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Senkiw School Suspension Bridge

Franklin, Manitoba, R0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/02/08

Main view across the Senkiw School Suspension Bridge, Roseau River area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Main View
Contextual view, from the east, of the Senkiw School Suspension Bridge, Roseau River area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Contextual View
Detail view of the main tower, from the northwest, of the Senkiw School Suspension Bridge, Roseau River area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006

Other Name(s)

Senkiw School Suspension Bridge
Provincial Highways Bridge Site #6367
Swinging Bridge
Le site no 6367 du pont-routier des autoroutes provinciales
Pont suspendu

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1930/01/01 to 1930/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Senkiw School Suspension Bridge is a simple footbridge built in the 1930s and later reconstructed across a 50-metre span of the Roseau River, which winds through southeastern Manitoba toward the Red River. The municipal designation applies to the bridge structure.

Heritage Value

The Senkiw School Suspension Bridge, a vernacular version of a light-cabled bridge, is one of only four known pedestrian suspension bridges in Manitoba and the only one protected as a heritage site. The structure was a pragmatic response by residents in the isolated Senkiw area to the need for a reliable crossing over the Roseau River to enable their children to attend the local school. Rebuilt during the 1950s using salvaged farm implement parts, the bridge also is noted for its inventive support mechanisms, which stabilize the cables, the main structural components. The narrow crossing, known locally as the 'swinging bridge' because of its motion under live loads, provided year-round use until the school closed and now plays a pivotal role as a recently reconstructed link in a section of the Trans Canada Trail extending between Emerson and St. Norbert, a south-Winnipeg suburb.

Source: Rural Municipality of Franklin By-law No. 06-99, February 8, 2000

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the picturesque site of the Senkiw School Suspension Bridge include:
- its placement at a bend in the Roseau River, just off Cable Bridge Road at Senkiw, and near the former site, on the north side of the river, of Senkiw School
- the situation of the bridge in a surrounding landscape of deciduous trees, low-growth native grasses and shrubs
- clear views from approach paths to the bridge from both sides of the river and also from along the extent of the river's banks nearby

Key elements that define the bridge's resourceful design and construction qualities as a light-cabled pedestrian crossing include:
- the high, narrow, open form comprised of heavy steel cables suspended for approximately 50 metres over the river from two towers, secured to opposite anchors and carrying a simple wooden deck
- the main structural components, including the steel I-beam towers with support mechanisms above piers in the span, the suspension cables vertically separated by thin metal posts, the smaller steel cables used to anchor the towers, etc.
- the support mechanisms, including the west tower's cable tightening and locking apparatus made of threshing machine cylinders, plow shanks and other farm implement parts, the east-end pulley used as an anchor, etc.
- the plank deck flanked by chain-link guardrails
- the west-side bridge access features, including a wooden platform and two-metre ladder/staircase




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1950/01/01 to 1950/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Pedestrian Way
Bridge, Tunnel or Other Engineering Work


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Franklin 115 Waddell Avenue East Box 66 Dominion City MB R0A 0H0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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