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Huron-Metcalfe Street Bridge

Huron-Metcalfe Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 19, 2013

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Guelph: Wellington County, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Metal Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1909 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
3 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

Bridge Status: Demolished and replaced.

This bridge was built to carry pedestrian traffic only over a railway, which is today owned by Canadian Pacific. The railway runs along the edge of small ridge-like formation, so there is a stairway leading down southeast of the bridge, but northwest of the bridge there is no stairway leading up. The walkway connects Huron Street to the southeast to Metcalfe Street to the northwest. The bridge is a through plate girder that rests on tower-style metal bents. The columns of  the bents are made using a special type of built-up beam called a Phoenix Column. These were a patented beam design manufactured by the Phoenix Iron Company of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Representing a creative approach to the design of structural steel, surviving examples of structures built with Phoenix columns are both rare and historically significant. In Canada, very few bridges with Phoenix columns have been found to be surviving today. This bridge has a great amount of heritage value, although this does not currently appear to be recognized by the city or local residents. Phoenix Columns are so rare in Canada it is likely that few people even know what they are or why they are significant.

The bridge appears to retain good historic integrity, with the only major alteration appears to be the possible replacement of bracing between the Phoenix Columns. The Phoenix Columns remain intact and unaltered. The stairways leading to the bridge do not appear to be original.

This bridge serves its function for pedestrians well. However, the bridge is showing signs of deterioration. This is a significant heritage bridge and it should have been given the highest preservation priority and rehabilitated. Instead, Ontario did the unthinkable: The bridge including the last known surviving Phoenix columns in all of Ontario were completely demolished and replaced. At the very least, the Phoenix columns should have been placed in a park or a museum. To send the last known Phoenix columns in the entire province to the scrapyard is truly tragic and shameful.

Above: Photo of the replacement bridge. Photo Credit: Denis Belton

Above: Photo of the replacement bridge. Photo Credit: Denis Belton

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Phoenix Columns


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Maps and Links: Huron-Metcalfe Street Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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