Metro Vancouver History: Massey Tunnel

Sunday, July 15th, 2012 — 8:34am PST
Comments 2

On this day in 1959, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself presided over the grand opening ceremony for the Deas Island Tunnel, known today as the George Massey Tunnel.

(Left) 1957 – Banner for the tunnel construction. VPL Accession Number: 41357.
(Right) 1957 – Aerial view of construction. VPL Accession Number: 41355

The premier [W.A.C. Bennett] handed the Queen a costly pair of silver scissors, and she gave him a dime for them. The coin-for-scissors trade is an old British custom, which holds that if the giver of a cutting implement does not receive a coin in return, the friendship between the giver and the receiver will be cut. [Source: Vancouver History]

(Left) 1959 – Tunnel entrance. VPL Accession Number: 41361B.
(Right) 1958 – Walkthrough. VPL Accession Number: 41340B.

This stretch of highway connecting Richmond and Delta/Ladner is the lowest point of any public road in Canada, dipping 20 meters below sea level. It actually opened to traffic in May of that year but the ceremony took place in July. Tolls were applied until 1964 and it was renamed in honor of Delta MLA Nehamiah “George” Massey in 1967.

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  1. TylerIngram says:

    I still call it the Deas Tunnel…ah well. I have to go through it everyday now 🙂

  2. Gudrun says:

    I was there!!! (5 years old) living in Ladner ….my girlfriend’s grandparents took us to go watch the queen drive through the tunnel – she was in a convertible and her vehicle was driving north – we were watching from the side of the road (1st exit south of the tunnel). I seem to remember that she was standing in the convertible because it was very easy to see her.

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