Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Norris Cartoon: “…I wonder if they’ll get to the moon before we get to the office…?”

It didn’t take long for traffic to exceed the bridge’s capacity. With only two lanes, reconfigured in 1954 to three narrow 2.9-m ones, space on the span was soon severely limited. At the time the bridge was built, planners had estimated that only one in seven Vancouverites would own cars in the future. How wrong they were! Clogged traffic inching along at either end of the bridge became a regular feature of a Lions Gate crossing, and commentary about the “car-strangled spanner” popped up regularly in public forums. Other popularly noted bridge milestones included a 1982 stunt by University of British Columbia engineering students, who suspended a Volkswagen bug from it, and the installation of “Gracie’s necklace.” The latter, a string of lights that traced the span’s swooping cables, was lit up in time for Vancouver’s World’s Fair, Expo 86, and named after the local politician, Grace McCarthy, who spearheaded the idea.

Unlock history! Scroll down and click on thumbnails.

This is one of many Len Norris cartoons addressing the abysmal traffic situation that developed on the inadequate bridge over the years.

For 38 years, Len Norris’s work was a fixture on the editorial pages of The Vancouver Sun.

This cartoon ran in The Vancouver Sun on October 15, 1958. Only 12 years after the bridge was built, a newspaper editorial stated that traffic had outgrown the bridge’s capacity.

Cartoonist Len Norris joined The Vancouver Sun in 1950. His fame spread nationally; annual collections of his work became popular Christmas gifts. Selections may be viewed on Simon Fraser University library’s website.

More Pictures Below

© Copyright - MONOVA