New spiral Skywalk attraction to open on Vancouver Island in Spring 2021

Nov 20 2020, 2:56 pm

Construction on the new Malahat Skywalk in southern Vancouver Island began about a year ago, and the tourist and recreational attraction is now targeting for a Spring 2021 opening.

The $15-million attraction’s main feature will be the 32-metre-tall (105 ft) wooden Skywalk, which will have a observation height of 32 metres (105 ft) perched on the edge of the Cowichan Valley — about a 30-minute drive from Victoria, and just under one hour from BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay terminal.

The viewing platform atop the Skywalk is 250 metres above sea level, which is accessible by a gentle spiral ramp ascending from the forest of Arbutus trees. The platform offers panoramic 360-degree views of Finlayson Arm, Vancouver Island, and the distant Coast Mountains.

malahat skywalk vancouver island

Attraction map of Malahat Skywalk. (Malahat Skywalk)

malahat skywalk vancouver island

3D visualization of the Malahat Skywalk. (Tom Barratt Landscape Architects)

A new access road from Highway 1 leads to the parking lot for the attraction, which includes a welcome centre, cafe, and gift shop.

From there, a 650-metre-long elevated walkway above the forest, with interpretive features throughout, leads to the spiral observation structure. There is also a 750-metre-long natural trail at ground level through the forest.

malahat skywalk vancouver island

Artistic rendering of the Malahat Skywalk’s Welcome Centre and parking lot. (Tom Barratt Landscape Architects)

malahat skywalk vancouver island

Artistic rendering of the Malahat Skywalk’s pathways. (Tom Barratt Landscape Architects)

The entire attraction is expected to take about 90 minutes to experience, including 40 minutes for the elevated walkway and Skywalk ascent, and 20 minutes on the nature trail.

Art made by members of the Malahat First Nation will also be featured at the attraction.

 

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Similar spiral lookouts have been built elsewhere in the world, and there are also plans to build a similar attraction atop the Sea to Sky Gondola.

The Sea to Sky Gondola version of the concept extends from a 2.5-km-long elevated tree walkway through the trees and over the wetlands along Panorama Ridge to reach a 34-metre-tall (111 ft) wooden spiral walkway that provides 360-degree panoramic views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains.

Construction was scheduled to begin in Fall 2019 for an opening in Spring 2020, but operators were hit by destructive acts of vandalism that caused the gondola to collapse on separate occasions in August 2019 and September 2020, and the COVID-19 impact on tourism.

Prior to the latest act of vandalism, Sea to Sky Gondola operators planned to commence construction on their Sky Spiral in Spring 2021. Their work is currently focused on rebuilding the gondola attraction for a reopening next year.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Artistic rendering of the spiral elevated walkway at the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish. (Sea to Sky Gondola)

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