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Visiting Historic Pacific Central Station, Vancouver, British Columbia: Imposing Beaux-Arts Structure Opened in 1919

Updated on February 4, 2020
Provincial flag of British Columbia
Provincial flag of British Columbia | Source
Railway station Pacific Central, in Vancouver, Canada
Railway station Pacific Central, in Vancouver, Canada | Source
Pacific Central Station in Vancouver
Pacific Central Station in Vancouver | Source

Hard to miss, hard to forget, redolent of a past era of grand rail travel

Opened in 1919, Vancouver's massive fronted Pacific Central Station is executed in Beaux-Arts style. For generations it has been a well-known terminus for rail travellers arriving from eastern Canada and from Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

The work was the responsibility of the Pratt and Ross architectural partnership (1).

Pacific Central Station was initially called False Creek Station, from the nearby Pacific inlet. It has for years been known as a Canadian National Railways / VIA Rail facility (2).

Features of the structure include a massive, broken pediment at the main entrance block, complemented by a huge, Syrian arch beneath, and several Doric pillars; all at the Station Street elevation. These features are .thus redolent of a past era of grand rail travel

Especially before the days of frequent air links, the building offered — and still does — a grand start to the thousands of kilometres of rail travel for passengers bound for large urban centres of eastern Canada. For newcomers by rail to Vancouver, with the sight of Pacific inlet waters just a short distance from its entrance, the Station's grand lines, with the Rockies visible in the background, have long offered a truly memorable first impression. Although the Trans-Canada rail route is not used to remotely the extent that it was many decades ago, a past sense of memorable grandeur has certainly been retained at this building, which is included in the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

The station is also used by Greyhound Bus Lines, with their extensive network.

Pacific Central Station is located at 1150 Station Street, Vancouver, British Columbia.

February 5, 2020

Notes

(1) Other works by Ralph Benjamin Pratt (1872-1950), of the Pratt and Ross partnership from 1906, include many railroad stations across Canada, and the Prince Edward Hotel, Brandon, Manitoba.

(2) VIA Rail also provides extensive service to Waterfront Station, the former Canadian Pacific facility in West Codova Street, Vancouver. The closest station to Pacific Central Station is the nearby Main Street-Science World Station served by the SkyTrain.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Vancouver Station and grounds, 1920s
Vancouver Station and grounds, 1920s | Source

Also worth seeing

Among the numerous, outstanding visitor attractions in Vancouver, a very few of these include: The Lookout, with excellent views of the city, the surrounding Rockies and Burrard Inlet, Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge, Gastown; False Creek and Science World; the Vancouver Art Gallery; the 1914 Heritage Hall; the 1907 Dominion Building; the 1911 Sun Tower; the 1914 Waterfront Station; Granville Island; and many others.

Vancouver is also ideally situated for day trips to British Columbian mountain destinations such as Whistler (distance: 123.8 kilometres / 76.9 miles) and Peace Arch Park (Peace Arch Provincial Park in Canada and Peace Arch Historical State Park in the United States), shared between the Province of British Columbia at Surrey and the US State of Washington, at Blaine (distance: 48.9 kilometers / 30.4 miles).

............

How to get there

WestJet and Air Canada fly to Vancouver International Airport, Richmond (distance from Downtown Vancouver: 10.8 kilometres / 6.7 miles), with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

Map location of Vancouver, British Columbia
Map location of Vancouver, British Columbia | Source

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