Capilano Suspension Bridge...
Oct 9, 2009
|Today we visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge located just a few miles outside the city of Vancouver. As we entered, there was a nice display with the history of the bridge in loose-leaf binders. While reading them, it didn't take long to realize that we needed the coats we left in the car, so Larry went back to the parking area to retrieve them. The temperature was in the high 50's and while we were in the sun a sweatshirt was adequate. But once we entered the shade of the trees it was much cooler.
We learned that the bridge was originally built by George Grant Mackay. The year was 1888. And George Mackay had a problem. He'd just bought some acreage of dense forest on Vancouver's North Shore and built a cabin on the edge of a canyon wall, but had no way to cross the canyon. So, ever so delicately, he built a small suspension bridge from some hemp rope and cedar wood he had nearby. And the rest, as they say, is history. But what a history! It's the love story of a teenager and the middle-aged man she married... It's the story of one man single-handedly restringing the bridge in five days... It's the story of a secret child, rum-runners, and native statues carved by two Danes in exchange for food!... And much, much more.
The bridge was replaced with a wire cable bridge in 1903. In 1910 Edward Mahon purchased the Capilano Suspension Bridge. "Mac" MacEachran purchased the Bridge from Mahon in 1935 and invited local natives to place their totem poles in the park, adding a native theme. In 1945, he sold the bridge to Henri Aubeneau. The bridge was completely rebuilt again in 1956. The current bridge is 450 ft long and 230 ft above the river. The park was sold to Nancy Stibbard, the current owner, in 1983.
In May 2004, Treetops Adventures was opened. This new attraction consists of seven footbridges suspended between old-growth Douglas Fir trees on the west side of the canyon, forming a walkway up to 98 ft above the forest floor. As well as the bridge itself and Treetops Adventure, the park also features rain forest Eco-tours, award-winning gardens, nature trails, North America's largest private collection of First Nations totem poles, period decor and costumes, and exhibits highlighting the park's history and the surrounding temperate rain forest.
The bridge has been featured as a setting in episodes of several television series, including MacGyver, Sliders, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, and Psych.
My pulse quickened as I stepped onto the swaying planks but I must say I loved it! I'd learned that even though it sways and creaks, it's very, very strong. Strong enough to support the weight of ten heavy-duty military fighter planes. Strong enough to handle the 850,000 visitors each year. So it certainly can support Larry & I, right????
Crossing the canyon we dropped by the Living Forest display to check out the creepy-crawlies (and models big enough to scare any little sister!) We continued to stroll through the rain forest, wandering past trout ponds and some grand old-growth evergreens.
Next stop, Treetops Adventure where we walked from one magnificent Douglas fir to another via 7 elevated suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 100 ft above the forest floor. What a unique perspective, wonder if this is what it feels like to the squirrels? LOL
A bit more exploring and we were ready to cross the bridge, back to civilization. I do have to mention that at $29.95 for adults & $27.95 for seniors, plus $5 to park, it felt a bit pricey. But it was a fun experience, and we are glad we went, at least once! Hope you enjoy the pics & videos...