Engine 374 Pavilion exterior

©John Lee/Lonely Planet

Engine 374 Pavilion


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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vancouver attractions

2. David Lam Park

0.18 MILES

A crooked elbow of landscaped waterfront at the neck of False Creek, Yaletown's main green space is sometimes used for free alfresco summer movie…

3. Contemporary Art Gallery

0.29 MILES

A flexible three-room space, often with a different show in each, this smart, white-walled gallery exhibits striking, sometimes complex works in a wide…

4. BC Place Stadium

0.46 MILES

Vancouver's main sports arena is home to two professional teams: the BC Lions Canadian Football League team and the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team. Also…

5. Robson Street

0.47 MILES

Locals, tourists and recent immigrants – count the number of accents you catch as you stroll here – throng the shops and restaurants of Robson St,…

6. Vancouver Public Library

0.48 MILES

This dramatic Colosseum-like building must be a temple to the great god of libraries. If not, it's certainly one of the world's most magnificent book…

7. BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum

0.48 MILES

Inside BC Place Stadium, this expertly curated attraction showcases top BC athletes, both amateur and professional, with an intriguing array of galleries…

8. Rogers Arena

0.62 MILES

This large multipurpose stadium hosts the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks. On game nights, when the 20,000-capacity venue heaves with fervent…