Capilano Suspension Bridge – Canyon Lights

canyon-lights-drone-dec-2015This was our 3rd venture out into a bitterly cold wintry night (-6C/21F), this Christmas Season, to view the Canyon Lights, at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver. We had intended to take my dad, grandson and daughter-in-law, but our grandson had a bad cold and fever, so Judi stayed at home with him. While we have visited the suspension bridge many times, normally when hosting friends/family from UK, this is our first visit to the Canyon Lights display, with this being the 11th season for the display of lights. It certainly won’t be the last.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

The first suspension bridge was constructed in 1889, by a Scottish Civil Engineer and land developer, who had purchased 6,000 acres on both sides of the river. Originally a hemp rope and cedar plank bridge, it provided access to his cabin built on the opposite shore.

02_bridge-549x366Current suspension bridge

 Purchased by the Mitchell family in 1953, the bridge was completely re-built in 1956, being about 460′ (140m) in length and is suspended over 200′ above the Capilano River.

Admission tickets are valid for the entire day, with the Canyon Lights activities commencing about 16:00. At about $40, admission is on the pricey side, but for BC residents we receive a complimentary annual pass, when purchasing a single admission. Exceptional value.


Dad and DIL Heidi at the entrance plaza

To miss Vancouver’s traffic gridlock we arrived shortly before 16:00, when we still had the last vestiges of daylight, so after passing through the entrance plaza we wandered through the heated gift shop.

Departing the gift shop we headed to the “Cliff Walk” entrance, asking the attendant how many stairs – he advised about 80 down and 100 back up at the far end. My dad is 86, but was game to participate. On entering, you descend tight spiral stairs that hang off the edge of the cliff and are over 100′ above the canyon. The spiral entrance was the most challenging component.


Dad & Heidi on the cliff walk


Once on the level section you proceed along the walk, which as seen above, is literally suspended off the canyon wall.


The walkway is well built and you are completely safe, but it is a long way down to the canyon floor.


Cliff walk from the first of many platforms as you head back up to the top of the canyon wall. The exit climb was rather easy, comprising numerous groups of stairs interspersed with platforms, which were a great excuse to stop for photo ops.


Cliff walk with lights



At the exit is a large deck with a walkway through the forest that leads back to the main building and suspension bridge. The above photo has a small waterfall and tree lights.


Another light display on the walk back to the suspension bridge from the cliff walk exit.


Gift Shop and surrounding tree lights

On completing the cliff walk, complete darkness was upon us, so it was time to venture out onto the suspension bridge. The bridge provides some exceptional vistas, but at night the continuous swaying of the bridge did not permit long exposure photography.



Suspension Bridge from opposite bank looking at the entrance

Getting crystal clear and sharp photos of the bridge lights is almost impossible with my equipment, due to the continuous movement of the bridge with people crossing. The above 2 photos were the best of many taken.


Walkway around the small lake

Moving off the platform on the opposite bank, we walked along the boardwalk around a small lake, which had numerous white spheres and other decorations and lights.


Lighted bird & spheres suspended over the lake


Wide angle shot at end of lake with reflections


Completely smooth lake provided amazing reflections


Tree with spheres and reflections


Heidi & my dad with hanging spheres in background

Having walked the short distance around the lake we headed back across the bridge, taking some photographs of the lights around the gift shop.




The 4th excursion to the Stanley Park Bright Lights and Christmas Train will be published in the next few days.

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