Erected in 1875, Blackfriars Bridge is one of the oldest and rarest bridges in Canada. The bridge spans the north branch of the Thames River, connecting Ridout Street to Blackfriars Street. It also provided pedestrians, cyclists and motorists a connection between segments of the Thames Valley Parkway located along the banks of the river and from the west end of the city to the core. While it’s been closed for repair for some time it remains one of the defining icons of the city and work is underway to restore it to its former glory and make it useful once again.
Memorable or Unique Characteristic(s) :
- distinctive bowstring arch-truss configuration
- one of only three predominantly wrought iron bridge structures remaining in Ontario
- designated as a Heritage Structure under the Ontario Heritage Act (Part IV) on April 21, 1992
- one of only nineteen WIBC bowstring arch-trusses remaining in the United States and Canada. Of these, ten are closed, abandoned or stored in a warehouse; five have been converted to pedestrian use, and three are open to one-way vehicular traffic. As of 2013, Blackfriars was the only such bridge carrying two-way vehicular traffic
- At 216 feet (65.8 meters) it is the longest working span of thist kind in North America
- the Blackfriars Bridge has figured in various artistic works, visual and literary
There has been various repairs over the years and on September 5, 2017 the City of London approved the most ambitious to date – $7.9 million will be spent to rehabilitate the bridge which will include it being removed and completely refurbished indoors over the winter.