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 and has spectacular views of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains. And you get some of the best views from the hill-top restaurant, Season’s in the Park.
Inside the restaurant, the lounge area has a welcoming fireplace, the elegant dining room has expansive views, and the outdoor tables are decked out with natural wood decor. And just outside the restaurant doors, you can follow the path to a wooden bridge that overlooks a waterfall. Beyond, a winding path leads you to the bottom of the sunken garden with its plethora of garden beds.
Between the restaurant and bridge you’ll pass a dome-shaped building, The Bloedel Conservatory, an indoor tropical garden with over 500 plant species, as well as dozens of tropical birds flying about freely.
If you’d like to keep exploring, just behind the Bloedel Conservatory is an open square with a fountain, a light and airy chapel for weddings, and if you come early in the mornings, groups practicing Tai Chi on the boardwalks surrounding the fountain. In the afternoons in the summer, the open area near the clock is filled with local artists. This is a park you can visit a thousand times, and see something new with each stroll.