Metrotown serves as the urban core for the City of Burnaby, the third largest city in Metro Vancouver. Metrotown was formally established as a town centre in 1977, and covers an area of approximately 297 hectares (735 acres), characterized by Central Park to the west, a commercial spine along Kingsway and a mix of housing forms ranging from townhouses to low-rise walk-up apartments and high-rise residential towers in distinct neighborhoods. Metrotown has experienced rapid growth since the opening of SkyTrain Expo Line in 1986 which saw the population increase by over 7,550 people between 1991 and 2001. In the 2011 Census, there were 13,013 dwelling units and 25,321 people living in Metrotown, accounting for over 14% of all units and 11% of the total population of Burnaby.
Commercial developments in Metrotown have focused on linear strip development along Kingsway and the commercial complexes of Station Square and Metropolis, the second largest enclosed shopping mall complex in Canada. In recent years, there has been a trend towards creating mixed-use developments with street-oriented retail uses at ground level and high-rise residential towers above. Office developments are dominated by the Telus Building and Metrotower Office complex, which provide a combined total of 124,492 square metres (1.3 million square feet) of office space. With completion of the third and final Metrotower office building, commercial floorspace in the Metrotown area is expected to exceed 3 million square feet by 2021.
Metrotown offers a wide variety of community and recreational opportunities and facilities, including Central Park, Bonsor Recreation Complex and Burnaby’s main library branch. The area parks and public facilities are connected by the BC Parkway, an east-west urban trail running parallel to the SkyTrain Line, and provide both active and passive recreational space to residents and visitors alike. Metrotown is also home to a number of elementary schools, childcare centres and various non-profit community agencies.
Metrotown is strategically located and well-served by public transit and transportation networks, offering good automobile, bicycle and pedestrian connections to Downtown Vancouver and other centres. The Metrotown centre is served by two SkyTrain stations, two bus exchanges and several bus routes. It is also located a short distance from Highway 1 and the Vancouver International Airport offering convenient connections throughout the region and abroad.
Metrotown is experiencing a renaissance with many new mixed-use residential and commercial developments planned in the coming decade. These additions will see a remarkable transformation of the skyline which will reinforce Metrotown’s role as a premier residential, retail and office centre within the region and realize the City of Burnaby’s vision to create a sustainable and cosmopolitan urban centre to serve its residents.