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Spanning across Burrard Inlet with the scenic backdrop of the Coast Mountains, Lions Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Vancouver. As well as being a major transportation link between Downtown and North and West Vancouver, the elegant design and scenic setting makes it one of the most photogenic spots in the city. Sure, the traffic during rush hour is an ever-present irk for Vancouverites, but most believe the bridge’s heritage and iconic design more than outweigh the horn-honking.
Named after a pair of peaks known as ‘The Lions’ in the North Shore mountain range, the suspension bridge was an engineering triumph when it was built in 1938 and remains one of the longest in Canada. Its existence can be attributed largely to the Vancouver businessman and engineer A.J Taylor, who spent almost 10 years trying to convince the government to approve its construction. Today, Lions Gate Bridge is a National Historic Site of Canada and must-see attraction when visiting Vancouver.
One of the best ways to see the bridge up-close is by walking along the famous Seawall trail from Stanley Park, which passes beneath its huge frame. Alternatively, you can take a stroll along the pedestrian walkway across the bridge deck for panoramic vistas of North Shore and Downtown Vancouver. Whichever way you choose to explore this magnificent landmark, it’s bound to have your camera itching for action with its impressive design and spectacular views.
A drive along the bridge offers some magnificent views, but the best way to appreciate the sheer scale and picturesque beauty is on foot. Take the Seawall trail that runs along the edge of Stanley Park for close-up views of the towering structure. The bridge can be seen from various points in the city, including Downtown Vancouver, but some of the best photo-taking spots can be found at Prospect Point Lookout, or with a boat trip from the harbour heading towards English Bay. You can also walk or cycle across the deck and enjoy fantastic views of the city, the ocean, the port and the Coastal Mountain range.
Though the bridge is impressive to look at during the day, it’s equally spectacular when the sun goes down and the LED light display kicks into action. These lights were a gift to the city of Vancouver from the Guinness family (yes, the same family who make the famous Irish stout), and have made the bridge one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city’s nighttime skyline.
Other points of interest include the two lion figures that stand over the south entrance to the bridge, which were made by the esteemed Vancouver sculptor Charles Marega.
Lions Gate Bridge connects Downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver and West Vancouver, crossing the First Narrows of the Burrard Inlet.
You can visit Lions Gate Bridge at any time of day. If you’re planning on driving across it, bear in mind that there may be lane closures and the roads can be congested during rush hour, so it’s worth checking traffic reports before setting off.
If visiting on foot, head to Prospect Point in Stanley Park for access to the bridge walkway. Access to the bridge is free.
The bridge is 1,823 metres long, so make sure you wear comfy shoes if you plan on walking across it.
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