This is the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, Canada. Suspended over the Capilano River, it’s a well known tourist attraction, drawing over 800,000 visitors per year.The word ‘Capilano’ derives from a First Nations term, Kia’polano, which means beautiful river. Looking down into the gorge at the tumbling waters, it’s easy to see how the place got its name. The first bridge on the site was built in 1888 by George Grant MacKay, who purchased 6,000 acres in the area and built himself a log cabin on the side of the gorge. His bridge was made of hemp rope and cedar, and lasted until his death in 1903, when it was replaced by a wire cable version.
The bridge passed through the hands of several families until the 1930s, when owner ‘Mac’ MacEachren encouraged local First Nations tribes to place their totem poles on the land. Subsequent owners expanded on this idea, and the modern cable bridge was built in the 1950’s.
Now, I’m not that great with heights. I’m especially not great with heights when the thing I’m standing on bounces and moves around, like the bridge does. I don’t care how many elephants or Mounties or whatever the bridge is supposed to be able to hold up – it just doesn’t feel right to me. However, I made it from one side to the other without (too much) incident – I won’t talk about the bit when my now-husband tried to ‘bounce’ us in the centre of the bridge – and here’s the photo taken from the other side to prove it.
When I visited, several years ago, the totem poles were there, as well as the log cabin gift shop with a few touristy photo opportunities ;-D Apparently, there is now also a system of suspended tree-top walkways, and a focus on the First Nations heritage of the area – I’ll have to go back for another visit next time I’m in Vancouver!
However, the forest remains deep and dark – I remember being amazed at the height and girth of some of the trees as we walked the trails, the river rushing white below us, just glimpsed between the branches. It was hard to believe we were only a few minutes from a busy residential area – rather, it was as though we had strayed into a piece of the old time, before Vancouver was Vancouver, when the land was wilder.
Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!
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