A historical black and white photo captures a wedding party on the first Capilano Suspension Bridge in 1889, offering a glimpse into the bridge's early days and its significance as a landmark for celebrations and gatherings

Our Story

Since 1889

Nancy Stibbard’s Forward-Thinking Vision

With her purchase of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in 1983, Nancy set out on a journey of development and phenomenal success. Her commitment to exceeding guest expectations and to creating truly memorable guest experiences guides every aspect of her approach to business.

Nancy found initial success in retail, enhancing the merchandise at Capilano’s Trading Post. She opened new stores in BC and Alberta, then purchased and rebuilt two luxury accommodation properties in the Canadian Rockies. In 2014, Nancy added Stanley Park Pavilion and Prospect Point Bar and Grill and Gift Shop to the Capilano Group portfolio.

Starting with the transformation of Capilano’s retail offerings through renovation and high-end brands, Nancy brought her retail acumen to Victoria and Banff. It was in Banff where she discovered Moraine Lake. Nancy purchased the old premises and opened the Arthur Erikson designed Lodge in 1992. Next came Cathedral Mountain Lodge purchased in 2002 and rebuilt in 2007. The two now represent the finest boutique accommodations in the Canadian Rockies.

Meanwhile Capilano Suspension Bridge continued to expand, adding award-winning experiences including Treetops Adventure in 2004, Canyon Lights in 2005 and Cliffwalk in 2011.

In 2014 Nancy added Stanley Park Pavilion and Prospect Point to her portfolio. Both were renovated to become hubs of social activity within Stanley Park.

Nancy always aims to give guests a seamlessly enjoyable experience, achieving this through a commitment to theme, keen attention to details and extensive team training.

guests on capilano suspension bridge 1911

Inspired by the Past, Looking to the Future

The Park has a rich history, getting its name, Capilano, from the Squamish Nation’s Kia’palano, which means “beautiful river.” The Park’s story is one of engineering feats, appreciation for the land and an eagerness to share its wondrous beauty with the world. It’s a testament to respect for cultural traditions and commitment to environmental conservation.

Timeline
  • 1888

    George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, arrived in the young city of Vancouver. Mackay purchased 6,000 acres of dense forest on either side of Capilano River and built a cabin on the very edge of the canyon wall.

    first owner george grant mackay of capilano suspension bridge
    original cliffhouse cabin 1900
  • 1889

    Mackay suspended a footbridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks across the canyon. Mackay enlisted the help of August Jack Khahtsahlano with a team of horses who swam the ropes across the river. The ropes were then pulled up the other side and anchored to huge buried cedar logs.

    A historical black and white photo captures a wedding party on the first Capilano Suspension Bridge in 1889, offering a glimpse into the bridge's early days and its significance as a landmark for celebrations and gatherings
  • 1893

    The bridge, and Mackay’s cabin, became a popular destination for adventurous locals, who were dubbed the Capilano Tramps. They made a long journey by steamship before ‘tramping’ up the rough trail to Mackay’s property. After his death, the hemp rope bridge was replaced by a wire cable bridge in 1903.

    canyon view looking up at capilano suspension bridge
    A historical black and white photo depicts a group of settlers known as the Capilano Tramps visiting the Park back when the bridge was first built, highlighting the bridge's early days and its role in attracting visitors to the area.
  • 1914

    Edward Mahon, who had arrived in Vancouver in 1888, purchased Capilano Suspension Bridge. In 1911, Mahon built the Tea House and continued to improve the property, reinforcing the bridge with additional wire cables in 1914.

    A historical black and white photo featuring Edward Mahon, the third owner of Capilano Suspension Bridge, with his family, providing insight into the bridge's ownership history and the family's connection to the iconic landmark
    A historical black and white photo showcases the original teahouse built in 1911, offering a glimpse into the early days of hospitality and leisure at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
  • 1934

    “Mac” MacEachran, a former forest ranger, purchased the Bridge from Mahon in 1935. Mac invited local First Nations to place their totem poles in the Park. In 1945, he sold the bridge to Henri Aubeneau and moved to California.

    mac macheachran with dogs at capilano suspension bridge 1934
    front entrance gate of capilano suspension bridge 1930
  • 1953

    Rae Mitchell purchased the bridge property from Henri Aubeneau, aggressively promoting his attraction to the world. In 1956, He completely rebuilt the bridge in five days, encasing the cables in 13 tons of concrete at either end. He also developed the trails on the west side of the bridge and converted the Tea House into the Thunderbird Banquet Room.

    A historical black and white photo captures current owner Nancy Stibbard as a young girl standing with her father Rae Mitchell, reflecting the family legacy and continuity of stewardship at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
    Capilano Suspension Bridge graces the cover of LIFE magazine in 1955, showcasing the bridge's iconic status and widespread recognition as a landmark of natural wonder and adventure.
  • 1983

    Nancy Stibbard purchased Capilano Suspension Bridge in 1983 from her father Rae Mitchell. Her goal, to elevate the Park from a mere stop-off to a world class destination attraction, was realized in less than ten years. Nancy’s incredible success has included induction into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in 2000.

    Owner and CEO of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park stands confidently, symbolizing leadership and stewardship of the iconic natural attraction
    Two visitors enjoy a thrilling stroll across the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge, suspended high above the lush greenery of the rainforest below
    A Great Blue Heron gracefully walks along the pond at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park on a sunny day, embodying the tranquility and natural beauty of the park's surroundings.
    A banana slug navigates the forest floor of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, showcasing the park's rich biodiversity and the unique beauty of its natural environment

    Leading by Example

    Dedicated to environmental stewardship, the Capilano Group strives to be a leader in the tourism industry. Environmental stewardship promotes and encourages superior environmental performance at all of the Capilano Group properties. By seeking to reduce the impact on the environment beyond measures required by governmental permit or rule, we will produce a better environment, conserving natural resources and ensuring our long-term sustainability.

    Environmental Stewardship

    • Committed partner to the Metro Vancouver zero waste challenge
    • Treetops Adventure won the 2006 APEGBC Environmental Award for Design and Construction
    • On-site composting and contracted services for organic waste
    • Wildlife partnerships with Raptors Ridge
    • On-site restaurants are members of the Ocean Wise Seafood program
    • Converted to the most energy-efficient bulbs and ballasts
    • Planted over 2,000 trees and shrubs in our rainforest over the last three years
    • Working towards our long-term goal of becoming a carbon neutral operation
    Team members dressed in historical costumes sing and play instruments for guests in the park, adding to the immersive experience of stepping back in time at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

    Meet Our People

    Our great guest experience is made possible by our wonderful team—including the friendly people greeting and guiding guests through the Park, the talented artists creating spectacular displays, and those working behind the scenes.

    Buy Tickets BC Annual Pass