Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flindon Road bridge revisited

I don't know why it never occurred to me to do this before, but better late than never.

Here are a couple of comparisons of views that are were taken, quite by accident, within a couple of yards of exactly the same spot, but nearly 50 years apart. One was taken in October of 1954 by James Salmon, and the other taken by me in, I think, August of 2007, before I had ever seen Salmon's photo. Salmon took his photo in the wake of the passage of Hurricane Hazel through Toronto. The water level in my shot, typical of what you'd expect to see in the Humber River, gives you some indication of the volume of water the Toronto region was dealing with at the time. It's a little chilling, actually, when I reflect now for the first time that several people who drowned upstream in Woodbridge would have passed by this spot only hours before James Salmon opened the shutter here.

Oddly enough, this bridge was one of those that survived the storm and remained in use. It was removed in the 1960s when it was superseded by the bridge that completed Albion Road across the Humber.


jim said...

I swear, Toronto has the most extensive system of former roads and bridges of any city in the civilized world.

barefoot hiker said...

I think it's a function of the city having four or five river valleys in it that were substantial enough to represent significant obstacles to transportation until about a hundred years ago. No Mississippis, of course, but on the other hand, rivers that provided for dinky little roads to snake down embankments and to humble little bridges that could handle one car (or horse and buggy) at a time. It's a nice middle ground that lends itself to a number of little roads and bridges that were important once but aren't anymore.

Bridgewater said...

Yes--and a function of the population growth that has taken place since those roads and bridges were built, and the consolidation that unites formerly small, independent communities, requiring links that accommodate not just one lane of traffic but two or four. In my old stomping grounds there are many roads crossing pasture rivulets, creeks, and gullies with little bridges a lane and a half wide that remain as they were 75 years ago because the surrounding towns have remained relatively stable in population, with gains roughly matched by the withering away of manufacturing and concommitant loss of jobs, and the exodus of retired folks to warmer climes. As long as smaller farms were viable the land remained in the hands of the families who had lived there for several generations, which almost certainly played a role in the fact that there's been little appreciable sprawl reaching out to nearby towns. So those small bridges continue to serve a basically rural population of dairy farms, orchards, and vineyards, with a few more houses along those roads than there were when I was growing up. That may change with the retirement of the current farm generation--fewer children, and fewer still who want to follow in their parents' footsteps. Easier and more profitable for them to sell the land to a developer. And there has been a minor influx of new manufacturing in a couple of those towns that may draw a new workforce, perhaps outpacing the emigration of oldsters as the Boomer bolus passes through the system. So far the area looks much as it was decades ago, and for now, Thomas Wolfe notwithstanding, I can go home again.