Visiting Waterfront Station, Vancouver, British Columbia: Sedate, Neoclassical Structure Dating From 1914
Pre-World War One solidity
Dating from 1914, and executed in red brick, Vancouver's Waterfront Station is located at 601 West Cordova Street. The building is transited typically by over 30,000 passengers daily.
Prominent features include its Neoclassical pillars (1) at its West Cordova Street frontage. Syrian arching — albeit of an apparently somewhat elliptical nature — complement the pillared frontage.
This pillared theme is continued at the Station's ornate interior (2), which is carefully maintained in pristine condition. (One is somewhat reminded of the concourse of Union Station, Toronto, Ontario, described in 1927 by the Prince of Wales as resembling a cathedral.) Murals depicting various Canadian scenes were completed by Adelaide Langford in 1916.
The architectural partnership of Barott, Blackader and Webster, of Montreal, was responsible for the design of the building. This Vancouver building's pre-World War One solidity is thus an abiding feature of the Downtown area of a modern Western Canadian city.
Formerly serving the Canadian Pacific Railway (3), Waterfront Station is currently a major terminal of British Columbia's TransLink, formerly known as the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority.
Waterfront Station provides easy access to The Lookout, with its magnificent views over Vancouver and the nearby Rockies; one of the entrances to The Lookout is situated opposite the Station.
The facility provides a service via the SkyTrain Canada Line, which links Waterfront Station with Vancouver International Airport.
One comes away from Waterfront Station with the impression of a thoroughly modern city with spacial and architectural features nevertheless firmly rooted in the past. Even as new developments in Vancouver reach furiously for the sky, here at Waterfront Station, at least, one might apply the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
January 21, 2020
(1) Interestingly, the Canadian Pacific Railway often preferred Neogothic style at the major stations which it sponsored, but the work of Barott, Blackader and Webster here at Vancouver's Waterfront Station is an exception to this tendency.
(2) I have included a photo, above, of the interior of the building seen at its main concourse.
(3) VIA Trains also served Waterfront Station; this service was withdrawn over 40 years ago, at a time of significant re-development of the building and neighbourhood.
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
Also worth seeing
Among the numerous, outstanding visitor attractions in Vancouver, a very few of these include: The Lookout — close to Waterfront Station — 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 1910 Dominion Building; the 1911 Sun Tower; the 1919 Pacific Central 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
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