Toronto to Vancouver VIA a hole in the ground

If you look into the Edmonton to Vancouver website for VIA Rail (also the Toronto-Vancouver, Winnipeg-Toronto, etc.) you'll see a list of the stations, including a quick description and photo for the main ones.

Notice anything funny about them? Let's look at the four stations at the top of the page first. Toronto shows the massive pillars on the south face of Union Station (the ones that have been undergoing renovation since 1996 or so, true, but they're there). Vancouver gives us a night view of the neoclassical Pacific Central station across Thornton Park. Winnipeg shows off their Union Station as well (fewer pillars, but a more imposing view and naturally a very large building befitting Winnipeg's "far west outpost" status of 1908 when it was built). Saskatoon doesn't quite have the grandeur of Winnipeg's station, being a modernist style built in the 60s, but they show it as well.

Let's cut ahead to Jasper's railway station, the giant 1926-built structure, which is shown pictured against the spectacular mountain vistas that Jasper is known for.

Finally, let's take a look at Edmonton. The City of Champions. "Gateway to the North". What's the view they've taken of Edmonton's VIA Rail station? For those who don't know, the Edmonton VIA Rail station is right by the Edmonton City Centre airport -- it's why the Envision Edmonton group observed that if we had a fully functioning passenger airport there, and moved the Greyhound station from downtown (a move that the Edmonton arena project will mandate in 2016 anyways) to near the VIA station (which is also looking likely as the new home anyways) we'd have a decent transportation hub close to downtown, especially if the LRT was left underground and stopped there. So what's the station look like?

Oh....that good, eh? Okay, probably for the best. If you go and check the actual VIA rail station in Edmonton...the result is...not pretty.

Befitting the last time we investigated this, there are no northern railway departures from Edmonton.

Ah well, at least we're better than the one in Evansburg!