As a result of a SkyTrain shutdown that left thousands of passengers stranded on July 21, TransLink announced that it would offer a free day of transit on B.C. Day to “show appreciation for customers”.
Well, folks, our day to save $2.75 is just around the corner—on Monday (August 4)—so we’ve rounded up a few ways to help you make the most of the free transit.
It covers all zones and isn’t limited to bus and SkyTrain, so make sure you don’t pay when hopping on the Canada Line or SeaBus. The only thing you should be aware of is that because it’s a holiday, TransLink will be operating on a reduced schedule.
Get your Grind on at Grouse Mountain
For those who want to get outdoors—or who enjoy mild forms of self-inflicted torture—scoot on over to the North Shore and test your athleticism on the Grouse Grind. The natural Stairmaster will likely be busy over the weekend (so be prepared to enjoy looking at the person’s shoes directly in front of you the whole way), but the view at the top is always worth it—not to mention bragging rights at the office on Tuesday.
How to transit: Make your way to Waterfront Station. Take the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay and ride the 236 bus to the base of Grouse Mountain. On any old Monday, this two-zone trip would cost $4 for an adult, but on Monday it’s free!
Slurp a bubble tea at a night market in Richmond
There are two night markets happening in Richmond: the Richmond Night Market takes place near the River Rock Casino by Bridgeport Road, and the International Summer Night Market is located by IKEA on Vulcan Way. The night markets aren't usually open on Mondays, but they’re both open this Monday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. because it’s a holiday. Hop on the Canada Line and scarf down a few of those oddly addictive Rotato potatoes, pick up a new cellphone case or pair of sunglasses, and finish the night off with a red bean-filled bubble tea.
How to transit: Make your way to a Canada Line station. For many Vancouverites, this will require jumping on a bus or SkyTrain first. Once you’re on the Canada Line, enjoy the free two-zone ride to Richmond and get off at Bridgeport Station. If you’re planning on checking out the Richmond Night Market, simply follow the parade of people walking toward the site. To get to the International Summer Night Market, transfer to the 430 or 407 buses, which will drop you off near the market.
Explore a beach—outside of Vancouver
Vancouver has many gorgeous beaches, sure, but on this free day of transit, why not venture a little further and check out the tide pools in less familiar territory. White Rock is known for having an eight-kilometre stretch of sand, rock, and water, divided into East Beach and West Beach. Head out the door early enough, and you might have time for both. Walk along the boardwalk for some fish and chips or ice cream, then go for a dip in the water to cool off. A family-friendly day that might otherwise cost your lunch money in transit (it’s $5.50 for a three-zone adult ticket), on Monday, you and the kids ride free.
How to transit: Make your way to a Canada Line station. Again, this may require you to hop on a bus, SkyTrain, or SeaBus first. Once you’re on the Canada Line, ride it all the way to Bridgeport Station in Richmond. Walk over to the buses, then board the 351 headed to Crescent Beach. Once you arrive at the White Rock bus exchange, switch over to one of the community buses (such as the C51, C52, or C53) to get you closest to where you’d like to start.
Stop and smell the flowers at UBC
Unless you live on the West Side in Vancouver, getting to UBC often means a stinky, crowded ride on the 99 B-line. Expect a bit of a gentler route on Monday (there won’t be any students falling asleep on you, and it’s free!), and enjoy the flora and fauna on the university grounds. The UBC Botanical Garden features several themed gardens, including an Asian Garden bursting with hydrangeas and lilies at this time of year and the B.C. Rainforest Garden, where you might spot a hummingbird. Be sure to stroll through the tranquil Nitobe Memorial Garden, a traditional Japanese garden with a ceremonial teahouse.
How to transit: There are a few ways to get to UBC, but all of them require the good, old-fashioned bus. The 99, 44, and 84 offer express routes to the Point Grey Campus, while the 4, 9, and 14 take the scenic route.
Enjoy a day at the races
Perhaps you missed the Deighton Cup last weekend. Well, you can still slip into suspenders and fasten your fascinator for the B.C. Cup, taking place at Hastings Racecourse on Monday afternoon. The event itself is free and features live musical entertainment. Food—which includes multiple stations themed around Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods—and drinks are extra. And if you’re into betting on horses and get lucky, you could win a lifetime of free transit.
How to transit: For most people living in Vancouver, getting to Hastings Racecourse isn’t too much of a burden. Several buses, including the 4, will bring you close to the entrance. If you’re travelling from outside the city, here’s your chance not only to not pay for any zones but to get into the event free of charge.