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Caledonia Bridge

Caledonia Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: January 1, 2007

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Argyle Street Over Grand River
Caledonia: Haldimand County, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Concrete Rainbow Through Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1927 By Builder/Contractor: Randolph MacDonald Company of Toronto, Ontario

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
72.58 Feet (22.12 Meters)
Structure Length
700 Feet (213.36 Meters)
Roadway Width
42 Feet (12.8 Meters)
9 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge's future is at risk!

View The Official Demolition and Replacement Website

View The Grand River Watershed Heritage Bridge Inventory Report For This Bridge

The Caledonia Bridge is one of the most significant and impressive bridges in Canada. The bridge is recognized as the longest rainbow arch bridge in Ontario. It may be the longest bridge of its type in all of Canada, thanks to its unparalleled number of spans. Rainbow arch bridges are often also called bowstring through arch bridges. The bridge's structural material is reinforced concrete. The spans of this bridge are large, compared to many other rainbow arch bridges in Ontario, and they tower over the average sized car. In addition to their height, the Caledonia Bridge is equally impressive in terms of its quantity of spans, and its total length, which make this an impressive and graceful structure without compare. The bridge also is unaltered from its original design and thus has good historic integrity. It is a key landmark for Caledonia and this heritage bridge should receive the highest preservation priority.

 The site of the current Caledonia Bridge has a long history of being the location of an impressive and noteworthy bridge. In fact, the existing bridge replaced a bridge which was itself rather significant, a large, six example of a Whipple Arch truss that was built in 1875. Each of those spans were 105 feet (32 Meters) in length. A large brick toll-keepers residence was also built near the north end of this bridge. This toll house remains in place today. At least one portion of this 1875 bridge collapsed due to overloading by a truck in 1925, prompting an interest in seeking construction of a new bridge which would lead to construction of the existing rainbow arch. This bridge was built in 1927 by Randolph MacDonald Company of Toronto, Ontario. The engineer for the structure was A. B. Crealock from Ontario Department of Public Highways.

As unbelievable as it may be, this landmark heritage bridge is slated for demolition and replacement. The loss of this bridge would not only deprive the local community of a unique landmark, it would deprive all of Canada of heritage bridge that has no equal. While other bridges of this structure type remain elsewhere in Canada, most are no more than two spans in length, and certainly not the impressive nine spans seen with this bridge! Ironically, the only other bridge that even comes close to this bridge is the seven span bridge in Waterloo Region which is also over the Grand River and ironically has been rehabilitated. Surely the Caledonia Bridge is worthy of the same! The replacement bridge is being advertised as a "signature" bridge. However, the replacement bridge will be devoid of any heritage value. Only through the preservation of the existing bridge can the heritage value continue to exist. Moreover, it is the experience of HistoricBridges.org that modern bridges are incapable of offering the level of beauty, particularly in terms of intricate detailing, than any heritage bridge. What should be done here? This bridge could be preserved for continued two-way vehicular use. A second one-way bridge could be constructed to form a one-way couplet of bridges to increase traffic capacity. Or, a new two-way bridge could be built next to the existing bridge and the existing heritage bridge could be preserved for pedestrian use. With all these sorts of alternatives available, there really is no reason to demolish this bridge. As such, the demolition of this bridge would only be a short-sighted waste of history and beauty.

More information is available in this book.

Click here to view a YouTube video about the bridge.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Caledonia Bridge

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Structure Overview
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A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
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Structure Details
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A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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