Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Biscuit Tin with Lions Gate Bridge Image

Since the Lions Gate Bridge was a powerful source of civic pride, its image was quickly co-opted to sell products. The artist who created the scene on this biscuit tin was almost certainly based in Great Britain, where the tin was manufactured. Interestingly, he saw fit to imbue the relative wilderness of Stanley Park with bucolic touches, exaggerating the low fence and pasture scene to the right of the bridge’s entrance. This employment of artistic licence probably sprung from attitudes in the motherland towards its rough imperial outposts, as Vancouver was still viewed in the 1930s. The name of the Lions Gate Bridge also reflects this colonial heritage. Although there is a double-humped mountain called The Lions on Vancouver’s north shore (not actually visible from the bridge deck), the name also refers to the lion symbolizing the British Empire.

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WHAT
This biscuit tin from Scotland was produced for the Canadian export market. Ongoing immigration from the United Kingdom meant especially strong sales in British Columbia.

WHERE
Foodstuff tins of this era made widespread use of landmark images. It is not surprising that the longest bridge in the British Empire was soon reproduced in this way.

WHEN
While this tin was manufactured in the early 1950s, the lid’s painting is based upon a 1939 photograph by Leonard Frank. Embellishments include the cars, scenery and a modern vessel.

WHO
This tin was produced by Gray Dunn Biscuit Manufacturers. The company was established in 1853.

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