Six fun facts about the Lions Gate Bridge

Whose baby shoes are encased in one of the entranceway sculptures? Who gave the bridge its sparkle?

• a 1927 attempt to build the bridge was rejected in a plebiscite. Some people didn’t want trees cut through Stanley Park to carve a path for the causeway while others worried it would reduce toll revenues from the Second Narrows bridge.

Alfred Taylor
Just before he died in 1945, Alfred Taylor, the engineer and entrepreneur responsible for the Lions Gate bridge, asked that his ashes be spread from the bridge. - North Vancouver Musuem & Archives

• the bridge was a personal passion of A.J. Taylor, a Vancouver businessman and engineer. It took him almost a decade to convince governments to approve the $6-million project. With the permission of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and financial backing of the Guinness family, who own the British Properties in West Vancouver, construction started in March 1937. Taylor’s baby shoes are encased in one of the lion sculptures that guard the southern entrance at Stanley Park and his ashes were scattered from the bridge in accordance with his deathbed wishes.

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Lions Gate Bridge 1939
The Lions Gate Bridge was a sign of hope at the end of the Great Depression. This image, circa, 1939, is from Sun Publishing and is courtesy of North Vancouver Museum and Archives. NVMA 1939-5 - Sun Publishing/NVMA 1939-5

• King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the parents of today’s queen, officially opened the bridge on May 29, 1939 during a royal tour of Canada. Early commuters were charged a 25-cent toll but tolls were removed from the bridge in 1963.

Lions Gate Bridge at night
Source: Kenny Louie/Wikicommons

• the lights which make the bridge sparkle at night were a gift from the Guinness family to celebrate Expo 1986. They were switched to more energy-efficient LED lights in 2009 and are expected to have a 12-year lifespan.

 

• everyone’s worst nightmare comes to life in the 2011 movie Final Destination 5. The Lions Gate Bridge gets a starring role when “survivors of a suspension bridge collapse frantically work together to try and outwit Death and its sinister agenda.” Perhaps not the best movie to watch if you stopped swimming in the ocean after watching the movie Jaws.

Lions Gate Bridge
In spite of its majestic beauty, there are times when having only three lanes of traffic makes commuters grumble. - Dan Toulgoet

• as rush hour commuters can attest, the bridge is very heavily travelled. More than 60,000 vehicles cross the province-owned bridge every day.

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