The Legacy of Bridge Builders
When I first heard about this particular bridge, it was referred to as 'The Bridge to Nowhere'. That intrigued me, since bridges are usually built as a way to connect two points on opposite sides of something. So, I had to check it out.
It sits in the middle of an open field, straddling Nose Creek. Both sides are barricaded, making it impassable - definitely a bridge to nowhere, at least in its current state. It wasn't always this way though.
At one time, this bridge was vital to the development of the whole region. Built in 1928 by the Dominion Bridge Company, it provided easier access to the grain elevators, which were situated next to the railway tracks. The bridge is also known by other names that reflect its historical value: Edwards Way Bridge; 1928 Bridge to the Elevators; The Pony Truss Bridge.
This painting is one of a few creations I've done to honour this historic bridge. I've photographed it from every angle possible. I completed a linocut version of it for the city of Airdrie, as a way to help celebrate Airdrie's 110th birthday. Then, I painted a large ceramic bowl to be auctioned at a fundraiser called 'Empty Bowls', benefitting the Airdrie Food Bank. The composition for the painted bowl included a Great Blue Heron, as they are often seen perched or flying over Nose Creek. Now, I'm including it in my LEGACY 52 series.
There are so few of these landmarks left, making it important to preserve and protect structures like this one. It is rich with the stories of our agricultural heritage and was a critical piece of the infrastructure that enabled early settlements to thrive.
Fortunately, Airdrie also recognizes the legacy of this bridge, having passed a bylaw to designate it as a Municipal Historic Resource. Eventually, the bridge will be restored and put back into use as a section of the Trans-Canada Trail.
I hope I'm still alive to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony!