Amongst the bridge-themed birthday cake and small talk about architecture yesterday afternoon on Sunset Beach, just below Burrard Bridge, a special reveller stood quietly.
“It was always daddy’s bridge,” said Elizabeth Keatley, who was three years old when the bridge first opened.
Keatley’s father, Major John R. Grant, designed the Burrard Bridge, 75 years ago this summer.
Not everyone loved the bridge when it was built: some locals called it a “monstrosity.”
Big for its time, and at a cost of $3 million, the 1930s Art Deco style, with exceptionally large pillars, was fashionable then and continues to be fashionable today. It was also built for streetcars, but those plans were dropped when the recession hit.
Grant served in World War I and he designed the torches found on each end of the bridge as an ode to the heaters found in trenches. But with Vancouver’s population more than doubling since 1932, many proposals are out to expand the bridge’s capacity.
Latest plans to expand the sidewalk around the pillars and to replace railings are opposed by Heritage Vancouver, which organized yesterday’s festivities.
The changes would ruin the bridge’s heritage value, said Anthony Norfolk of Heritage Vancouver.