Engine 374 Pavilion exterior

©John Lee/Lonely Planet

May 23, 1887, was an auspicious date for Vancouver. That's when Engine 374 pulled the very first transcontinental passenger train into the fledgling city, symbolically linking the country and kick-starting the eventual metropolis. Retired in 1945, the engine was, after many years of neglect, restored and placed in this splendid pavilion. The friendly volunteers here will show you the best angle for snapping photos and share a few yesteryear railroading stories at the same time.

Administered by the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish (a good excursion for rail buffs), the engine is kept in sparkling condition and is occasionally wheeled out onto the outside turntable, part of the beautifully restored heritage roundhouse that recalls Yaletown's gritty rail-yard history. Visit on Victoria Day (last Monday before May 25) for the pavilion's annual celebration; free cake included.