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8

The connection between Downtown en North Vancouver

Although Stanley Park is a protected area, a motorway still runs through it. It is a

necessity to get from the centre of the city to North Vancouver. You also need to

cross a bridge because the spur of the Burrard Inlet lies between the two. That

bridge, the famous

Lions Gate Bridg

e, arrived in 1938. The person who took on

the entire financing of the suspension bridge was none other than Rupert Guinness,

from the eponymous successful Irish stout brewery. It was obviously not a selfless

gesture. The bridge offered him easy access to his land and properties on the other

side. And that he didn’t do it out of a feeling of humanity was also apparent from the

fact that he made the users of the bridge pay tolls, which earned him a nice penny.

From beer to a bridge: for a businessman that is only a small step. In 1955, the

family sold the bridge to the city council of Vancouver for the sum that it cost to

build. The toll system remained until 1963 but was then discontinued.

The airline that was created by chance

In the evenings they come home to roost like chickens: the many small seaplanes

of Vancouver that offer an indispensable air service between the various parts of

Vancouver and the surrounding islands. Row by row and colour by colour they are

moored per company along the jetties in the harbour. Who could have thought that a

simple radio man, son of an English immigrant, would be at the heart of what is now

an important branch of the Canadian aviation economy? Jim Spilsbury was the man's

name. With an electronics degree under his belt, the 18-year-old Spilsbury started

making sophisticated radiotelephones in 1923. The young fellow used a boat to take

his radios to the many isolated settlements, villages and camps on the west coast

of Canada. He did well, and his business soon expanded. But the large distances

were a problem. When petrol was rationed during the Second World War, Spilsbury

decided to take a different approach. He bought a seaplane so that he could fulfil

his deliveries in record time. Occasionally, he took a passenger with him and that's

how something that started as a coincidental side activity grew into Queen Charlotte

Airlines a few years later. When Spilsbury sold his company to Pacific Western

Airlines in 1955, it was the third largest airline in Canada. These things happen.

From Vancouver to Vancouver Island

Off the southwest coast of British Columbia lies the largest Pacific island of North

America. Vancouver Island, with a total area of 32,000 km2, is about the same size

as Belgium and Luxembourg combined. Between the island and the mainland lies

the Strait of Georgia. The Vancouver Island Mountain Range rears up like a gigantic

cockscomb in the middle of the island. The extensive mountain range cuts the island

t r a v e l i n g