On Thursday, I went on a field trip. The story goes like this: I’ve been riding the Millennium Line, which I rarely ever did before, because I’m at SFU now. Not that there’s nothing down that way I didn’t want to see before, but I’ve lived with the Expo Line my whole life (even before it was the Expo Line, the same way STAR WARS only became A NEW HOPE after the sequels), and, well, it was comforting. I knew my way around. So, I’ve been riding the Millennium Line, and when you look down between Columbia and Sapperton, there’s the Fraser River and, also, a nice gravelled path with benches and balconies.
It’s a bit of a walk from Sapperton, and the greenway itself isn’t very long. Not quite finished yet. You’ve got to either turn around and walk back to Sapperton or else steel yourself and trudge along the railroad tracks, past the ancient tugboats, under the three bridges, and down the road with no sidewalks until you find Columbia Station. This is not a path built for pedestrians.
I ride over those bridges every week. Over the Pattullo, which is too dangerous to repair, they say, but it is a beautiful sweeping arc of orange and steel. Over the Skybridge, on the Skytrain, starkly different with straight lines and angles. I need those bridges, because the Fraser curves its way through every path I need to cross, but this was the first time I saw those bridges. I saw them different. Pattullo’s not 100 yet, and Skybridge is younger than me, and both they’re talking about tearing down or repairing.
Sometimes, I think Vancouver is called the City of Glass because we don’t build things that last.
On the other side of the Pattullo, below, is the New Westminster rail bridge, built 1904. A train passed over my head as I walked below, as if someone knew that someone was there, looking up.