213 | The Catwalk by Capilano Flume

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The Catwalk by Capilano Flume
About 1900, 20th century
Silver halide
15 x 22 cm
This artefact belongs to : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
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Keys to History

The Capilano flume, which lasted from 1905 until World War I, was popular with people who enjoyed dramatic vistas while "walking the flume"--actually, its catwalk--on Sundays. Young daredevils also rode stretches of local flumes on the moving shingle bolts, which must have been both exhilarating and dangerous. According to local lore, infants, animals and objects that accidentally fell in didn't usually survive, and some people disposed of unwanted pets or garbage this way. Others illegally did laundry in the rushing water. The North Shore's various wet and dry flumes were feats of engineering, built by Native and Japanese workers through steep and rough terrain--with quite a few perishing in the process. The Capilano flume clung to the sheer Second Canyon 60 m above the river; at 14.5 km, it was the longest in North America. Another major one ran out of Lynn Valley to the Moodyville waterfront.

  • What

    Turn-of-the-last-century Sunday walkers pose on the 60-cm-wide catwalk along to the rushing Capilano flume, a water channel built to carry shingle bolts.

  • Where

    The Capilano flume extended from the Capilano Lumber Company's mill on Seven Sisters Creek through the Capilano canyons, then joined another one to Burrard Inlet on Vancouver's North Shore.

  • When

    Construction of the Capilano flume began in 1905 and continued through 1906 in the trickier canyon stretches.

  • Who

    The Burrard Inlet Flume and Boom Co. built the flume for the Capilano Lumber Co.