ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Friday fun post: favourite Canada Line station?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the Canada Line station poll!

Answer to last week’s post: what those SeaBus tokens are

Back side of the SeaBus token

Back side of the SeaBus token

Two weeks ago I asked you what these 1979 gold SeaBus tokens were.

A big thanks to Derek Cheung, Rob Chew,, John Wollenzin, and the folks at SeaBus again for providing us with the answer!

These tokens were used in the original SeaBus ticket machines, launched in 1977 at the start of service and kept around until SkyTrain launched in late 1985. Here’s how John described it:

The tickets were very low tech indeed. Essentially, you fed the machine coins and it made an impression of the coin on the ticket itself. The tokens allowed you to pay your fare quickly with a single coin and end up with a nice small ticket with a single coin imprint. As you can imagine, if you put a lot of coins into the machine, you could get a long ticket! That paper used was a primitive type of thermal paper that did not stand up well to time. Anybody who has an original ticket in their collection would have had to take careful steps to preserve it all these years.

The original SeaBus ticket machine.

The original SeaBus ticket machine.

The very kind Rob Chew sent in a picture of the machine, scanned from page 129 of Transit in British Columbia: The First Hundred Years by Brian Kelly.

However, you could use coins in the machines, and longtime SeaBus staff could only vaguely remember why we had these tokens in particular.

I vaguely remember there was talk that passengers could buy them from retailers and use them in the old Video-Mat ticket machines we had. The hope was that they’d catch on and there would then be less wear and tear on the machines. Needless to say, they never caught on! All the employees were given a “Commemorative Set.”

This week: what’s your favourite Canada Line station?

Back to polls for the first week of Canada Line operation!

This seemed appropriate since we just launched the Canada Line. Feel free to explain why you like a particular station in the comments!


  • By Dennis, August 21, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

    I like the glass-partitioned overhead walkway at Broadway looking down on the trains.

  • By John, August 21, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

    It’s really unfortunate that more of the underground stations don’t make use of “volume” from the excavation, like Broadway does. The Olympic Village station has a high ceiling, but only on the northbound platform — there are windows overlooking the platform from the concourse.

    I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of all of the stations, which can be found at

  • By Ryan, August 21, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

    I like Sea Island station not only because it’s convenient for work, but when you approach it, it looks like an airplane with it’s wings spread out across the 2 roads.

  • By Shane, August 22, 2009 @ 1:25 am

    I like YVR with the artwork that was just installed this week. I also like how it is lit up at night.

    In Vancouver, I like Broadway with the open concourse looking out to the trains.

  • By Josh, August 22, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

    I like Templeton the most because it’s so quiet there. It’s also one of the most aesthetically pleasing stations on the line. It’s also a great place for shooting pictures of planes landing :)

  • By David Arthur, August 22, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

    From a purely architectural point of view, I’d have to agree about Sea Island Centre’s imitation of a classic flying boat sitting across the road. As working stations, Broadway-City Hall and the two-track elevated stations look pretty good, but some of the other Vancouver stations are a bit underbuilt for my taste.

  • By Stefan, August 22, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

    I have to say that while all the stations are nice, none of them (that I’ve seen from up close) really stands out as terribly impressive. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by the lavish, expensive-looking Millennium Line stations, which were a departure from the much more utilitarian Expo Line stations.

    Broadway-City Hall probably looks the closest to a big city subway station, with the overhead walkway others have mentioned—but is otherwise devoid of anything…just long, wide, empty passageways like the other underground stations, where there could be shops, coffee bars, or other things that give life to some of the older stations.

    I was disappointed the first time I exited the train at Vancouver City Centre. The excavation space had seemed enormous, and naively, I was expecting some multi-level thing with shops and whatnot. Instead, there were just long, empty passageways, and access to the two malls—closed at the time—then the street-level exit, and that was it.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, August 22, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

    I don’t really have a favourite station yet, but Sea Island Centre looks visually appealing from the outside, and I love the look of YVR-Airport from the inside.

    Brideport Station is great because aircraft frequently descend overhead so if you want to do some aircraft spotting up close without going to Sea Island, you can do so at Bridgeport.

  • By cree, August 22, 2009 @ 11:59 pm

    I like Yaletown-Roundhouse on the basis of the simplicity of the exterior of the station (not too extravagant), and how it’s nicely nestled in the heart of Yaletown itself so seamlessly.

