Lions Gate Bridge

    In the early 1930’s, the Guinness family had become interested in investing in West Vancouver as a place for development. Acting on the behalf of the Guiness family, a syndicate named the British Pacific Properties Co. made negotiations with the Municipality to purchase 4,000 acres of West Vancouver land. In 1932, the deal went through for a total cost of $75,000, a price that worked out to $18.75 an acre. As a part of the deal, the company had committed to build all roads, water lines, water tanks, a school, a and golf course.

    Yet, even with all the amenities that they had committed to build, the Guiness family knew that the success of their investment depended on getting better accessibility to the area. Thus, a proposal was made to create a new bridge to link to Vancouver. The details of the plan such as where it was to be built and the number of lanes were controversial issues and met strong protest. Yet, the benefits of having a bridge outweighed the protests, as it would create jobs and stimulate growth. So, construction work was allowed to go ahead beginning on March 31, 1937. After a year and a half of construction, the bridge was ready for operation.

    The newly constructed bridge differed from the current configuration of the bridge as it originally only two lanes. Yet, as had been foreseen, West Vancouver’s population boomed as a result of the new connection. Thus, to accommodate the increased population, the lanes were divided up into three with the middle lane acting as a passing lane. Another difference with the original configuration was that in an effort to recover the expenditure it cost to build the bridge, the Guiness family had toll booths installed. The toll booths remained on the bridge until 1963, at which time the bridge was purchased by the provincial government for the same price that it took to build it. Changes were made shortly after the takeover, as the tolls were removed and the overhead lane controls were added. The Guiness’ last involvement with the bridge happened in 1986, when they added lights to the bridge as an Expo 86 gift.

(Click on the thumbnail to see enlarged version.)

  Year Description Source
511construction.gif (12522 bytes) 1937-8 Lions Gate Bridge Construction - south pier foundation. LG
512southcaissons.gif (16076 bytes) 1937-8 Lions Gate Bridge Construction - south pier caissons. M.V. "Hollyburn" in background. LG
531wor~1.gif (13539 bytes) 1937-8 Lions Gate Bridge Construction -men working on viaduct - support tower, north approach. LG
154NStowers.gif (8885 bytes) 8th December, 1937 Lions Gate Bridge under construction showing North Shore. VPL
525n_approach.gif (12676 bytes) 1937-8 Lions Gate Bridge under construction - north approach facing south. LG
1658dr~1.gif (5842 bytes) 1937-8 Lions Gate Bridge under construction WVML
2228br~1.gif (4600 bytes) 1938 Lions Gate Bridge uder construction, north side. WVML