Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

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Introduction 19395 988.43.2 11238 362 13282 1601 1618 1772


Since 1938 the elegant Lions Gate Bridge has been a Vancouver icon. The slender suspension arch spans Burrard Inlet at the First Narrows, marking the entrance to Vancouver's harbour and connecting the north shore to Stanley Park and the city centre. Conceived as an investment scheme to help develop the view-blessed slopes of West Vancouver, it soon became one of the city's most important thoroughfares. Construction of the bridge provided work at the tail end of the Great Depression. In turn, the structure became a beacon of progress and hope for better times. Traffic has outgrown the bridge's capacity over the years, causing much angry as well as jovial public commentary. By the 1990s, when the provincial government debated the bridge's long-term fate, the citizens of Greater Vancouver recognized its value as a significant heritage landmark. The span was partially renovated and -- love it or hate it -- still carries only three lanes of traffic, but offers the fabulous views for which it has been famous for more than seven decades.