Thursday, May 30, 2013

Canada Place

Canadian Pacific Railway build the very large two story Pier B-C in 1927, with its main purpose being trading with the Orient. Tea, silks, mail and other wares were moved across the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver, and then by rail to Montreal, then back aboard ships to England. 

The terminal was built in a Spanish style and had a First class passenger lounge. Pier A was to the west of it and was a single deck general freight wharf. Pier D to the east was for the Canadian Pacific Railway's coastal vessels, and it was where the Seabus terminal is today.

Canada Place was constructed in 1986 as the Canadian Pavilion for the World Expo of Transportation that year. An expansion took place in 2001 to accommodate additional berthing for cruise ships. The Canada Place project was built on the former Pier B-C site and included the development of the largest convention centre in Vancouver, the cruise ship centre and the Pan Pacific Hotel. The Pier has a distinctive design of five large sails mimicking those of tall ships of the past.

Every year more than one million cruise ship passengers pass through the Port of Vancouver. This year there will be 300 cruise itineraries by 27 cruise ships from 12 different lines using the facilities in the heart of our city.  More cruise ships than ever are sailing the West Coast waters, with Vancouver the leading homeport for Alaska cruises and the only gateway to Canada's inside passage.

I have passed under Lions Gate Bridge on a Cruise Ship, on a sailboat and on a motor yacht. Entering the harbour from seaward, your are welcomed by the span of the Lions Gate Bridge with its one end solidly anchored in the dense urban forest of Stanley Park and the other rooted at the base of the North Shote mountains. While you are transfixed on the massiveness and majesty of the surroundings, you spot a small float plane landing ahead, and beyond that are the SeaBuses criss-crossing the harbour. Pier BC with its tall masts and sails welcomes you to Vancouver, one of the most beautiful harbours in the world.

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