Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Clearing the Way for Stanley Park Causeway

Cutting a swath through Stanley Park to create the bridge’s southern access causeway was a controversial move. At the time, some citizens feared that the clearing would ruin the heavily forested park’s natural beauty. Nevertheless, work for the bridge began in March of 1937 with the clearing. Here a work gang is using a steam shovel to help clear the 66-foot-wide (20-m) right-of-way. Although care was taken to preserve the largest and finest trees, which accounts for the road’s sweeping curve, the cleared area still totalled 10 acres (4 ha). The causeway controversy re-emerged six decades later over the province’s plans for a bridge upgrade. With widespread popular support, Vancouver’s Park Board severely curtailed the widening of the causeway, a decision that helped limit the bridge’s refurbishment to an upgrade that stuck pretty closely to the original.

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WHAT
Causeway construction was the first major task of the bridge project, since a roadway was needed to bring building supplies to the south tower and south end of the bridge.

WHERE
This is in the middle of Stanley Park. Opposition to the bridge project, which forced a plebiscite in 1933, focussed on the damage a causeway would do to Vancouver’s premier park.

WHEN
This work took place in the spring of 1937. Project financing and slow federal-government approval delayed the start of construction for four years after the Vancouver plebiscite.

WHO
Workers cleared the causeway with hand tools in addition to horsepower, trucks, and the steam shovel shown here; it was a labour-intensive job.

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