Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pony truss trip to Norwich

Saturday P-Doug and I headed west along the 401 to the vicinity of Norwich to photograph a wonderful little pony truss bridge that's been well-maintained and is still in use on a road called Middletown Line over Otter Creek, just south of a hamlet called, appropriately enough, Otterville. Sounds like my kind of place. :)

Modest, serviceable one-lane pony truss bridges of this sort used to proliferate all over southern Ontario. Most of them went up in the 1920s, replacing older wooden structures all over rural Ontario, and were themselves slowly replaced mostly in the 1960s as urbanity came to what had been places with slower paces. The northern parts of Toronto saw any number of these bridges vanish about this time. A notable one for me was the one that once carried Lawrence Avenue East across the East Don River until about 1963, when it was superseded by two six-lane box girder bridges a few hundred feet to the north, and then torn down.

N.B. Thursday, March 24, 2011 -- So apparently P-Doug was a bit miffed I didn't record that I'd found his ability to locate the bridge without recourse to a map during the whole drive quite impressive... so I'm correcting that oversight now. :)

Up until about 1960 or so, this is almost exactly what you would have seen crossing the East Don River westbound on Lawrence Avenue East, including the sharp turn to the right. That view vanished in 1963, but you can still get a sense of it here, below, in Otterville.

A little later on that day we were in northern Peel Region, exploring a trail that used to be a rail track, with an eye to coming back in warmer weather. Below you can see that there are beavers in the area, as well as human beings out to best them. Hey, Paul... Paul Bunion...

Heading home, these are some shots of the 401 eastbound from about Pearson Int'l Airport to the Don River.


jim said...

Sweet little bridge there.

Lone Primate said...

Thanks, isn't it? :) And the best part is, where it is, as well-kept as it is, it looks like it will be around for a long time yet. Even when it's past its roadworthiness, I hope they'll keep it as a fishing platform or the like.