Plaza Bridge

The Plaza Bridge in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is an automotive and pedestrian bridge that crosses the Rideau Canal just south of the Ottawa locks. It joins Wellington Street and Elgin Street in Centretown to the west with Rideau Street to the east. The Chateau Laurier abuts the bridge at the east end, while Parliament Hill is just beyond the west end. It is the northernmost bridge over the canal, just north of the Mackenzie King Bridge.

The bridge is constructed of three masonry spans. The western span is over a roadway along the western bank of the Canal. The central span is over the Canal. The eastern span is over a former railway tunnel running along the east bank of the Canal.

History

The Plaza Bridge was originally two bridges across the Canal. Prior to the 1930s, Queen Street extended across the Canal. Several buildings, including the Russell Hotel and Ottawa's first City Hall, existed in the place of today's National War Memorial. As part of the building of the public square around the Memorial, the two bridges were combined. The space between the bridges was filled in, making a wide bridge on the western side narrowing to the east. Elgin Street was re-routed around the Cenotaph, southbound traffic along the west side of the square, and the northbound section along the path of the southern bridge. In the 1990s, the bridge structure was renovated, adding an extra access to the canal via a staircase in the area between the original two bridges.

Sappers Bridge

Sappers Bridge was one of Ottawa's Ottawa's first bridges (Bytown at the time), built in 1827 over the Rideau Canal connecting Rideau Street in Lower Town with Uppertown. The bridge got its name from the builders, the Royal Sappers and Miners. It was demolished in mid 1912. The current Plaza Bridge connecting Rideau Street with Wellington Street near the Rideau Centre stands roughly in its location.

Construction:

In late September 1826, there was no suitable location on the south side of the river from which to direct operations, so Colonel By set up his base of operations in Wrightsville. On September 26th, Dalhousie presented Colonel By with a letter authorizing him to divide the land into lots, and sod was turned. These two facts seem to indicate that there was no real settlement in Bytown at this time. However, by October 18, John MacTaggart writes "We have laid out two Villages, and all the lots are taken up; it surprises me to see the anxiety the people have to become citizens here".

The bridge was a stone arch. Colonel By laid the cornerstone. The eastern end connected driectly to Rideau Street, and its western side joined with a wagon trail that winded its way to where it met Wellington and Bank. The land east of Bank Street had been acquired from Nicholas Sparks by the military, who returned it to him in late 1849, where he commenced its development. Thereafter, Sappers Bridge became connected directly to Sparks Street.

Demolition:

Between 1910 and 1912, the area saw a lot of construction, principally the construction of the Union Station and the Chateau Laurier, as well as the need to move railway traffic along the Rideau Canal's eastern side, under the bridge bypassing the west side of the Chateau Laurier and continuing on towards the Royal Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge. The bridge itself was part of this new centralized railway station.

In 1912, both the Sappers Bridge and the Dufferin Bridge were demolished in favour of Connaught Place, today part of Confederation Square. By late July 1912, the bridge is demolished to allow for the development of Connaught Place (now Confederation Square) In 1915, two of its stones were placed on the site of Colonel By's home in Major's Hill Park.

Dufferin Bridge

The dufferin bridge was under construction in 1874, forming a triangle with the existing Sappers Bridge. In 1912, both the Sappers Bridge and the Dufferin Bridge were demolished in favour of Connaught Place, today part of Confederation Square.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com