CN Railway Bridge, Penticton Creek
55 Ellis Street, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
CNR Bridge, Penticton Creek
CN Railway Bridge, Penticton Creek
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The CN Railway Bridge is a timber bridge spanning Penticton Creek situated near the mouth of the creek on Okanagan Lake in Penticton, British Columbia.
The CN Railway Bridge is valued as a symbol of two important transportation systems in Penticton in the early 1930s. The bridge linked the CN docks and industrial spur lines on the Penticton waterfront east of Penticton Creek to the Kettle Valley Railway line, a CPR subsidiary, located to the west of Penticton Creek.
The waterfront area developed in the late 1800s into an industrial area and transport point connecting the paddle wheelers which plied Okanagan Lake between Okanagan Landing and Penticton, to land based transportation. When the Kettle Valley Railway was started in 1912, it traversed the slope east of downtown and passed through the central part of the City before crossing Okanagan River to head north to Summerland. A spur line, generally referred to as the Town Line, connected the main lines to the waterfront. By the 1930s an array of cold storage plants, fruit packing warehouses, and canneries were strung along the shore but there was no rail line connecting the industrial areas on either side of Penticton Creek.
With the growth of the fruit industry in the South Okanagan, the railway applied to construct a bridge over Penticton Creek so fruit and other commodities could be shipped on the Kettle Valley lines under a joint user agreement. Constructed in 1930, the bridge allowed CN to have a rail transfer barge in operation to transport rail cars from directly from water to land.
The Penticton waterfront industrial area thrived until the 1970s. With the closure of the Kettle Valley line, industries closed and the west side of Penticton Creek became a waterfront Park. In the early 2000s a waterfront pathway was completed between the creek and Penticton Marina. In 2005 the Japanese Gardens were built immediately east of the creek. The area in front of the previous CN headquarters and dock was developed as a park and the bridge became a gateway to the Gardens and the new park area. Today, the railway bridge is the sole remnant of Penticton's once bustling industrial waterfront and the two railways that served it.
The CN Railway Bridge is also valued as an example of industrial design from the railway era. This is illustrated by the use of heavy wooden timbers and cross ties surmounting solid wooden support posts. The bridge also adds to the continuity of transportation along the Penticton waterfront as evidenced by its conversion into a waterfront trail and its embellishment as a gateway to create an entrance into the Japanese Garden.
SOURCE: City of Penticton Civic File
Key elements that define the heritage character of the CN Railway Bridge include its:
-location in the historic industrial waterfront of Penticton
-flared east end, indicating splitting of tracks to sidings on eastern side of creek
-surrounding public park, walkway and art gallery
-original wood timbers and cross beams
-original support posts
-decorative Japanese gateway and railings
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
2005/01/01 to 2005/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Park Fixture
- Bridge, Tunnel or Other Engineering Work
- Station or Other Rail Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Penticton Civic File
Cross-Reference to Collection