Monday, December 09, 2019
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Posted at: Jul 14, 2019, 12:15 AM; last updated: Jul 14, 2019, 12:15 AM (IST)

Suspended high up in the air

Fear and excitement go hand in hand as one crosses the 230 feet high Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in British Columbia, Canada

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu

Every year, tourists from across the globe continue to dramatically soar at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver’s oldest attraction known for offering rare adventures in the best of British Columbia’s nature. Covering 27 acres of a rich rainforest with a grand Capilano river cutting through, it’s George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer who should be sincerely thanked. Having settled here in 1888, he purchased land on both sides of the river but to make it easier to go on the other side, he built a large suspension foot bridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks in 1889, which interestingly, as the name suggests, is the park’s core magnet.

After all, it hangs 230 feet above the roaring river and is 450 feet long. Fear and excitement go hand in hand as the bridge trembles while it’s being crossed. But, it’s more than safe since its hemp ropes stand replaced with cable wires, strong enough to even hold Boeing 747 with passengers on board, an intriguing fact that none of the tour guides there forget to tell.  

It’s truly the most photographed, often with a beeline waiting for turns for a click at a perfect postcard style spot.

When you are taking the cliff walk attached to the granite cliff that opened in 2011, it also winds in the air (300 feet) above the same river, and the moment you are on its glass floor path, looking down audaciously is certainly not everyone’s affair.

Of course, this engineering marvel must have drawn inspiration from the 1889 bridge and so would be the case for treetops adventure that includes seven suspension wooden bridges held by eight evergreen Douglas fir trees with an innovative tree collar system which turned blind eye to bolts or nuts, considering any harm they could cause to the trees.

Introduced in 2004, they too are fixed high, also reaching up to 110 feet, an opportunity to be on forest’s zenith and enjoy along squirrel eye views, often with sightings of exotic birds. Some bridges also bring you to the heart of the forest; making you hear the forest singing its own song and listening to it with closed eyes are many young and old, seen sitting unaccompanied or in petit groups.

On winter nights, every nook is creatively bathed in vibrant lights; with focus shifting to traditional Christmas theme in December. 

Each year many of its decorated trees also win the title of tallest Christmas trees in the world. Not to forget each of these winter nights are seen as an awaited festival, which is next scheduled from November 22 this year to January 26, 2020.

Equally engaging is exploring its story centre, a living museum that has chronicled the detailed history of the suspension bridge, the first settlers of Canada and many stories on Vancouver’s development through vintage pictures, murals and rare documents.

There are also some restaurants there with very natural ambiances. Worth a visit, once you step in, besides many aromas of food or coffee, the air also remains peppered with praises on many unique experiences in the forest park, which stands ticketed. While currently for an adult it is $54 Canadian but it varies for senior citizens, students and children. This includes free guided tours that take place every hour in small groups. 

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