5 things you didn’t know about the Granville St. Bridge

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Each week we’ll uncover some unusual and (hopefully) interesting facts about the city. This week we take on the Granville St. Bridge.

1. This is the third incarnation of the Granville St. Bridge

City of Vancouver Archives, SGN 20

The original bridge was completed in 1889. It was largely designed by the CPR and cost $16,000. In 1891, the bridge was widened on both sides to accommodate streetcar tracks. The second bridge was completed in 1909 and was a longer, medium-level steel bridge (as opposed to timbre) with a through truss swing span.

2. If it weren’t for the bridge, Granville Island would be called “Industrial Land”

Photo courtesy of Granville Island.

Granville Island was initially named Industrial Island, but “Granville”, named after the bridge that runs directly overhead, was the name that stuck. Granville Island was completed in 1916, seven years after the opening of the second bridge.

3. A million cars crossed the current bridge in its first month

Photo courtesy of the Vancouver Sun archives.

The present Granville Street Bridge opened on a miserable February day, but that didn’t stop the crowds from turning out. Over 5,000 citizens celebrated the opening as Mayor Fred Hume bragging that the bridge was “the largest single project ever attempted by the city.”

4. It was a bridge worth bragging about

Steel workers taking a break during construction of the second bridge, 1909. Archives# CVA 1376-453.

In 1954, Barry Broadfoot of the Vancouver Sun reported that the new bridge was“ designed for the future” and was “the only (eight lane bridge) on the continent outside of New York City.” You can read more from that report HERE.

5. The same woman was the first to drive over the second and third Granville St. Bridge

Opening of the second bridge, 1909. Archives# CVA 1376-456.

The first civilian to drive over the 1954 bridge was the same woman who was first to drive over the second bridge in 1909. Both times drove herself from behind the wheel of a brand-new Cadillac.