Vancouver 2010 Bus Schedules and Transportation

January 7th, 2010 @ 10:45am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last night John was looking over street closures during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and trying to figure out his new public transit route to work. I would imagine many who work in or around downtown Vancouver are also going through this phase of planning their commute (if they haven’t taken two weeks holiday during this time).

Where Trolleybuses Sleep
Photo credit: PiscesDreamer – submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Group

Here are some transportation options you’ll need to consider over the next two months, according to

Taking Transit in the Lower Mainland
The West Coast Express, Canada Line and SkyTrain lines will have expanded hours of service. You will still be able to take transit around the Lower Mainland (it’s encouraged as opposed to driving) so you’ll want to explore all options with regards to times of service, routes and fares.

  • SkyTrain: A train every 108 seconds during peak periods every day, including weekends, from 5:00am to 2:15am the following morning during all 17 days of the Olympics.
  • Canada Line: Operating from YVR, Richmond and Downtown 4:50am to 1:15am during the Olympics.
  • SeaBus: All three vessels will be running from 6:00am until 2:15am.
  • There will be a third Seabus in operation and the free streetcar line from Olympic Village Canada Line Station to Granville Island will be available as well.

    Transit buses will have extended day and night service although with road closures and pedestrian-only lanes, here are a few routes that will change to skirt them around the security zones:

  • #5 Robson / Downtown, #6 Davie / Downtown, N17, #17 UBC / Oak / Downtown, #15 Cambie / Downtown, #50 False Creek, C21 community shuttle and C23 community shuttle.
  • The North Shore buses that go along Georgia that will be re-routed include: 240, 241, 242, 246, 247, and 257 Horseshoe Bay Express.
  • Fare wise, souvenir 6-week monthly passes are available from Translink and will be valid February 8th until March 21st, 2010. If you’re in Whistler, Squamish or Pemberton you can also buy a souvenir monthly fare pass from BC Transit. If you have an Olympic event ticket, it serves as a day-pass for transit services such as buses, SkyTrains etc.

    Taking Buses to and from Olympic Events
    If you have tickets to an Olympic event and would like to book your transportation you will need to get your tickets ASAP. You can do so online and take note of the shuttle bus departure hub locations:

  • For Cypress Mountain: Capilano University, Simon Fraser University and Lonsdale Quay.
  • For Whistler Olympic Park: BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Lonsdale Quay.
  • For Whistler Sliding Centre: BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Lonsdale Quay.
  • For Whistler Creekside: Langara College and Lonsdale Quay.
  • Tickets to Cypress are $12 while Whistler is $25 and you may only pay by Visa online. NOTE: Prices will increase to $25 for Cypress and $50 for Whistler if purchased on or after January 11, 2010. All tickets are valid for a round-trip.

    It is highly recommended that you take public transit to get to these departure hubs. If you would like to “park & ride” there is no cost but you’ll require a parking pass to leave your car there. This pass can be obtained online when you book you bus tickets. You can contact the Olympic Bus Network by phone Monday through Saturday from Canada and the USA for more information.

    You can read about one blogger’s experience in purchasing Olympic Bus Network tickets here.

    In General
    If you need to come into work downtown (and cannot telecommute) see if you can carpool or take transit. Should you choose to carpool, make sure you can get to a parking space that is not in a locked down security zone or closed street / pedestrian corridor.

    Transit alerts will be available online and if you’re traveling up to the Squamish / Whistler region remember they are serviced by BC Transit.

    For more information refer to as they have plenty of resources available. There is also a guide to getting around on the City of Vancouver website.

    With all that being said, it’s best to leave the car at home and plan your transportation options well in advance. My best bet right now it to rely on my own two feet to get me around.

    Whistler Film Festival 2009 Wrap Up

    January 6th, 2010 @ 9:00am (PT) by Michelle Kim

    The following was written exclusively for by Michelle Kim.

