Since it was first constructed from hemp ropes and cedar planks in 1889, the Capilano Suspension Bridge has been giving pedestrians crossing the Capilano River in Vancouver, Canada a reason to hold their breath and say a prayer. In over 100 years of operation, the bridge, which measures 446 ft long and sits 230 ft above the river, has not only enthralled millions of visitors as they cross the icy waters below, but has also garnered its fair share of macabre stories - read on to learn more about this legendary bridge.
The bridge was originally constructed in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and park commissioner for Vancouver. Initially a wood construction, in 1903 the bridge was replaced with a wire cable bridge, then being completely rebuilt in 1956. During the mid-20th century, local natives were invited to place their totem poles in the park, and the totems remain an integral part of the park today. But it wasn’t until 1983 that the bridge was really met with some serious foot traffic. After changing ownership once again, the Capilano and the local forest were transformed into an eco-theme park called ‘Treetop Adventures‘.
Treetops Adventure was and still remains the first venue of its kind in North America, carefully preserving the land while bringing visitors closer to natutre. The 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. The park also features rain forest ecotours, 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 surrounding forest. It is estimated that over 800,000 visitors come to experience the bridge annually, making it one to the top attractions in all of Canada.
With over a century of history under its belt, the bridge is not without strange stories. In 1999, a woman dropped her 18-month-old, disabled child off the bridge, claiming that she stumbled accidentally and the child slipped from her grasp. The child was not seriously injured, but was taken from the mother’s custody by officials. Another strange incident occurred in 2010 when a teenage tourist on a class trip from California climbed over a railing and fell nearly 100 feet from a fenced off viewing platform near the bridge. Unfortunately he did not survive, and official RCMP findings reported that the teen was on LSD at the time.
The bridge is open year round, and is sure to provide for great memories — that is if you can handle the vertigo.