Capilano Road, North Vancouver, BC, V7R 4J1
Phone: (604) 985 7474
Open daily 9:30-17
It was about 1890 that George Mackay discovered the spot,
where Capliano Suspension Bridge now stands. Impressed by
the beauty of the land, he built a cabin for himself and
his wife. Then, with the help of local natives and a team
of horses, he pulled taut the first cedar plank and hemp
rope bridge 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano
Mackay's friends began their journey to the bridge by
crossing Burrard Inlet abroad the S.S. Senator. A long
trek up the rough trail that is new Capilano Road led to
their being dubbed, Capilano Tramps. The encumbrances of
their dress did little to deter the spirited adventurers,
who steadily visited the bridge. It was such a popular
attraction that a second, and more secure, wire bridge was
built in 1903. Another wire bridge, with both cable ends
firmly encased in concrete, was built in 1914.
In 1911, the Tea House (now the Trading Post) was built on
the edge of Capilano Canyon. Later, during 1930s, bridge
owner, Mac MacEachran, initiated the tradition of inviting
local natives to place their totem poles on the grounds.
The totems, you see here today, are maintained in the
exact condition, in which they were received about 1940.
This is unlike many of the poles, you may see elsewhere,
which have been allowed to deteriorate with the passage of
During this 1930's Depression, two Danish carvers, Aage
Madsen and Karl Hansen, arrived at the Bridge to sell
their craft. In return for provisions and shelter in a
small shack, on the far side of the Canyon, they carved
the life sized native Indian statues that are scattered
throughout the Park. The European perception of natives is
apparent in the Plains Indian attire of the figures.
The only exception is the carving of Mary Capilano, who is
dressed in typical West Coast fashion with papoose Mathias
Joe Capilano on her back. Mary was the only local native
the two carvers had actually met.
In 1956, the present bridge was built. This time the
pre-stressed wire cables were encased in 13 tons of
concrete at either end.
Several attractions have been added to the Park in 1990s,
including The Story Center and Living Forest Exhibits, the
cantilevered deck along the Canyon edge, The big house
native carving center, the Pioneer Garden and the Loggers'