Changing routes to think about the neighbourhoods – this Postcard is about rolling transit, everyplace and anywhere. Evidence comes in a transit route inspired spoken-word song and a smattering of poems including: odes to drivers, forgotten literary neighbourhoods, angry passengers, observed newspapers around Vancouver… plus a bit of Clayton the busker in the Seabus tunnel playing The Replacements’ “Skyway.”
The Seabus is a passenger ferry running between downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver across the Burrard Inlet. The crossing generally takes about 11-12 minutes. This video is a simple single shot of the crossing with ambient sound and no alterations.
The Seabus (there are 3: The Otter, and The Beaver, were launched in 1977 and the Pacific Breeze was launched in late 2009 just before the Winter Olympics) are operated by Translink, the transit authority for the greater Vancouver BC area. Many folks ride this daily as part of their commute to work in downtown or even closer, in Gastown or Railtown.
The dock on the south side is adjacent of the wharves of Canada Place and accessible via Waterfront Station or the Heliport door on the low road. The north dock is in a complex with Lonsdale Quay market — a great tiny alternative to the busy (especially in the summer) Granville Island Market.
Both docks closely connected with other transit modes: at Waterfront, all Skytrain lines and Westcoast Express train; and, busses to all points on the North Shore at Lonsdale Quay (including busses to Grouse Mountain, Deep Cove and Horsehoe Bay).
Tip: Exit via the Heliport door and walk to unknown CRAB park just a few 100 metres away to the east – further east, a bridge connects you to the north end of Main St.
Tip: Ride the Seabus to North Vancouver and catch the 228 bus and ride to Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge. It’s free, unlike Capilano, and it’s not a tourist trap
Here’s where I’ll mostly write about transportation, vancouver secrets and history, public policy conundrums, cascadian diplomacy and creative activism. Here are the first two dossier about trains and seabus:
Shortly after New Year’s Day, Uncle Weed recounts highlights from the passing year including a surprising visit with bong-toting ice fishermen on a frozen neighborhood lake, plus recaps on concerts, spreading messages to media and youth, voting often, speaking out, supporting soldiers and peaceniks, resisting cynicism, researching the painter Varley, publishing literature, sparking coverage of Olympics, making a board game, gallery visits, riding the new SeaBus, remembering ole dead gramps, drinking stout and earl grey tea, and the joys of treading on thin ice.
I’ve started a new column at Vancouver Observer, a web-based, hyper-local news site called “Uncle Weed’s Dossier” where I’ll mostly write about transportation, Vancouver secrets and history, public policy conundrums, Cascadian diplomacy, and creative activism.
1977 was a stellar year for culture. The Ramones, The Clash and Bob Marley with classic albums, Elvis for a half-year, plus Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever and the launch of the SeaBus. Since that banner year, the intrepid lil catamarans have toiled across Burrard Inlet, unheralded and undaunted. Now the two vessels – the Beaver and Otter – are three as the Pacific Breeze set off from Waterfront station Wednesday Dec. 23rd with politicians on-board and me on the roof.
Transit’s Crown Jewel
I’m the guy who did a 4th grade science fair project about transit, rode the long way on buses downtown to punk rock shows and celebrated when the ALRT began (even when it ended in New West). But living in Whalley, the SeaBus was an exotic morsel in the transit offering – i have scant memories outings to the Quay or the free suspension bridge but mostly i remember skipping out of school and riding it just to ride it.
These days, the Seab is my daily ride and my nightly schedule revolves around the run down the gangway into the surreal confines of a hazy crossing in a humming shuttle. Unlike the sway of the bus, the Seab is pod of relaxation and creativity and (the best part) you always get a seat. Indeed, I extol the virtues of the perfect day out in Vancouver on my podcast which includes “the 3 dollar harbour cruise” complete with a falafel and a rainforest stroll – all on one transfer.