West Montrose Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge Drive
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The West Montrose Covered Bridge is a late 19th century covered wooden bridge that spans the Grand River in the rural village of West Montrose. Connecting Hill Street, Covered Bridge Drive and Rivers Edge Drive, the bridge is just over 200 feet in length and covered with red-painted wood panelling and a gable roof.
The property was designated in 2007 by the Township of Woolwich as being of cultural heritage value or interest under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 60-2007).
The West Montrose Covered Bridge has also been listed on the Ontario Bridge List, a list of provincially significant bridges maintained by the Ministry of Culture, and is recognized by a plaque erected by the Ontario Heritage Trust.
The West Montrose Covered Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario and the second oldest surviving bridge in the Region of Waterloo. It was designed by a local contractor, John Bear, who, with his brother Benjamin, constructed the bridge in 1881 as a replacement for an earlier open bridge at the same location.
Originally, the bridge was constructed solely of wood. Over the course of more than a century, a number of improvements have been made to maintain the function and integrity of the bridge. The bridge materials today are a mix of wood, stone, asphalt, concrete and steel, representing not only the evolution of bridge technology but also the stewardship of the township, the region and the province. While the materials have been altered from the original, the form of the bridge designed by John Bear has been largely retained.
The 'Kissing Bridge', as it was appropriately nicknamed due to the intimacy and privacy that the covered bridge offered its travellers, is an iconic structure. It is a prominent and recognizable feature in arguably one of the most picturesque landscapes in Ontario. It is also representative of the early history of Woolwich Township and of an earlier time in the village.
Source: Township of Woolwich By-law 60-2007.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the West Montrose Covered Bridge include its:
- original location, spanning the Grand River in the Village of West Montrose, at the location of an earlier bridge
- original dimensions of 208 feet in length and 17 feet wide
- original truss configuration, a hybrid Queen Post – Howe timber configuration, reinforced by a recycled 1944 Bailey steel truss structure
- central pier
- wood exterior sheathing and interior panelling, punctuated by louvered window openings
- shingled gable roof
- system of illumination by decorative electric interior lamps
- views to and into the bridge from the north and south banks of the Grand River.
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
2007/01/01 to 2007/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Bridge, Tunnel or Other Engineering Work
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Township of Woolwich
69 Arthur Street South
P.O Box 158
Cross-Reference to Collection