Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-8

I was invited to join a group of media today to preview Cliffwalk, Capilano Suspension Bridge’s newest attraction, set to officially open tomorrow, June 3.

Nancy Stibbard, Owner and CEO of Capilano Group
[Nancy Stibbard, Owner and CEO of Capilano Group]

This is a marvel that took four years from start to finish, incorporating 12 design revisions. VP of Operations John Stibbard envisioned a breathtaking series of walkways offering unique views above the Capilano River.

John Stibbard, Vice President of Operations
[John Stibbard, Vice President of Operations]

John took the Capilano Suspension Bridge guest surveys to heart: Visitors were looking for a more interactive experience with the river. In May 2007, Stibbard rappelled down the east face of the canyon, finding the perfect location to start putting his dream into action.

Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-10 Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-21

Cliffwalk is set at 300 feet (91 metres) above the river and is split into a series of ascending and descending staircases, seven of which lead to a glass-bottomed platform. Our walk was taken on one of Vancouver’s wetter days, but even in these conditions, the fog, mountains, and river were spectacular.

Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-18

Each piece of Cliffwalk was custom built in a step-by-step process of surveying, engineering, and fabricating. Stibbard originally wanted to get closer to the river, but the amount of stairs needed would have been too overwhelming for the average visitor. The attraction tells the story of the power of water and its relationship to the area.

Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-27 Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-38 Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-22 Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-31

The design and construction also minimizes Capilano Suspension Bridge’s ecological footprint.

Signage along the way helps to educate visitors young and old alike. The information was provided by the David Suzuki Foundation. You’ll learn how water, granite, salmon, flora and fauna all interact with one another.

Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-23 Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-46

There’s even a model that recreates spawning salmon in the stream so that visitors can get a realistic picture of the salmon’s life cycle.

Capilano Sus Bridge Cliffwalk-43

Once the ribbon-cutting ceremony got underway, a group of school children were the first “official” guests on the attraction. They returned excited with smiles all around (answering journalists’ questions) before we got our chance to walk through.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony
[Kent LaRose, Duncan Wylie, John Stibbard, Nancy Stibbard, Marc Luc Lalumiere]

School children getting the first Cliffwalk experience
[Cleveland Elementary School students the first to experience Cliffwalk]

A few construction details:

– 1,825 bolts hold together the walkways
– Hand railings are made of 1,200 linear feet (365 linear metres) of stainless steel
– 80,779 pounds (40.38 tons) of steel construction, relying on 3D digital information to establish each piece of Cliffwalk’s geometry
– Safely supports a combined mass of over 100,000 pounds (just over 45,359 kg)
– Walkways are 20″ (50 cm) wide
– Cost of the project was $4.5 million dollars
– No two pieces are alike

Cliffwalk is located at 3735 Capilano Road in North Vancouver. You can catch a free shuttle from one of five downtown Vancouver locations. Visit the website for more details.

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More of my Cliffwalk photos can be found here.


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    […] previewing Capilano Suspension Bridge’s Cliffwalk attraction last month in the downpour, I felt a proper visit to the entire park was in order to […]

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  • Comment by Brian Herrin — November 17, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Had an opportunity to visit on November 17, 2011 after a rainy day when the water was running well and the waterfalls were very picturesque. The walk was extraordinary for its secure feeling and absolute solidity. Although suspended it was firm and very comfortable to walk. The 2 glass platforms added another dimension and although the pathway and glass were wet they were not slippery. I will definitely be back and enjoy it again. It is certainly a great spectacle with exposure, eagles flying and calling and water doing its work. Well done John et al!

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