Located just off of Capilano Road in North Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a major tourist attraction in Vancouver that attracts over 800,000 visitors every year. The Bridge is an iconic part of North Vancouver, and for many residents it is an important part of the city. The bridge itself is 140 metres in length and sits 70 metres above the Capilano River. An estimated 2200 visitors make their way to the 27 acre park each day.
The bridge was constructed in 1889 by a Scottish engineer by the name of George Grant Mackay and was originally built using hemp ropes a cedar planks. Over the years, the bridge has been improved upon by adding wire cables in 1903, and then entirely rebuilt in 1956. The bridge has had many different owners over its 125 year lifespan, and has received supplementary attractions and improvements such as totem poles being introduced, and later the tree-top adventure.
Additions to the park include the treetops adventure which consists of 7 small suspension bridges connected to evergreens up to 30 metres above the forest floor, allowing visitors to walk among the squirrels and see the forest from a new perspective. This adventure allows visitors to walk among the giants including 1300-year-old old growth Douglas Firs. This award-winning attraction utilizes a highly innovative compression system which does not use any bolts or nails minimizing its impact on the trees.
Moreover, the park has added the cliffwalk which provides a cantilevered walkway which clings to a granite cliff high above the Capilano Canyon. The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park also offers a variety of guided nature tours, a Kids’ Rainforest Explorer program and the Living Forest exhibit. Like the treetop adventure, the cliffwalk utilizes only 16 anchor points that support the structure which minimizes its impact from an environmental standpoint.
Staff at the park is known to dress up in 1890’s costumes and traditional first-nations clothing in order to further enhance the experience for visitors. The Capilano Suspension Bridge has the largest private collection of totem poles in the world, including some that date back to the early 1900’s as well as many others that were carved on-site. The trading post, which dates back over 100 years, sells a wide variety of Canadian gifts and souvenirs for visitors to remember their visit. The Capilano Suspension bridge also hosts seasonal events such as the Canyon Lights in December where the entire park is beautifully decorated with bright, colourful lights.