- Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County - http://cabhc.ca -

Bay of Quinte bridges

With work beginning [1] on the Bay Bridge Road construction project last week, in this post we take a look at former projects relating to the bridges across the Bay of Quinte between Hastings and Prince Edward counties.

Bridge over the Bay of Quinte [2]Nick and Helma Mika’s 1982 book Bridge on the Bay of Quinte is a good source of information on the history of the Bay crossings, from the horse-powered ferries of the early nineteenth century to the first bridge, which was opened in 1891.

This bridge was described in The Belleville Daily Sun of May 31st, 1895 as

one of the engineering and mechanical triumphs of the age…It is the longest highway bridge in Canada, and the longest bridge of any sort in the Province of Ontario.

This photograph, taken from the Rossmore side of the Bay in 1910 shows the swing bridge part in action:

Bay Bridge in 1910 [3]

Bay Bridge in 1910: CABHC HC00355

The first bridge was a toll bridge until 1920, when the Province of Ontario, the City of Belleville and the County of Prince Edward paid $85,000 to purchase the bridge from the owners, the Belleville Prince Edward Bridge Company. In the winter of 1927-28 the steel trusses of the bridge were replaced with a rock causeway, with the exception of the swing section near Rossmore and a channel toward the Belleville end.

This photograph from The Intelligencer negatives held at the Community Archives shows the old bridge in 1982, looking down at it from its replacement when it was under construction:

New and old bridges, July 23rd, 1982. Photo by Sue Capon for The Intelligencer [4]

New and old bridges, July 23rd, 1982. Photo by Sue Capon for The Intelligencer

The Norris Whitney bridge officially opened on December 4th, 1982. The remaining metal parts of the former bridge were dismantled in March 1983 and today only the overgrown causeways remain as a reminder of the location of the first bridges across the Bay.

Causeway [5]

Research by Lois Foster