A Coda to Commemoration

Work on the Burrard Street Bridge began in December 1930; the steel and concrete vision of architect GLT Sharp and engineer Major John R Grant officially opened on July 1st 1932. The art-deco styled, steel truss bridge, with its central piers, overhead galleries and figure head sculptures crossing False Creek, connecting Kitsilano and downtown Vancouver, originally cost $3 million and was hailed as a ‘symphony of steel and concrete’ by the Vancouver Sun. The restoration project and rehabilitation of this historic landmark recognized the importance of preserving this bridge with its heritage elements including its lighting and Military Service memorial and cost an approximate $35 million in 2018.

At either end of the bridge, four Art Deco lamp standards were also erected in 1932 to commemorate and honour Canadians who served during the First World War. They were designed by Sharp and Grant as well; both war veterans themselves. There were 3800 prisoners of war during WWI and the outdoor braziers used in the prisoner of war camps for warmth and comfort were symbolically recreated on top of the standards as a memorial to their service. The original standards were replaced in 1965 due to corrosion and subsequently required further repair when the bridge was restored in 2016-17. The concrete standards have been replaced in their original positions on the bridge. The lighting inside the braziers today uses LED technology. A bronze memorial plaque was installed in recognition of the service of all Canadians in other wars and peacekeeping missions. A re-lighting ceremony was held on January 23rd 2018. The effect simulates a flickering flame at the entrance and exits of the bridge and completes the light restoration.

Plaque Text:

Installed in 1932, the lighted braziers at the top of the four towers on this bridge memorialize British Columbians who served in the First World War. The braziers have been restored and symbolize the service by all Canadians in subsequent wars and peacekeeping missions.

2018

City of Vancouver

Veterans Affairs Canada

Royal United Services Institute Vancouver

Vancouver Heritage Foundation