    The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) seems to always fall at a strange time of year for me. Last year, it preceded a trip to see my ailing 95-year-old grandmother in Seoul (I had to race down the mountain like a madwoman to not miss my flight) and this year, the WFF preceded final exams. So, my apologies to Miss604 and to her beloved readers for not getting this post up sooner (though I’m happy to say, I think I aced my Korean Modern Fiction exam).

    But timing of the festival (right before holiday season), and the compactness of the festival (both terrain-wise and time-wise) is exactly what makes WFF so unique, so intense, and my favourite festivals on the circuit.

    A guest post by Michelle Kim

    Guest contributor Michelle Kim is a local actor, producer, director, and writer. Providing write-ups about theatre, film, and the arts.

    Christmas Tree Recycling in Vancouver

    January 5th, 2010 @ 12:30pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Unfortunately since we’re not allowed to have live or cut trees in our place we’ll just be boxing up the tree again this year. However for those with real live or cut trees, you can dispose of them this weekend through a variety of chipping and recycling events.

    Photo credit: mrlerone on Flickr

    Each year the City of Vancouver along with volunteers from the Lions Clubs in Vancouver provide Christmas tree chipping and composting services by donation (either cash or non-perishable food items for local charities).

    Here’s where you can find the stations this weekend:

  • Kerrisdale Community Ice Rink Parking Lot (East Boulevard north of 41st Avenue)
  • Kits Beach Parking Lot (Cornwall and Arbutus Street)
  • Sunset Beach Upper Parking Lot (Pacific Boulevard and Broughton Street)
  • Trout Lake Community Centre (Victoria Drive and 15th Avenue)
  • UBC Botanical Gardens is also hosting a tree chipping event from now until January 10th. They’re open daily from 9:30am until 4:30pm in the parking lot at 6804 South West Marine Dr. Suggested donations of $5 will support the development of a heritage food garden for SPG Childcare / Quilchena Elementary.

    Over on the North Shore there are a few locations as well:

  • Lynn Valley United Church (Mtn Hwy & LV Road) benefiting the 30th Seymour Scouts (Lynn Valley) – January 9th & 10th from 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Ambleside Park, West Vancouver benefiting the Ambleside Tiddley Cove Lions Society – January 10th from 10:00am until 3:00pm.
  • Karen Magnussen Rec Centre or Edgemont Village Chevron Station benefiting the North Vancouver Host Lions – January 10th from 9:30am until 3:30pm.
  • If you can make it out to one of these event this weekend, that’s probably your best bet for safe removal. If not, the City suggests you can also take your tree to the transfer station or the landfill directly.

    Vancouver History: Before and After Commercial Buildings

    January 5th, 2010 @ 9:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It took me a while to figure out a theme for this first “Then and Now” series installment of 2010. Last year I featured hotels, apartments, wintery scenes and even dogs in the city. I’ve come to the conclusion that the most effective “Then and Now” features buildings and streets, which are the easiest to research. Thanks as always to the Vancouver Archives and Google Street Views, the following is a collection of commercial buildings, then and now.

    Granville & Hastings

    Major Matthews Collection, Item#: Str P43.2

    Granville & Hastings

    Broadway & Granville

    Photographer: W.J. Moore, Item#: Bu N505, Archives Location#: 183-D-1

    Broadway & Granville

    3036 West Broadway

    Photographer: Jack Lindsay, Item#: CVA 1184-3184

    3036 West Broadway

    2152 Main Street

    Photographer: Jack Lindsay, Item#: CVA 1184-2758

    2152 Main Street

    2106 West Broadway & Arbutus (formerly McGavin Bakery)

    Item#: CVA 780-196, Archive Location #: F14-E-1 file 7

    2106 West Broadway

    Should you have a favourite old building and would like to see how it looked decades ago, feel free to submit it as a suggestion for next week’s installment.

