It’s been almost 18 months now since the Canada Line was inaugurated, and it’s safe to say that Vancouver’s newest SkyTrain line has been an unequivocal success. Every day more than a hundred thousand riders are whisked back and forth on the line, traveling to home, to work, to the airport and – of course – to the shopping malls. In fact, sometimes it seems like the stations on the Canada Line were planned out specifically with shoppers in mind.
I indulged in a little Canada Line shopping crawl recently, starting out in Richmond and working my way into Vancouver via the SkyTrain. I’ve highlighted my stops below, but this is certainly not the only possible itinerary. If you’ve got a favourite Canada Line shopping crawl, please share your ideas by leaving a comment. Here’s how my trip played out:
Stop 1 – Aberdeen Station and the Aberdeen Centre: An Asian-inspired mall filled with stores from China, Taiwan and Japan, Aberdeen Centre has to be one of the most fascinating places to shop in the city. I always make a point of stopping at Daiso, the Japanese discount store full of chopsticks and tea sets, exotic candies and fish-flavoured snacks and an endless stock of Hello Kitty stationary. Don’t miss the food court either, which contrary to what you might expect offers really authentic and diverse Asian cuisine.
Stop 2 – Oakridge-41st Avenue Station and the Oakridge Centre: First opened all the way back in 1959, Oakridge Centre tends to get overshadowed by Vancouver’s newer, glitzier malls. But the old girl is really a hidden gem. Inside, you’ll find 150 stores, with a huge collection of high-end retailers, including Hugo Boss, Benetton, Michael Kors and Armani Exchange. It is also usually considerably less crowded than other malls.
Stop 3 – Broadway-City Hall Station and the Big Box Stores: Technically, there’s no mall at the Broadway Station, but there is a nice cluster of new big box retailers and discount stores in the immediate area. Electronics lovers will want to check out the massive Best Buy. HomeSense offers designer home furnishings at discount prices. There’s a Canadian Tire, London Drugs and Whole Foods all in the vicinity, as well.
Stop 4 – Vancouver City Centre Station and Pacific Centre Mall: The largest mall in downtown Vancouver, Pacific Centre is built almost entirely underground. Inside you’ll find more than 100 name-brand retailers, with a nice mix of global brands like Banana Republic, high-end stores like Guess and even enormous department stores like Sears. Of course, you’re also well positioned here to explore the retail offerings along Granville Street or to brave the designer-seeking crowds on Robson Street.
If you’re planning your own Canada Line shopping crawl, you might want to look into the TransLink day pass, which lets you ride transit all day for $9. And if you’ve done your own variation on a Canada Line shopping crawl, please let us know.