Some Bridges in Ontario
I have always been fascinated by bridges. They let us cross over impassable obstacles such as wide areas of water, valleys, swamps and rough terrain. Bridges have influenced where we live, how we travel and where we travel. Bridge design can be uncomplicated and building material can often be found locally. Other bridges can be engineering feats and manufactured in one place but assembled in another.
The Cherry Street Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge is one of my favourite bridges in Toronto. Designed by structural engineer Joseph Strauss’s company, the bridge was built by the Dominion Bridge Company in 1930. Strauss was the lead designer of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. The Cherry Street Bridge spans the shipping channel that dissects Cherry Street and works on a counterweight system.
Another smaller bascule bridge (counterweight bridge) is located just north of the Strauss Trunnion bridge and it operates over Toronto's Keating Channel. If you've ever ridden your bike along the Martin Goodman trail south on Cherry Street you will know where this bridge is by the unsteady feeling created by the grates you have to ride over.
St. Thomas, Ontario is home to another one of my favourites. The Michigan Central Railroad bridge runs over Kettle Creek and Sunset Drive on the north western edge of the city. Originally built in 1871 - 1872. This amazing bridge is now an elevated park! Phase one is open for the public to enjoy and phase two starts in the autumn of 2018.
St. Thomas and this rail track are also the site of the very tragic death of Jumbo the Elephant . On September 15, 1885 Jumbo and a smaller elephant, Tom Thumb, were being led back to their cages across the tracks when they were hit by a train. Before becoming one of the main attractions of P.T. Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth” in 1882, Jumbo resided at the London Zoological Gardens (United Kingdom). A search for Jumbo in the Elgin County Archives brings up lots of interesting articles about the famous elephant and the commemorative plaque and statue erected in his honour. Via the Digital Archive you can view a children's book about Barnum and Jumbo. Check out the St Thomas Public Library's excellent local history resources for more about Jumbo and the importance of the railroad to the community.