Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

SkyTrain’s Canada Line celebrates 13th anniversary

SkyTrain’s Canada Line celebrates 13th anniversary

The Canada Line officially opened on August 17, 2009 and like the SkyTrain projects that came before it, the Canada Line has been transformative for the region.

The Canada Line connects downtown Vancouver with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Richmond City Centre in less than 25 minutes, making Metro Vancouver unique among cities in Canada and the United States as one of the few with a direct rapid transit connection between its airport and downtown.

On opening day, thousands of people lined up for hours to be one of the first to board the newest addition to the SkyTrain network. People were eager to collect their stamps for their commemorative Opening Day Boarding Pass by riding the SkyTrain line for a chance to win prizes.

The first train carrying its first passengers left at 1 p.m. from Waterfront Station and within the first five hours, the Canada Line had already carried 54,000 people!

Premier Gordon Campbell, Minister Stockwell Day, and many other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the Canada Line at YVR-Airport Station, August 17, 2009.
Then B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and then Canada’s Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day, joined by stakeholders

Over the course of construction, the tunnel boring machine removed more than 200,000 cubic metres of rock from South False Creek all the way to Waterfront Station.

Throughout the underground portion of the Canada Line, the tunnels mostly run side-by-side except between King Edward and Broadway–City Hall stations, where they are stacked one on top of the other. In the elevated sections, more than 2,000 pre-cast concrete segments were strung together using a launching girder between tunnel portals near Marine Drive, Richmond–Brighouse, and YVR–Airport stations.

"Canada Line construction No 3 Road at Sea Island Way by Stephen Rees is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Canada Line construction No 3 Road at Sea Island Way by Stephen Rees is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

The Expo Line’s SkyBridge was the first structure of its kind in the world built exclusively for transit use. The Canada Line meant building another transit-only bridge to cross the Fraser River and we built the first-ever extradosed bridge built in North America,  a bridge  specially designed that is both a cantilevered and cable-stayed bridge.

A Canada Line train on the North Arm Bridge.

The best is yet to come

In the coming years, SkyTrain will roll into new neighbourhoods further transforming the way Metro Vancouver moves throughout the region.

The province is currently building the Broadway Subway Project to extend the Millennium Line from VCC–Clark Station to Arbutus Station, which will be located at Broadway and Arbutus Street. The Surrey Langley SkyTrain Project is also underway to extend the Expo Line an additional 16 kilometres into the City of Langley.

Transport 2050, the current regional transportation strategy, also envisions quadrupling the size of the rapid transit network — from 100 to 400 kilometres. The Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities outlines developing approximately 170 kilometres of new rapid transit on up to 11 corridors, including:

    • Up to nine Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes using new zero-emission buses on dedicated, traffic-separated lanes
    • A rapid transit connection to the North Shore
    • The Burnaby Mountain Gondola to SFU
    • The Millennium Line SkyTrain extension from Arbutus to UBC

So happy anniversary Canada Line! Here’s to many more years of continued service.


Sorry, your website browser is no longer supported.

Upgrade to one of these browsers to visit