    As a side note, I was in the store the other day and noticed Chuck Davis has a book called Vancouver: Then and Now (2001). It’s filled with photographs along with Chuck’s commentary and would be great for a visitor, resident, history buff, or just to have around as a coffee table book.

    Birks Bracelet and Bobsleigh Contest

    January 4th, 2010 @ 11:47am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    When I received a press release from Birks about their bobsleigh display a few weeks ago I thought there would be no better way to celebrate bobsleigh events at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games than to work with this in some way. We came up with a contest for readers and I timed it to coincide with my history piece about bobsleigh in St Moritz, Switzerland that was published this morning.

    Birks is the official jewelery supplier for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, and OMEGA is the official Timekeeper for the Winter Olympics. Both have organized the Olympic-themed display featuring a sleek red fibreglass bobsleigh setup in the middle of the Birks flagship store on Granville and Hastings.

    Visit this display and answer a skill-testing question on and you could win a Birks Collection for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Nature 8-Charm Bracelet, in Sterling Silver valued at $350.

    With an exceptional collection of fine jewellery and gifts bearing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games marks, Birks invites you to take part in the sparkle and show your support in a truly unique way with its exclusive collection of sterling silver, silver-plated and 18kt gold jewelery and gifts. This 19cm (7.5 inches) sterling silver charm bracelet features 8 Nature-inspired charms. []

    To qualify to win the bracelet, visit the Birks store on Granville and Hastings to find out the answer to the question in the form below:

    Stop by on your lunch break, in the morning, or after work. The store itself is an amazing piece of Vancouver history and I’m sure the display looks great. Just make sure to stop by here after your visit to Birks and enter the contest using the form above: Is it a two or four man bobsleigh on display?

    Entries must be received by 12:00pm January 14th, 2010 in order to qualify. Only entries that contain correct answers will be valid and put into the draw. The winner will be drawn at 2:00pm January 14th, 2010 and will be notified by email.

    Disclosure for this post: I was not paid to write this post but I requested an item valued $350 to give away to a reader in a contest.

    Update January 14th, 2010 I have just drawn the winner randomly using the ContestMachine website. Since she had the correct answer (4-person bobsleigh) Lindsay M is the winner of the Birks bracelet. Thanks to everyone for entering!

    Switzerland: Bobsleigh History

    January 4th, 2010 @ 11:04am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    This fall I received the best bobsleigh history lesson in the world from locals in St Moritz while on a media trip as a guest of the Swiss National Tourist Office.

    After a walking tour of the town we stopped by the Cresta Run, then over to the Bob Run, after which the sport is named.

    St Moritz

    Birth of the Winter Sport
    2010 marks the 125th anniversary of the Cresta Run in St Moritz, Switerzland. Back in 1885 tobogganing made its way there from Britain and people began to flock to the friendly winter destination to participate in the sport.

    The Cresta Run itself is a 3,978 foot long natural ice run down the side of a mountain for tobogganing (or skeleton as many know it from the Olympics). Whether it was the head-first skeleton or the luge race, both evolved from “steerable sledding” that was invented by snowbird British guests at the St Moritz hotel, Kulm in 1870. Over on the Cresta run you can reach speeds of up to 140km/h on the track that has been carved over the last century. Originally designed to entertain and carry adventurously wealthy tourists, it soon became quite the competitive sport.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    The Cresta Run is owned and operated by the St. Moritz Tobogganing Club (SMTC), also referred to as the Cresta Club which has been all-male since founded by the British Military in 1885. Women have never been allowed to sled down the Cresta Run and from what our guide told us, the excuses were many. Anything from it was too dangerous to telling them that laying on their front to head down the runs would give them breast cancer.

    Rumour has it though that some ladies have managed to make it down over the years by cross-dressing, but that’s simply local folklore at this point.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    The Bob Run
    You take two toboggans, tie them together, add a steering mechanism and grab a couple of your friends and you have a bobsleigh. Since toboganning became such a hit, another run was built in St Moritz — the Bob Run.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    Now according to most definitions, the sport is called bobsledding because you watch the riders’ heads bob as they go down the run. Alternatively, our St Moritz guide told us that a man named Robert (Bob) started up the Bob Run (his own run) across from the Cresta Run as a haven for those who wanted to tie their sleds together. Hence that new sled was called the bobsleigh, named after the run and thus named after a man called Bob.

