Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

A.J. Taylor and Associates

Vancouver businessman and engineer Alfred James Towle Taylor (confidently seated in the middle) envisioned the bridge as a means of connecting the downtown city core with the development potential of the north shore. He foresaw that the view-blessed slopes of West and North Vancouver were ripe for residential settlement, including the élite British Properties he created and designed with the team in this photo. Taylor spent years tussling with government and marine authorities over the desirability and dimensions of the Lions Gate Bridge. Eventually he got the support of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and the project went ahead. Taylor needed investment capital to fund the almost $6-million bridge, plus another $4 million for land development. He found his backers in the British Guinness family, including Lord Southborough, whose descendents own large tracts of prime north shore property to this day. Taylor’s ashes were scattered from the bridge, in accordance with a request he made on his deathbed.

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WHAT
This is Alfred Taylor with his associates from British Pacific Properties Ltd., the company behind the élite residential development in West Vancouver.

WHERE
This photo was taken in the Capilano Estates section of the British Properties, in West Vancouver. The group was finalizing plans for the development, including a golf course.

WHEN
This picture was probably taken in 1935. Taylor and his friends were planning not only the bridge, but also the British Properties development that made the span necessary.

WHO
Standing (left to right): landscape architect James F. Dawson and golf-course architect Stanley F. Thompson. Seated (left to right): John Anderson, A. J. T. Taylor and G. S. Conway of British Pacific Properties Ltd.

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