Archive Photos of the Day: Granville Street Bridge History

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Being a city surrounded by waterways, bridges are an important part of our history. Did you know we’ve had three Cambie Bridges over the last 100+ years? We’ve also had two iterations of the Knight Street Bridge, two Port Manns, and just one Pattullo. There have also been three Granville Street Bridges, which are the focus of today’s photo feature (with references thanks to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver):

First Granville Street Bridge 1889

Mayor David Oppenheimer presided over the January 4th opening of the first Granville Street bridge. This first modest wooden span was 2,400 feet long and cost $16,000 to build. Before the year was out electric streetcars would be crossing the bridge.1

1890. House with Granville Street Bridge and old C.P.R. Bridge in background. Archives# CVA 256-01.23.

Second Granville Street Bridge 1909

September 6, 1909, Governor General Earl Grey officially opened the new Granville Street Bridge. Lady Grey cut the ribbon. This bridge would last until 1954. It extended from Pacific to 4th, east of the original bridge. 2

1909. Steel workers on the swing span. Archives# CVA 1376-453.

1909. Opening of the Granville Street Bridge. Archives# CVA 1376-456.

1926. Billboards at the north end of the bridge. Archives# CVA 99-2259.

Third Granville Street Bridge 1954

Mayor Fred Hume told a special luncheon at the Hotel Vancouver on opening day (February 4, 1954) that they were celebrating the official opening of the largest single project ever attempted by the city – with no formal assistance given by any other government body. The eight-lane structure was built on the same alignment as the first (1889) bridge, but longer and higher (27.4 metres above False Creek). Steel plate girders salvaged from the second (1909) bridge made barges for constructing the foundations of the Oak Street Bridge.

The first “civilian” to drive over the 1954 bridge was the same woman who was first to drive over the second bridge in 1909. She had been widowed in between the two openings, and so had a different name… but both times she was at the wheel of a brand-new Cadillac.3

1954. Opening of the (current) Granville Bridge. Archives# CVA 216-2.40.

Granville Street Bridge

Granville Street Bridge over False Creek

False Creek reflections

Then & Now

1932. Archives# CVA 20-66.

From the Granville Bridge

1934. Looking north from the south end. Archives# CVA 99-4631.

Sunday Morning

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1, 2, 3 Source: Chuck Davis’ History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Photo Sources: City of Vancouver Archives & Vancouver Public Library.

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