    I haven’t found anything online to back this up so I’m not sure if our guide was just having a bit of fun with us or if I might be documenting this for the first time. Regardless of its etymology, the world’s first bobsleigh club was formed in 1897 at the Bob Run in St Moritz.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    With longer sleds emerging with spots for two or four men the Bob Run became the longest, fastest and only natural bobsleigh run in the world. Natural means that each and every winter the build up that non-refrigerated, u-shaped run down the side of the hill using tools, manpower, and only the snow and ice that surrounds them.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    From where we stood after our walk over from the village, the Bob Run is basically “across the street” and up a hill from the Cresta Run. It’s not only the home of bobsleigh but also the site of the St Moritz Winter Olympics ceremonies in 1928 and 1948. Bobsleigh appeared in the first Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924.

    The men who build the Bob Run each year aren’t even bobsledders themselves, however we were told they are very proud to be a part of such a momentous annual event, which is so important to the world of winter sports. When we visited in November 2009 they were merely weeks away from starting the year’s build, which would take about 3 weeks in total to complete.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    The photo above shows the official starting place of the Bob Run so as you can see, they really do build it all from scratch with fresh snow and ice each winter. The photo below is the opposite view of that starting point.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    Little-known bobsleigh fact, the brake man only does his job at the very end of the course — at no other time are the brakes used on the bobsleigh except to actually stop it. At the end of the season (usually around March) the run is so cutup from sleigh after sleigh that before they tear down the track some folks are actually allowed to ice skate down it. Sort of like the Red Bull Crashed Ice event each year in Quebec City.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    Traditions and Oddities
    The St. Moritz Bobsleigh Club owns and maintains the prestigious track and the President, Gunter Sachs, runs the lodge and the highly exclusive Dracula Club within. We took a tour but since it was so prestigious (and had a bit of a strange theme) I will respect the secrecy and privacy of the club and its member list. Let’s just say that strings of garlic hung from the bar, there was a bat skeleton on the wall, and apparently a coffin in the basement that – rumour has it – comes out on occasion for a few inebriated members to take a spin down the rushing Bob Run.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    Unsure of the validity of said rumour, Sachs does operate a nighttime competition called Dracula’s Ghost Riders for which the grand prize at the end is shaped like a coffin.

    The Dracula Club, known as quite the party destination has a restaurant and pub along with the members-only area. It’s open to new membership if you care to join, but even according to a Dracula Club’s Facebook page, you would have to abide by and swear to follow Dracula rules.

    Bobsleigh Today
    All history and folklore aside, at over 5,500 ft long the Bob Run finishes up in the town of Celerina and is also home to the Bobsleigh World Cup. The Bob Run is open for all nations and women who may also train on this amazing course.

    The Swiss have built up a dynasty of champion bobsleigh traditions (literally, from the ground up) so it’s truly no wonder the Swiss Olympic Bobsleigh Teams excels so greatly in international competition.

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    St Moritz - Bobsleigh

    The 125th anniversary of the original Cresta Run, which started it all, will take place in St Moritz February 5th until the 14th, 2010.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the run in Whistler treats teams this winter and how our Canadian team will compete during the Games which kick off February 12, 2010 in Vancouver. Just a few weeks ago our women’s team made bobsleigh history by placing first and second in a world cup event in Germany so it should be a great event on all fronts.

    You can view the rest of my photos from my media trip to Switzerland in this photo set, and read all posts here.

    Head over to my Birks contest find out how to win a bracelet (value $350) between now and January 14th, 2010. You can only enter to win by checking out the bobsleigh display at Birks & then answering a question on