The Capilano Suspension Bridge has been a Vancouver attraction since 1889 when George Grant Mackay, the man who owned the land on either side of the Capilano River, built a footbridge out of cedar planks and suspended it over the canyon using hemp rope. The bridge and the park that has developed around it is still privately owned and, to my mind, far too commercialized and far too pricey for what it offers. There are heaps of forest walks and plenty of other bridges to be accessed for free on the North Shore as an alternative to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It’s on those walks and to those bridges where I take my out-of-town visitors who want a taste of the region’s rainforest.
However, sometimes out-of-town visitors have an agenda of their own and you end up tagging along wherever they want to go. I’m easy. I mean, it’s their vacation, right? And who knows? I might learn something new or see something spectacular.
Such was the case when last week a friend of mine in town for the holidays wanted to see the Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. In its tenth season, these light displays are part of the park’s massive efforts over the past decade to draw in more and more visitors.
And here was the surprise for me: the Canyon Lights are tasteful and magical, and I highly recommend them as a Vancouver tourist attraction if you happen to be visiting during the holiday season.
Here, take a look. (Click on any photo to open up the slide show.)
Capilano comes from Kia’palano, the name of a Squamish chief during the early 1800s. It means “beautiful river.”
One last note: if you have a fear of heights, Capilano Suspension Bridge might not be the place for you. But here’s a pro-tip: in the dark, you can’t see how high up you are!