Connecting downtown Vancouver with the North Shore through Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in Vancouver.
The Iconic Lions Gate Bridge
The Lions Gate is a three-lane bridge, which means that traffic is sometimes two lanes one way and one way the other, and vice versa depending on traffic flow needs. It sounds confusing, but it’s not too bad – just make sure not to travel in the middle lane when you see the red “X” overhead.
HISTORY TRIVIA: The Lions Gate Bridge was built by Ireland’s famous Guinness family and completed in 1938.
Tips and Advice
Below is some useful advice and general information about the Lions Gate Bridge.
TIP #1: The bridge usually has two lanes heading into downtown Vancouver at rush hour in the mornings, and two lanes heading back to the North Shore at rush hour at the end of the day. Try your best to time your travel at peak times so you don’t get stuck in traffic heading in the more congested direction.
TIP #2: If you know it’s going to be busy, and it’s not out of your way, consider taking the 6-lane Iron Workers Memorial Bridge (a.k.a. the Second Narrows Bridge) instead. It’s not as pretty a route, and less direct to downtown, but it’s less likely to be congested at peak times. Also, listen to the radio traffic reports at AM 730 to find out if there are problems.
TIP #3: One of the best ways to cross the Lions Gate Bridge is by bicycle. A beautiful bike ride to and from downtown Vancouver is along Coal Harbour, through Stanley Park, and then over the bridge into North Vancouver (turning right) or West Vancouver (turning left). The only way to cross from one pedestrian sidewalk to the other side is at the overhead or underpasses before you get on the bridge at either end.
Lions Gate Bridge Photo Tips
Below is some information for people wanting to take photos of the Lions Gate Bridge.
PHOTO TIP #1: You can take beautiful photos of West Vancouver from the west-side sidewalk of the Lions Gate Bridge, with the best time being the first half or so of the day (unless you want to catch the sunset).
PHOTO TIP #2: Equally stunning photos of downtown Vancouver can be taken from the east side sidewalk, with the sun at its best in the late afternoons (and into the evenings in the summer). Very occasionally, on particularly clear days, you can sometimes see Mount Baker in the distance, which can make sunrises especially beautiful.
PHOTO TIP #3: Some of the best photos of the Lions Gate Bridge itself can be taken from the north side of the Stanley Park seawall, from the Prospect Point Lookout at Stanley Park, from Ambleside in West Vancouver, and from the water (like from a Harbour Cruise boat heading in the direction of English Bay).