When Wakefield’s famous red covered bridge caught fire in 1984, locals mourned the loss of a local landmark that had spanned the Gatineau River since 1915. Then, in 1987, they got to work building another one.
It took seven years to raise a sizeable enough portion of the $600,000 needed to reconstruct the Gendron bridge, and another four years to raise the rest of the money and finish construction. The under-structure was built from Douglas fir logs salvaged from log booms, while the siding was made of pine.
Builders constructed the bridge in two 43.9-metre (144 foot) sections, which were moved by truck and barge to the bridge site and levered onto the original concrete supports in September 1996. The whole move took five days and attracted lots of spectators.
However, there was still work to do, including installing the floor and roof, staining and installing the siding, landscaping the grounds, and building the staircase I used to make make my way down to river level and take this photo recently.
In October 1998, the new wooden bridge officially opened. Unlike its predecessor, which handled vehicular traffic, this bridge is open only to bikes and pedestrians. But in most other respects, it is built to the exact design of the older bridge.
I’ve taken many pictures of the Wakefield covered bridge over the years, but it’s so pretty that I always feel compelled to snap a few more, whenever I’m in the area.
There are lots of other things to see and do in Wakefield as well. The Fairbairn House Heritage Centre, not far from the bridge, has exhibits on local history and hosts concerts and other events. In the village itself, there are shops galore and several live music venues, including the ever-popular Black Sheep Inn. You can get a spa treatment, go for dinner and stay overnight at the Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa, housed in a former flour mill built in 1910 (which replaced a former mill built in 1838).
Throughout July and August 2017, I’ll be posting one photo a day that I’ve taken somewhere across Canada, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Want to see more photos in this series? Click the “Canada 150 photo” text in bold near the top of this post.