    It seems that for the underground stations, too much thought was put on the exterior and left the interior just completely boring and barren– especially Van City Ctr and Bway City Hall.

  • By kenc, August 23, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

    Broadway-City Hall is my favourite underground station, while YVR-Airport is my favourite elevated station.

    They really need more ticket vending machines for virtually ALL the stations in Vancouver and Richmond. And I mean a lot more. For instnace, there were lines of 20 people the other day waiting to use the three ticket vending machines at Vancouver City Centre. There are similar lines along the entire route of the Canada Line. And for some reason, these new machines go out of service quite often…which doesn’t help the lineup problem at all.

  • By David, August 23, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

    I recently returned from vacation and haven’t had a chance to try the line yet, but I don’t think there’s a long term shortage of ticket machines. I believe there are a lot of people trying out the new line right now, people who won’t be regular users in the future.

    Based on my experience on SkyTrain, a majority of passengers will arrive by bus and therefore already have a valid fare. I believe a fairly high percentage of transit passengers currently use passes or FareSavers meaning they won’t need to buy tickets either.

  • By Rvie, August 23, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    I have to agree with most of the underground stations–they look AND feel so empty and hollow to me. They should really be spiced up and have more pizzazz.

    Overall my favourite station on the Line is Broadway-City Hall. Just having a double-heighted ceiling for this station makes it look like it really is a station. =)

  • By Sungsu, August 23, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

    Tip for the airport: The 7-Eleven there sells FareSaver tickets, which then need only be validated.

  • By Stefan, August 23, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    Well, I rode the YVR branch for the first time today, and up close, I have to say I liked Templeton Station, with the glass atrium above the tracks….

  • By John, August 24, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

    Vancouver City Centre *definitely* needs more ticket machines. It’s only got three machines, compared to Burrard and Granville Stations on the Expo line which each have 8-10.

    Every time I’ve been to Vancouver City Centre station, I’ve observed crowds waiting in line by the ticket machines. Usually there’s at least a couple of people who wait, intending to pay, but end up growing impatient and riding without paying.

  • By JC, August 24, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

    Is it just me, or are all the subway station portion of the Canada line already has reached max capacity on the platforms? It so small, and what’s with only one escalator going up? Expo Line seems to have more bells and whistles.

    Is it me, or do all the underground stations smell musky, and humid? Where’s the ventilation — or are there mold/mildew growing in those tunnels already?

    I think the $2 Billion or whatever the line cost is grossly small now that we’ve seen the product… and where’s the fancy LED maps on these trains? So much for “Be part of the plan for 2040”, we’ll need to expand the platform capacity in a year or so.

  • By cree, August 24, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

    There should be a blog entry, something along the lines of “How would you change the Canada Line?” a la Engadget. (I have found a few things along the line that are sorely missing, as well as some additions needed)

    @JC, expand the platform in a year?! The platforms should’ve been twice the length (or more) upon opening–same goes for the trains, but that’s for another topic.

  • By ;-), August 25, 2009 @ 6:25 am

    @JC: I too think we are going to be a full capacity during for September. But only time will tell. I think the best thing we can do is when the opening crunch comes is just all ride the CLine like a flash mob flood to bring the ridership statistics up. This might also be a way to preserve some routes to catch the CLine overflow as their current plan is to eliminate suburban diesels entering Vancouver.

  • By kobe, August 25, 2009 @ 11:31 am

    I REALLY love the station ceiling in the Waterfront Station.

  • By Wingo, August 26, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    I wish they had used some wood in the underground stations like they did in the elevated stations to warm things up.

  • By Jim, August 28, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

    I totally agree with the station issue as they are too small and have too little a space to stand and insufficient escalators for the number of people using the line. I know Translink is changing to smart cards in the future but I totally agree with everyone that additional ticket machines are needed as the line ups are extra long even during none peak periods.

    Just a thought I would say to JC that the LCD maps are only on the new Skytrain cars for the millenium/expo lines and are not on the new Canada line. Although I wish they would have included them on the line though. I think they are cool and helpful.

  • By Mike, August 29, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

    I would rate them as follows: 1) Airport, 2) Waterfront 3) Broadway.

    But why are the stations all the same decor? It seems very unoriginal. And why the big blank outdoor concrete walls, for example at King Edward and Langara?

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.