Called the ‘Car Tangled Spanner’ by locals, this bridge once had a suicide lane. You see, it was built with three lanes, the middle one being a passing lane—for cars driving in both directions!
Today the 60,000 daily commuters who cross the Lion’s Gate have been saved this particularly ghoulish Russian Roulette, and we now have a counterflow system. That is, traffic lights in the middle lane face both directions and are adjusted to smooth the flow of traffic, especially during rush hours.
As for how the Lion’s Gate Bridge got built, for that we can thank the Guinness family of Ireland, of beer and Book of World Records fame. They put up about $6 million to build our bridge. After charging a twenty-five cent toll to drivers for a number of years, they made back their original $6 million dollar investment. And then sold the bridge to the city for another $6 million—doubling their money! The luck of the Irish indeed.
Hard to believe this gorgeous sunken garden was once a quarry where workers “macademanized” the lava rock used to build Vancouver’s first roads.
Just as remarkable, hidden under the parking lot is a water reservoir which is Vancouver’s main source of drinking water.
Nowadays, Queen E. (as locals call it) has as its main claim to fame the two sunken gardens and the views of the city. One hundred and fifty two meters above sea level, Queen Elizabeth Park is the highest point in Vancouver as well as the geographic center of the city, and has spectacular views of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains.
Follow the path to a bridge that overlooks a waterfall. Beyond, a winding path leads you to the bottom of the sunken garden with its garden beds and pond.
Back at the top of the garden, the dome-shaped building is The Bloedel Conservatory, an indoor tropical garden with over 500 plant species, and dozens of tropical birds.
If you’d like to keep exploring, just behind Bloedel Conservatory is an open square with a fountain, a wedding chapel, and shaded boardwalks. Depending upon the time of day, you’ll see everything from artists to tai chi groups, from wedding parties to master gardeners.