Christmas is twinkling lights. It’s the universal part of the holidays that make, at least me, feel festive. The weather, food and traditions might be slightly or very different, but string up some twinkly lights and it’s immediately Christmassy.
In Australia you slip on your plugga’s and pile into the air-conditioned comfort of your car to cruise around checking out the decorated houses.
But in Vancouver, it’s decidedly chilly by the time December rolls around, and they seem take my twinkling lights theory to a whole new level. Coats, scarves, gloves and beanies firmly on, Mr M and I ventured out to experience the jolliest holiday destination in Canada. It’s a big call, but I’m making it.
Hundreds of thousands of little bulbs are strung between trees, over railings and down walkways at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I’ve read quite a bit about the park, including a lot of great blogs with beautiful pictures, but nothing quite compares to visiting at night during Christmas time.
It’s home to the world’s tallest living Christmas tree, standing at a staggering 46.6 metres (153 feet), a suspension bridge that spans the raging Capilano River and both the Treetop and Cliff walks.
If you’re not steady on your feet or scared of heights, this might not be the best place for you. It’s perfect, however, if you like a tiny bit of adrenaline running through your veins.
The bridge is 140 metres long and is suspended 70 metres above the river, which makes for a bit of a shaky trip over the water.
The first bridge was built after Scottish civil engineer George Grant Mackay bought land on either side of the river in 1888. A year later a footbridge was suspended between the two canyon walls. It was made of hemp rope and cedar planks
, which were swum across the river by a team of horses.
Since then, it’s been rebuilt, restored and reinforced quite a few times and today’s incarnation is anchored by cables encased by 13 tonnes of concrete on each side. Suffice to say, you’re safe even if it doesn’t quite feel like it as you bob and sway along the expanse.
The Cliffwalk follows the granite canyon wall and sometimes diverts out from it until you’re just standing over river with nothing but glass and steel between you. You might think it’s pointless at night, but you’re so very wrong. Coloured lights illuminate the rushing river below and sparkle through the trees along the walkway, making it seem like you’re floating in mid-air.
Then there’s the Treetops Adventure – letting you stroll amongst the rainforest canopy. This is where the lighting really dazzles as it reflects off a pond of almost-still water, creating a beautiful mirrored effect.
I could babble on forever, and I probably should considering all of the awesome photos Mr M managed to take. Especially since all of my amateur-hour photos turned out blurry as Uncle Paddy’s vision after a night down the local.
Suffice to say, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the place to be. It’s got Christmas written all over it.
Pin me for later!