Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge and West Vancouver

The visionary behind the bridge, businessman Alfred Taylor, chose a suspension design for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. First of all, it was economical — the bridge cost a total of $5.6 million. Second, it could be built high enough not to interfere with marine traffic. Here a coastal steamer can be seen passing below the span with plenty of clearance. Third, the beauty of several North American suspension designs, such as New York’s Brooklyn Bridge (1883), had already become legendary. With the Lions Gate Bridge, Taylor hoped to give Vancouver a landmark in the same category as the Golden Gate Bridge, which was under construction in San Francisco and opened in 1937. From viewpoints such as the Stanley Park seawall, shown here in the foreground, the citizens of Vancouver were able to watch the bridge being built and can still admire the finished product today.

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WHAT
This promotional photograph of the view from the Stanley Park seawall shows the CPR’s coastal steamer SS Princess of Vancouver passing under the Lions Gate Bridge.

WHERE
This photo looks northwest to West Vancouver, where significant development had taken place. The bridge’s marine-traffic control booth is prominent in the centre of the span.

WHEN
This picture was taken on January 20, 1960. To judge by the coatless observers on the shoreline, it must have been a particularly warm winter day.

WHO
The Dominion Bridge Company, one of the firms involved in building the bridge, owned this documentary photo that clearly shows the bridge’s look and location.

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