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Driving on the Sea to Sky Highway in the 50s Looked Like a Rocky Adventure

sea to sky highway 1957

Photo: WestVan Library

Sea to Sky Highway is known as scenic cliffside drive showcasing “Beautiful B.C.”

It’s interesting to see it through the eyes of time and seeing how the highway has evolved. Although the road was officially built in the 1960s, people have been driving cliffside since the 1950’s. It offered the viewpoints, becoming one of the best road trip destinations. However, it has also had some fears for safety, along the 120km of curvy highway stretch.

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Sea To Sky – Pretty But Dangerous

The impeccably beautiful drive, sea on one side and the steep mountainsides on the other came with its dangers.

Being a a mountain highway it would encounter rain, snow, wildlife, and rockfalls, all of which affect driving conditions. It was always on a steep cliff, and many motorists have lost their lives due to: weather, poor visibility, speeding, passing slower vehicles, or drunk driving.

As a result, the highway has has many nicknames such as: “Killer Highway”, the “Highway of Death”, and the “Ski-And-Die Highway.”

Sea To Sky In The 1950’s

Take a look at the driving in the 50s, literally driving cliffside.

sea to sky highway
Photo: Gripped
sea to sky 1950s
Photo: Squamish History Archives
sea to sky highway 1957
Photo: WestVan Library

Paving The Road in 1960s

Actually building a paved road in the 1960s.

fixing highway 1960
Photo: Squamish History Archives
fixing the highway 1960
Photo: Squamish History Archives

Evolved Through Time – Still Be Careful

Even though the road has been built, paved with corridors in place, the road is still windy and requires being careful.

Take a look at a drive and compare over three time periods.

Because of rapid changes in elevation and weather the drive can sometimes be unpredictable. Quite literally starting off in sunshine in Vancouver and ending up encountering ice or snow in Whistler / Pemberton in the colder months.

One thing never changes though, that is the absolute beauty of the mountainside and views off the coast. What a sight, no matter the year.


For more blasts from the past, check out our History section.

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