Waterfront station (Vancouver)

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TransLink station
General information
  • 601 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
  • 439 Granville Street, Vancouver
Coordinates49°17′09″N 123°06′42″W / 49.28583°N 123.11167°W / 49.28583; -123.11167
Owned by
Operated byTransLink
Platforms3 separate sets of centre platforms
Connections R5 Hastings St
Structure typeAt-grade and underground
Bicycle facilitiesOutside bike racks
ArchitectBarott, Blackader and Webster
Other information
Station codeWF
Fare zone1
OpenedAugust 1, 1914; 109 years ago (1914-08-01)
Key dates
1977SeaBus opens
1985SkyTrain: Expo Line opens
1995West Coast Express opens
2002SkyTrain: Millennium Line opens
2009SkyTrain: Canada Line opens
2016SkyTrain: Millennium Line rerouted
  • 9,889,900 (Expo and Canada Lines) 25.3% Increase
  • 614,000 (West Coast Express) 49.0% Increase
  • 1 of 53 (Expo and Canada Lines)
  • 1 of 8 (West Coast Express)
Preceding station TransLink Following station
Terminus Expo Line Burrard
Canada Line Vancouver City Centre
SeaBus Lonsdale Quay
West Coast Express Moody Centre
towards Mission City
Former services
Preceding station Canadian Pacific Railway Following station
Terminus Main Line Heatley Avenue
Preceding station TransLink Following station
Terminus Millennium Line Burrard
towards VCC–Clark via Columbia

Waterfront station is a major intermodal public transportation facility and the main transit terminus in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is on West Cordova Street in Downtown Vancouver, between Granville and Seymour Street. The station is also accessible via two other street-level entrances, one on Howe Street to the west for direct access to the Expo Line and another on Granville Street to the south for direct access to the Canada Line.

The station is within walking distance of Vancouver's historical Gastown district, Canada Place, Vancouver Convention Centre, Harbour Centre, Sinclair Centre, and the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre float plane terminal. A heliport operated by Helijet, along with the downtown campuses for Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology, are also located within the vicinity of the station.


Waterfront station c. 1923

Waterfront station was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and opened on August 1, 1914.[2] It was the Pacific terminus for the CPR's transcontinental passenger trains to Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto, Ontario. The current station is the third CPR station. The previous CPR station was located one block west, at the foot of Granville and, unlike the current classical-styled Waterfront station, was built in "railway gothic" like the CPR's many railway hotels.[3][4]

In 1978, when Via Rail took over the passenger operations of the CPR and the Canadian National Railway, it continued using both railways' stations in Vancouver, but a year later, Via consolidated its Vancouver operations at Pacific Central Station, the CN station near False Creek, and ceased using the CPR station. The last scheduled Via passenger train to use Waterfront station departed on October 27, 1979.[2]

Waterfront station's transformation into a public intermodal transit facility began in 1977.[citation needed] That year, the SeaBus began operating out of a purpose-built floating pier that was connected to the main terminal building via an overhead walkway above the CPR tracks. The CPR's passenger platform and some of its tracks were torn up in the early 1980s to make way for the guideway of the original SkyTrain line (Expo Line), which opened on December 11, 1985. During Expo 86, SkyTrain operated special shuttle trains between Waterfront station and Stadium–Chinatown station (then named Stadium station), connecting the Canadian Pavilion at Canada Place to the main Expo site along False Creek.[citation needed]

A private ferry company, Royal SeaLink Express, ran passenger ferries from a new dock on the west side of the SeaBus terminal to Victoria and Nanaimo in the early 1990s, but ultimately folded.[citation needed] In 2003, HarbourLynx began operating out of Royal Sealink's old facility at the SeaBus terminal. In 2006, following major engine problems with their only vessel, they folded as well.

In 1995, platforms were built adjacent to the SkyTrain station for the West Coast Express, which uses the existing CPKC tracks. The platforms for the West Coast Express were built in the same location as the old CPR platforms.

In 2002, Millennium Line trains began to share tracks with the Expo Line at Waterfront station. The lines continued to share tracks until late 2016, when an Expo Line branch to Production Way–University station was created in replacement of the Millennium Line service between VCC–Clark and Waterfront stations.[5]

In 2009, the Canada Line opened with separate platforms which are accessible via the main station building, but require leaving the fare-paid zone when transferring between other modes. Waterfront station serves as a common terminus point for both the Expo Line and the Canada Line.

Waterfront station was one of the first stations to receive TransLink's "T" signage, denoting a transit station.[6] This signage was originally installed in the downtown core of Vancouver to help visitors during the 2010 Olympics.

In 2018, TransLink announced that Waterfront's Canada Line platforms, as well as two other stations on the line within downtown Vancouver, would receive an accessibility upgrade including additional escalators, as most Canada Line stations were built with only up-escalators initially.[7] Construction began in early 2019 and was completed in December.[8][9]

In 2020, TransLink started work on replacing the escalators connecting to the Expo Line.[10] The first step in this project was to close access to the Expo Line from Cordova Street for three weeks in June. The closure forced passengers to access the Expo Line from the Howe Street entrance. Because the construction blocked access to the elevators to the Expo Line platforms, a temporary shuttle bus service between the SeaBus terminal, the main concourse area, and Burrard station was instated.

