Now over 75 years old, the venerable Burrard Bridge is one of Vancouver’s true landmarks.
This stunning structure, the ceremonial entrance to both downtown Vancouver and False Creek, has been evaluated as an ‘A’ on the City’s Heritage Register. The Burrard Bridge, with its sculptural details, including intricately decorated towers and entrance pylons with flaming torches – a tribute to Canadian World War I Prisoners of War – is one of the only pure Art Deco bridges in the world.
Opened in 1932, the bridge has remained substantially intact, except for the removal of its original light fixtures.
The current City of Vancouver’s re-purposing initiatives threaten to significantly compromise the Bridge’s original design. For years the City has been seeking ways to better accommodate cyclists; many options have been on the table including lane closures, improved use of the Granville Street Bridge, a separate cyclist and pedestrian bridge, and a bikeway under the bridge.
Despite Heritage Vancouver’s support for all these options, the City has remained steadfast in selecting the widening of the Burrard Bridge at the roadbed level as its only option. Heritage Vancouver, Heritage Canada and worldwide Art Deco organizations have consistently spoken with one voice in opposing this option.
The City will vote as early as April on a consultant’s proposal to widen the bridge by about twenty feet with outriggers and shiny new metal railings, marooning the landmark entry pylons in a sea of pavement. If you have trouble imagining the impact of outriggers, picture “your grandmother with a stainless steel hula-hoop over her ball gown”. It is time for Vancouverites to let our city councilors know that we are opposed to spending at least $50 million to destroy one of our most iconic works of art.