Bridges at the Chaudière Falls
In 1827, ropes were stretched across the channel below the Chaudière falls, and the first footway, called the Swing bridge, was constructed [Lett 1993]. The first arch of the initial bridge erected across the Ottawa river at the Chaudière falls was the one nearest to Wrightstown (later renamed Hull) on the north shore of the river. It was built of dry stone, and collapsed as soon as the centres were removed. A second bridge was built by Philemon Wright after a rope had been fired across using a cannon. Eventually a suspension bridge was in place, but this structure was overturned by a violent gale. Construction on another bridge began immediately, and was completed in the summer of 1827. Colonel By had a toll gate established in 1829 to help pay the construction costs [Dewar 1989]. The bridge collapsed in 1836, and a ferry became the only commercial link between Wrightstown and Bytown at that point. In 1842, construction was begun on yet another bridge, and Alexander Christie, son of Dr. Christie, carried out the masonry work. The superstructure was taken over by D. Wilkinson & Son, and the result was a series of seven bridges forming the Union bridge. The first two spanned the slides and formed the Slides bridge, the third was the Suspension bridge; the fourth was a stone bridge between the north pier and Wrightstown; the other three structures were side bridges made of timber, one to Victoria Island, another to Albert Island, and another named Pooley’s bridge after an officer of the Engineers under whose charge it was constructed. The entire system was completed only after Bytown had become Ottawa [IHACC, Elliott 1991].