In 2022, TransLink relocated the in-person service centre at Stadium–Chinatown station and opened a new 580-square-metre (6,200 sq ft) customer service centre at Waterfront station on September 23.[11][12]


Waterfront station
Waterfront's main concourse
Waterfront station, Vancouver

Waterfront's main station building was designed in a neoclassical style, with a symmetrical red-brick facade dominated by a row of smooth, white Ionic order columns. The Ionic columns are repeated in the grand interior hall, flanking the perimeter of the space. The main hall features two large clocks facing each other high on the east and west walls. Paintings depicting various scenic Canadian landscapes, completed in 1916 by Adelaide Langford, line the walls above the columns. The Montreal architecture firm Barott, Blackader and Webster was responsible for designing the main station building.[13]

The station building is owned by Cadillac Fairview and underwent renovations in 2015 to restore its brick facade.[14]


Station information[edit]

The Howe Street entrance to Waterfront station, serving SkyTrain's Expo Line
Expo Line platform (Platforms 1 & 2)
The digital "next arrival" sign at the Expo Line island platform
SkyTrain's Canada Line platform
West Coast Express platform

Station layout[edit]

S Street Cordova Street, Howe Street, Granville Street entrances
Main connection points between various modes of transportation
Compass ticketing machines, ATM, shops, fare gates (Expo Line)
C Concourse
Serving Expo Line
Connections to Sinclair Centre and Waterfront Center
Compass ticketing machines, fare gates (Expo Line)
Serving Canada Line
Compass ticketing machines, shops, fare gates (Canada Line)
T Platform 1
 Expo Line termination track
Island platform; doors will open on the left
Platform 2
 Expo Line towards King George and Production Way–University (Burrard)
   West Coast Express towards Mission City (Moody Centre)
Island platform; doors will open on the left or right
   West Coast Express towards Mission City (Moody Centre)
Lower Concourse
Compass ticketing machines, fare gates (Canada Line)
Platform 3
 Canada Line towards Richmond–Brighouse and YVR–Airport (Vancouver City Centre)
Island platform; doors will open on the left or right
Platform 4
 Canada Line towards Richmond–Brighouse and YVR–Airport (Vancouver City Centre)
Lower Concourse
Fare gates (Helipad Exit), washrooms
Connection to HeliJet heliport
Island platform; doors will open on the right
   SeaBus outbound towards Lonsdale Quay (Terminus)
Island platform; doors will open on the left or right
   SeaBus outbound towards Lonsdale Quay (Terminus)
Island platform; doors will open on the left


  • Cordova Street entrance (terminal building) Disabled access: a fully accessible entrance connecting all services at Waterfront station. The entrance is at the east end of platforms 1 and 2 (Expo Line) and north end of platform 3 and 4 (Canada Line).
  • Howe Street entrance: serves Canada Place, with underground connection to Sinclair Centre and Waterfront Centre at concourse level. No elevator is available at this entrance.
  • Granville Street entrance Disabled access: a new entrance opened 2009 in conjunction to the opening of the Canada Line. Located at the south end of platform 3 and 4 (Canada Line).

Transit connections[edit]

Bus services load on Cordova Street. Additional stops are on Hastings Street, adjacent to the Canada Line entrance near Granville Street for the R5 RapidBus service.[15]

Bay Location Route Notes
1 Cordova Street
44 UBC
  • Express, weekday only. No evening service.
2 Cordova Street
2 Macdonald
3 Cordova Street
50 False Creek South
4 Cordova Street
3 Main
4 Powell
7 Nanaimo Station
8 Fraser
10 Downtown
50 Waterfront Station
N8 Fraser Nightbus
Hastings Street
R5 Hastings Street to Burrard Station
Hastings Street
R5 Hastings Street to SFU
  • RapidBus service

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2023 Transit Service Performance Review – SkyTrain Stations Summaries". tableau.com. TransLink. April 17, 2024. Archived from the original on April 30, 2024. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "By the Numbers: Waterfront Station turns 100". The Province. July 31, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Photograph of CPR Station, foot of Granville, 1906, British Columbia Archives.
  4. ^ CPR station, undated photograph Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, British Columbia Archives, at Columbia Pacific.
  5. ^ "TransLink introduces new SkyTrain operating pattern on October 22". TransLink. September 19, 2016. Archived from the original on March 14, 2020. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "More T signage is now up in downtown Vancouver", The Buzzer Blog, TransLink, January 27, 2010.
  7. ^ Chan, Kenneth (July 9, 2018). "More escalators to be installed at every Canada Line station in downtown Vancouver". Daily Hive. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Canada Line Escalator Enhancement Project". TransLink. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  9. ^ Chan, Kenneth (February 1, 2019). "Construction begins on new escalators for all downtown Canada Line stations". Daily Hive. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Chan, Kenneth (June 8, 2020). "Main entrance for Waterfront Station's Expo Line to close for three-week renovation". Daily Hive Vancouver. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  11. ^ Kertcher, Sarah (September 22, 2022). "TransLink unveils new Customer Service Centre at Waterfront Station". The Buzzer Blog. TransLink. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  12. ^ Chan, Kenneth (September 22, 2022). "Inside TransLink's new Customer Service Centre at Waterfront Station". Daily Hive. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "Waterfront Station". Vancouver Historic Building Atlas. Simon Fraser University. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Lazaruk, Susan (July 12, 2015). "By the Numbers: Waterfront Station gets a major overhaul". The Province. Retrieved June 28, 2023.
  15. ^ Waterfront Station (PDF) (Map). TransLink. January 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2022.

External links[edit]

Media related to Waterfront station at Wikimedia Commons