In the airport

Dec 05/2013
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Architectural photography, open spaces and crowd images, public art displays.

For a list of major art displays in the terminals, see this YVR page.


Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is Canada’s second busiest airport, serving approximately 17 million passengers annually (2011 data) and handling more than 258,000 aircraft landings and take-offs on its runways.

For many visitors, YVR provides the first and last impression of British Columbia with art and architecture reflective of the province’s diverse landscape and people. YVR currently houses the largest collection of Northwest Coast Native art in the world.

While thousands of tourists take photos of the airport every day, photographers should be aware of the nature of this environment:

  • areas occupied by the Airport Authority and its partners – airline ticket counters, shops, restaurants, government agencies, etc. – are private areas and photography of them technically requires approval by both the Airport Authority and the business partner
  • filming of pre-boarding security screening points is not permitted under any circumstances
  • If you're shooting hand held, there should be no problem. But if you set up tripods or start using large flashes, you may draw the attention of security personnel who may think you are doing commercial filming (which requires permission from the Airport Authority). Explain your situation (your photoclub is doing an outing).
  • If asked to stop shooting in an area by airport security, please respect their wishes. While it may be considered a public space, the Airport is private property -- and due to security concerns, airport staff may appear over-protective, but they are just doing their job.
  • Be aware if you are photographing people, that while you are in a public space, not everyone may want to be photographed. And due to the international environment, not everyone you encounter may be fluent in English.

If you’re looking to film aircraft taking off or landing, here are a few great spots:

  • Flight Path Park, Russ Baker Way, for views of the South Runway
  • Public Viewing Platform, Airport South, for views of the South Runway
  • Airport South for views of business aircraft and float planes
  • Templeton Road, near the Canada Line, for views of the North Runway
  • Public Observation Area, Domestic Terminal, for views of the domestic gates, aprons and taxiways

To avoid expensive Airport Parking fees, consider taking Translink to YVR

Transit: If you are taking the Canada Line, just a heads-up re the $5 Canada Line YVR AddFare, which is applicable to travel departing from any of the stations on Sea Island, including YVR-Airport, destined for Bridgeport Station or points beyond. The ticket machines at the airport station are programmed to charge the additional YVR AddFare automatically on applicable transactions. Customers who buy their fare zone ticket from a machine using cash, debit or credit card must pay the $5 YVR AddFare. This includes Concession (seniors and student) fares.

Exemptions: Customers who use prepaid fares such as DayPasses, Monthly FareCards, FareSavers, 28-day passes, U-Passes, Employer Passes and Gov Bus Passes are exempt from the YVR AddFare.