Cultural attraction for incurable romantics? Or potentially dangerous accident waiting to happen?
A few local lovestruck souls who copied a worldwide trend of literally putting a lock on their love — by locking a padlock to a bridge and throwing away the key in the waters below — attached the locks to a chainlink fence on the Burrard Street Bridge.
The locks started appearing around Valentine’s Day and soon multipled to a few dozen.
But the Vancouver city engineering department stepped in weeks later bearing boltcutters and the message that these love locks aren’t forever.
A city communications spokeswoman couldn’t provide someone to speak with The Province but said, “I can tell you that a safety concern was posed with the locks. Their removal ensures the safety and security of the people and boats located at the marina and walkway below, should one become loose or not be completely locked,” she wrote in an email.
“The removal was also about maintaining the appearance of the bridge and the ability of the fence to safely support a growing collection.”
Mayor Gregor Robertston’s assistant referred any questions about the decision to shut down the love bridge.
The “love locks,” a trend that picked up steam in the past decade or so but may date back to the 1980s, are popular in about three dozen countries, including in Asia, Europe, Australia and South America.
But some cities, including Toronto and Paris, have also cut down the locks, which sometimes bear lovers’ names or initials, over safety or esthetic concerns.
Vancouver putting the kibosh on the quirky landmark had some on Twitter rolling their eyes and reminding the city of its “no fun” moniker.
One of the tweeters, Alyssa Sy de Jesus of the public relations firm Magnolia Communications, said she was surprised to learn that Vancouver briefly had its own love locks bridge like the one she had seen while travelling in Italy.
“I thought it was a very cool cultural thing,” she said. “It proves that Vancouver is very cool and hip.”
She understands the city’s safety concerns, suggesting instead an alternative site that could serve as a tourism draw.
“You could create a designated love locks fence,” she said.
Port Moody city council agreed to do that two years ago after a proposal from a local couple intrigued by the lock-laden bridges they had seen on their travels.
But a spokeswoman yesterday said the idea never got off the ground and she couldn’t remember why.