

Use the Trip Planner to check your route and schedule times prior to leaving. The information noted here is subject to change. For the latest and most up-to-date information, bookmark translink.ca on your mobile device so you can know on the go. Customer Information can be reached at 604.953.3333 or tweet us @TransLink.

 

Are you planning on taking transit to an event this weekend? Comment below and let us know where you’re headed!

TravelSmart to the Art! January 12 – February 13, 2015

TravelSmart to the Art photo

Vancouver has no shortage of diverse events and activities to experience at any given time. Now, thanks to a partnership between Travel Smart and the Vancouver Art Gallery you can TravelSmart to the Art to your event calendar!

By taking any mode of public transit to the Vancouver Art Gallery between January 12 – February 13, 2015, you will receive a discounted Gallery admission ticket and a beautiful, limited edition Emily Carr poster!

To take advantage of this offer, show your validated TransLink single fare transfer, FareSaver, Monthly Pass or Compass Card at the Gallery ticket desk to receive your discounted ticket. Discount is tiered depending on which fare media was used to travel.

Regular Fare Tickets: The discount amount will be equal to the exact the cost of the customer’s transit ticket (1 zone – $2.75, 2 zone – $4, 3 zone – $5.50).
DayPass: $5.50 off admission.
Monthly Pass/Compass Card: $3 off admission.
West Coast Express tickets: $3 off admission.

How to get to the Vancouver Art Gallery?

SkyTrain:

  • Take the Canada Line to Vancouver City Centre Station
  • Take the Millennium or Expo lines to Granville Station

Bus:

  • Take the 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, 50, 240, 241, 242, 246, 247, 250, 253, 254 or the 257 to the bus stop at Howe and Georgia.

For more information check out the TravelSmart Blog, and follow on Twitter & Facebook  

 

How will you TravelSmart to the Art? Leave a comment below telling us how you’ll get to the VAG.

Vancouver Technical Secondary students show appreciation to our operators again in 2014 with hot chocolate!

One of our operators receive a hot chocolate and a hug with holiday treats from Van Tech students

One of our operators receive a hot chocolate and a mug with holiday treats from Van Tech students

It was a rainy Friday morning and by the time 8:35 am bell rang to mark the start of classes, the students were wet and there wasn’t much left of their ‘Happy Holidays’ signs, but that didn’t put a damper on their Christmas spirits! The students braved the rain for over an hour and a half to sing Christmas carols and show appreciation to our bus operators.

For the past 18 years, in December, students at Vancouver Technical Secondary have been giving out hot chocolate and a little gift to each mid-morning bus operator that stops in-front of the high school. (You’ll want to read our post in 2012 for a backgrounder on the event.)

The goodies mug students were handing out along with hot chocolate!

The goodies mug students were handing out along with hot chocolate!

Terry Stanway, the teacher-sponsor for the event the past few years, arrived at the school just before 6 am to prepare for the day.

“Today, started as a day to recognize the service that TransLink, particularly the drivers along the Broadway corridor, provides to our students,” he explains. “The school’s catchment is long and narrow and it expands from Boundary to just about Science World.

“We have a lot of students that depend on transit to get to school. It’s just the one day in the year that we can recognize the roles bus drivers play in getting our kids to school.”

The event is open to any interested students and despite the early start, many showed up to show their appreciation to the operators!

Kyle Hui, a grade 9 student, tells me he arrived just after 6:30 am to help out with today’s event and he says it wasn’t a challenge for him to wake up at all.

Grade 10 student Christine Tam adds, “I usually don’t wake up this early, but it was fun because all my friends were here and we got to do things for the community.”

Kyle Hui - Grade 9, Arlene Nguyen - Grade 10, Frederick Heere - Grade 10 and Christine Tran - Grade 10

Kyle, Arlene, Frederick and Christine

Each day, 418,000 people take TransLink transit to get where they need to go and on average, there are over 620,000 boardings on buses each day in Metro Vancouver.

“I think they do a really important job because the elderly and also people like us – we can’t drive yet,” says Frederick Heere, also in Grade 10. “They play the important role of getting us around town because if they weren’t there and our parents can’t take us, then we are stuck.”

Arlene Nguyen, another Grade 10 student, and Christine tell me they really appreciate the bus operators because they are always so nice.

“They always greet you when come on the bus,” says Arlene. “We always say ‘thank you’ when we exit the bus.”

Christine adds, “I was finished this competition and I had a trophy. He asked me, ‘Oh, what was that for?’ and I said my skating competition. He said, ‘Oh, good job! You got third! Good job!’”

“It was so heart warming because he actually cared about me and what I did.”

Plans are already in motion for the 2015 edition of event and I’m told some kind of major celebration is planned for the 20th anniversary in 2016!

Five Christmas things to do this weekend – Dec 12 to 14, 2014

The Christmas season is in full swing! Santa Claus is now at malls around Metro Vancouver and surely you’ve started your Christmas shopping. The Reindeer Bus and Community Shuttle are spreading the holiday cheer for the entire month of December.

