The wrapping is coming off.

It now looks like the Canada Line will start running about mid-August, close to the time that Granville Mall should be completed.

Granville Mall - Jul 25 09 2

On Saturday, the Canada Line gave a sneak preview of what will be one of their busiest stations: City Centre.

Canada Line City Centre 2

First impression: adequate, but aesthetically disappointing.

The above-ground entrance pavilion is from the school of Fifties Federalism: a grey-granite block, staid and formal, relating only incidentally to its surroundings.

Canada Line City Centre 1

There’s a token presence of wood – and it’s clumsily handled:

Canada Line station - wood overhang

The awning looks as though it was designed and fabricated in the metal shop, and then painted grey because, well, that’s all they had. 

At least the station has room to breathe on its Pacific Centre plaza.  The platform,  like New York’s subway, is only a short distance below ground, and indeed has a big-city metro feel:

Canada Line City Centre platform

But the platform, like the cars, is undersized by contemporary metro standards – and I suspect we’ll find out the real cost of that in the not-too-distant future.

Canada Line car interior

The station walls are faced with blue-grey tiles and two-toned slabs of stone, everything in order, very discrete and rather boring.

Canada Line City Centre walls

There’s a desperate need for public art to give the Canada Line some liveliness – and I was told there’s a budget for art that will change every six months or so.   Thank god.

Canada Line station interior

At this point, the coolest thing about City Centre station is the tunnel.  Heading south, it has the promise of  a PNE ride.

Canada Line City Centre tunnel