Lonely Planet Writer

Fare trade? Vancouver launches transit-themed souvenirs

Vancouver visitors searching for cool keepsakes beyond the usual maple syrup cookies and Steam Clock fridge magnets have a bus-full of new options to consider after the local transit authority launched its own merchandise range.

Translink launches own merchandise brand
Transport-themed souvenir range launched in Vancouver. Photo by: Translink

TransLink’s natty array of transport-themed novelties runs from beach towels to shower curtains and from throw pillows to pencil cases. And, according to the organization responsible for the region’s bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus ferry services, the aim is to encourage a little love for the transit network.

“Ultimately, the goal is to allow people to sort of show some pride in the transportation system,” TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews told the city’s CTV News. “It’s an iconic thing and we looked for those icons to be able to put on the products that we designed.”

Transport-themed merchandise brand launched in Vancouver
Transport-themed phone cover. Photo by Translink

The nostalgia-tinged range includes retro-looks SeaBus posters, iPhone cases that echo vintage sci-fi and water bottles printed with the old route signs that once adorned the front of local buses. Top-selling items so far have included mugs and SkyTrain models but T-shirts are also hooking visitors searching for easy-to-pack souvenirs.

Available in black or white, yesteryear bus route signs dominate the T-shirt range. But an alternate grey-hued SeaBus shirt – with bold graphics depicting the city’s blocky passenger-only ferries – could become a hit among out-of-towners who fall for the scenic 15-minute boat service running between Waterfront and Lonsdale Quay.

Translink mug
Translink launches own souvenir range in Vancouver. Photo by: Translink

According to TransLink, pencils and pencil cases are also selling faster than a 99 B-Line express bus. And while the range is currently limited to just a few dozen items – you’ll search in vain for SkyTrain-patterned onesies or boxer shorts printed like the back end of a bus – the authority says it’s open to ideas about potential new transit trinkets.

“The plan is to start with this, see how it goes and refresh products and add new products as we go along,” Drews told CTV News. “If anyone has any suggestions for things they think might sell or they’d like to see, we’d like to see those as well.”

By John Lee