As a city known for its breath-taking mixture of pristine peaks, lush foliage and flowing rivers and creeks; Vancouver requires a number of bridges to connect everything together. There are eight significant bridges in Vancouver, not including the Capilano suspension bridge. Three of the bridges cross over the Fraser River that borders Vancouver on the south-side, another three cross False Creek connecting downtown Vancouver to the rest of the city, and two extend over the Burrard Inlet to link downtown Vancouver to the North Shore. This article reveals the history behind the prominent Lions Gate and Second Narrows bridges and introduces the Golden Ears Bridge, the newest addition to Greater Vancouver’s bridges.
Lions Gate Bridge
The Lions Gate Bridge, also known as the First Narrows Bridge, is a suspension bridge that crosses the Burrard Inlet and connects downtown Vancouver (City of Vancouver) with the municipalities of the North Shore – the Cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. The bridge was entitled “Lions Gate” after the Lions, a pair of mountain peaks in North Vancouver. The bridge includes three reversible lanes, each containing overhead lane signals to indicate the direction of traffic.
Discussion regarding construction of the Lions Gate began in 1890, when many bridge builders saw the inevitability of a bridge that would extend across the first narrows. There was much debate on whether the bridge should be built; many argued that it would spoil Stanley Park, interfere with the busy seaport or take toll revenue away from the Second Narrows Bridge. However, others thought it was essential to expanding development on the North Shore and that many of the arguments against it could be overcome. It was not until 1933 that a majority vote for the bridge construction was obtained. Alfred James Towle Taylor, a member of the proposal team owned the provincial franchise to construct the viaduct; however, he did not have the funds to purchase the large sections of land in North and West Vancouver that were needed. Fortunately he was able to convince the Guinness family (of the well-known Irish beer) to invest in the project and fund the land that was needed.