If you aren’t already, here are five Christmas things to do this weekend to get you into the Christmas spirit!

West Coast Express Santa TrainThe West Coast Express Santa Train runs once more this Saturday, December 13!

In exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the train.

The train departs Mission at 10 am and stops at all WCE stations before arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 11:15 am. The train makes its return trip from Waterfront at 4 pm.

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau.

Holidays with Scuba Claus at Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Vancouver Aquarium

Scuba Claus is back for his annual visit at the expanded Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.

Enjoy the return of nostalgic memories as you rediscover the wonders of the electric eel-powered holiday tree. Hop on board a 4-D theatre adventure of THE POLAR EXPRESS and get swept away to the North Pole through an exhilarating sensory experience of wondrous sights, sounds and more.

The event runs until Christmas Eve.

Get there by taking transit! The Vancouver Aquarium is located inside Stanley Park, so just take the 19 Stanley Park bus there.

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Head down to the Bright Nights Train and Plaza at Stanley Park and immerse yourself in three million twinkling lights. It is open until Sunday, January 4 and is closed on Christmas Day.

Entrance to the Bright Nights Train Plaza to see the holiday lights is by donation and will be accepted at the front gate. A minimum $4 donation is suggested.

Admission to ride the train is $11 for adults and $8 for seniors (65 years old or older) and children & youth (3 – 17 years old). Purchase your tickets online in advance at TicketLeader.ca.

Partial proceeds benefit the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. Over the past 16 years, $1.4 million has been raised.

For full hours of operation and more information, visit the City of Vancouver website. Get there by taking the 19 Stanley Park bus.

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum

The illuminated displays are back at the Burnaby Village Museum this holiday season for Heritage Christmas!

Bring your cameras for a photo opportunity with Father Christmas and an old-fashioned sleigh. Enjoy daily entertainment from theatre and marionette performances, choirs and musicians to craft for children, storytelling sessions and baking in the Farmhouse!

Heritage Christmas is open now until January 2, 2015. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 9 pm – until December 12. Then it’s daily from 1 pm to 9 pm (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) until it closes. Admission is free and carousel rides are $2.50.

The 123 New Westminster / Brentwood Station and 144 SFU / Metrotown Station both stop right outside the Burnaby Village Museum.

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is transformed into the North Pole for the holiday season. See the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village, visit Santa’s Workshop for a photo opportunity, meet Santa’s reindeer, embark on a mountaintop sleigh ride (weather permitting), and go for some outdoor ice skating!

Peak of Christmas runs until Christmas Eve. Admission is $41.95 for adults (19 to 64 years old), $37.95 for seniors (65 years old and up), $23.95 for youth (13 to 18 years old) and $13.95 for child (five to 12 years old). A family pass for two adults and two children/youth is available for $109.95.

Catch the 236 Grouse Mountain from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and take the scenic SkyRide from the base of the mountain to get to the Peak of Christmas!

Vancouver Christmas Market

The annual Vancouver Christmas Market is back for a fifth year! Find a mix of traditional food and beverages, as well a selection of authentic wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery, and other unique gifts. Stop off at the special children’s area, the Kid’s Market, to make Christmas gifts and ride downtown Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel.

The market is open daily until December 24 from 11 am to 9 pm at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza, 650 Hamilton Street in downtown Vancouver. Admission starts at $7 for adults, $6 for seniors over 60 years of age, $3 for youth between the ages of seven and 12 and is free for kids up to six years old. You can purchase your tickets in advance online!

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the market is easily accessible by transit! It’s located a block away from Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station and many bus routes stop nearby including the 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16, 17, 50, 240, 246 and 257.

Know of any other awesome Christmas activities that start this upcoming weekend? Let your fellow Buzzer readers know in the comments section! 

Ride the West Coast Express 2014 Santa Trains on Dec 6 and 13, 2014

Meet Santa and have egg nog at the North Pole Station!

Meet Santa and have egg nog at the North Pole Station!

Ride the Santa Train on December 6 and 13! It’s an annual tradition and a great kick-off to the holiday season. What makes the Santa Trains special is in exchange for a new unwrapped toy, you get a ticket to ride the train!

All donations support the Northeast sector Christmas Bureau – including SHARE in the Tri-Cities, the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society and the Christmas Bureau in Mission.

The train departs Mission at 10 am and stops at all WCE stations before arriving at Waterfront Station at approximately 11:15 am. Santa will be at Waterfront Station between 3 pm and 4 pm for pictures and egg nog! The train makes its return trip from Waterfront at 4 pm.

In 2013, there were over 3,000 riders on the Santa Train and together they generously donated nearly 3,500 toys!

Station Westbound
Arrival Time
Eastbound
Arrival Time
Mission 10:00 am 5:15 pm
Port Haney 10:19 am 4:54 pm
Maple Meadows 10:25 am 4:48 pm
Pitt Meadows 10:29 am 4:44 pm
Port Coquitlam 10:39 am 4:34 pm
Coquitlam 10:45 am 4:29 pm
Port Moody 10:50 am 4:24 pm
Waterfront 11:15 am 4:00 pm