After sending a team of horses swimming across the Capilano River with a long rope in tow, the builder of the original Capilano Suspension Bridge could never have dreamed that his simple span would become a world-class attraction.
Built in 1889 by Scottish civil engineer George Grant Mackay, the 460-foot bridge was constructed of hemp rope and cedar planks. Once the bridge was in place, Mackay’s property became popular among his friends who took the name “the Capilano Tramps” to mark themselves as the adventurous types who would dare cross the swaying bridge. The crude original version was upgraded to a wire cable bridge in 1903. Then in 1910, the property was sold and began changing hands across the years as each subsequent owner built the bridge’s reputation as a world-class adventure tourism destination. The span was completely rebuilt in 1956 and is now under the purview of a small chain of rustic tourist attractions.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge continues to draw huge crowds of visitors every year and is now accompanied by the nearby Treetop Adventures, which consists of several wooden bridges suspended between a number of huge Douglas Fir trees. Not bad for something that started as a simple bridge built to entertain friends.