The Lions Gate Bridge spans the first narrows in Burrard Inlet, connects Vancouver to the North Shore, and is one of the most iconic structures in the city. Built by the Guinness family to encourage development after they bought the side of a West Vancouver mountain, the suspension bridge was tolled from the time it opened in 1938 until 1963.
Project 200, 1968. Note we’ve kept Woodwards but nixed the 1914 Seabus station. Image courtesy Tom Carter
Gordon Price called it “the most important thing that never happened” to Vancouver, and certainly if Project 200 and the rest of the freeway plans had gone ahead, Vancouver would be virtually unrecognizable today.
I went to the District of North Vancouver offices to pick up some money owed and was promptly redirected to the City of North Vancouver offices five minutes down the road. It made me wonder yet again why we are running two completely separate bureaucracies for a relatively small population. It also made me think about Warnett Kennedy’s plan to turn North Vancouver into a second downtown Vancouver.
A few people that I know have sold their large houses and downsized to Norgate, one of the few flat areas of North Vancouver just to the east of the Lions Gate Bridge. Norgate is also one of the few areas that hasn’t seen massive change to its housing stock—a collection of modest-sized, tidy mid-century ranchers with big gardens.
I spent the last three months of 2015 working on an interactive project called Water’s Edge for the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. We started at Indian Arm and went a little west of Ambleside to find the stories that would show the massive changes that have happened to the shoreline and to Burrard Inlet.