Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Erection of the South Tower

The bridge’s 364-foot (111-m) steel towers were built on top of cross-shaped, steel-slab tower shoes bolted to the foundation piers. The 22-ton (20-t) tower sections, which had been fabricated at the Dominion Bridge plant nearby in Burnaby, were moved into position using a contraption called the creeper traveller. This was a stiff-leg derrick with a 30-foot (9-m) mast and a 50-foot (15-m) boom, capable of travelling up and down. It moved upward as the tower rose. Erection of the south tower began first. As it neared completion, workers placed the Union Jack — still the official flag of Canada at the time- on top as a celebratory symbol. Zoom in to see it in this picture. The south tower was finished on March 10, 1938, and the creeper was dismantled and transferred to the north side.

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WHAT
“Flying the Union Jack, a steelworker’s tradition when the top is reached. The south tower nears completion,” wrote photographer David Loughnan as a caption for this picture.

WHERE
This snapshot of the south tower would have been taken near the northern end of the new causeway through Stanley Park.

WHEN
This photograph was taken on March 9, 1938, almost a year after construction began.

WHO
The federal government formally replaced the Union Jack as Canada’s official flag with the Red Ensign in 1945. The current maple leaf flag took over in 1965.

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