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Historic Bailey Bridge, Scarborough, Ontario

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A view through the trees of the Bailey Bridge over the Rouge River in Scarborough (suburban Toronto area).

On October 15, 1954, deadly Hurricane Hazel stalled over the Toronto area and caused severe flooding. This bridge was constructed by the army in three days after Hazel destroyed the original bridge. A plaque has been erected beside the bridge commemorating the efforts of the 2nd Field Engineer Regiment in their valuable contributions in providing disaster relief and aid after the hurricane throughout the Toronto area.

Bailey bridges are portable, pre-fabricated truss bridges and were developed by British engineers during WWII (adapted from an original design by Donald Bailey, a civil engineer in the British War Office, who built model bridges as a hobby). Both the British and American military engineering units made great use of this bridge during the war.


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Thanks, as always, Francine! If you take a virtual walk, like McD62 suggested, you realize that the road has sharp curves into the bridge from both directions and hence the traffic lights.


Thanks, Li! I went for a different view here since this is open while the trees are bare. Next time, I'll try to work my way down to the river and try from that angle. Since you can see many examples of these bridges in their entirety on-line, I wanted to put this one into a different context. I'm glad that you liked it.


Thank you, Ank. I'm glad that you liked my photo of this bridge and info.

I read that you still have three of these bridges in use on the Leopoldkannal and that the one at Lievebrug was the "last one was build by the Canadians during the Switchback Operation to liberate Zeeuws-Vlaanderen in 1944". Have you seen them?


Very interesting, Michelle. Thanks for photo and info.


I enjoyed the info, too. The picture is great, even without the historical background. Thanks, Michelle!


Very beautiful also thanks for so much info.


Thank you, McD! What a great idea. (You can even see someone breaking the rules and riding a bike when you head east... lol!)

btw...Was the Gremlin yours? Gave me a husband had a '73 Hornet, back in the day!

(For those of you who want to try this but don't know how:
The closest address to plug into google maps is 360 Old Finch Ave, Toronto, Ontario. You can click on the plus sign on the compass or just grab the little yellow person figure and drag it down near the red balloon area and then you can turn around by clicking on the compass arrows (and also use them to look up or down). Clicking on a point along your path will bring you there. Double clicking on an area will magnify it. Clicking on the minus sign under the compass will bring out out of street view and back into the map view.)


Before my time, too, Suzy. It changed Toronto in many ways: we weren't prepared for a storm of this nature (actually stalled here combining with another one) and the death toll was high. There are now regulations about flood plains, etc. that were created as a result of the damage caused by Hazel. (Riding your bike was fun! Yeah, yeah...we were supposed to walk them.... ;-D). We'll see what I can do for you when I get out and about taking pix of the city. (Jan planted this seed with a photo that she found on the net and posted last fall. There was a lot of discussion on her puzzle about it being a photoshopped pic but I was able to prove that it was, as I suspected, one of the U of T buildings in the downtown campus. A lot of our US friends didn't realize that we had buildings that old here. Jan suggested that I take some photos around town when the weather gets better.) Still hoping that you're enjoying the sunshine, Suzy!


If any of you can use Google maps, go to Sewells rd& old Finch av E, you can traverse the bridge at your leisure!


I recall my folks talking about hazel back when I was a child.
The history of the bridge(s) is very interesting. What fun it must have been tories your bike over it....always wondering if this was the time you would encounter something on four wheels! Looking forward to the photo tour of Toronto!


They're still in use all over the amazing feat of engineering when you think about it. Glad that you enjoyed this one too, Hanne!


A fine bridge indeed!! Thanks for the information, Michelle!!


Hi, Kathy! I'm happy that you are enjoying my photos too. (I've been out and about and not solving much so haven't seen you lately. Hope all is well with you and yours!) ;-D


You're welcome, towntreehouse, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I've now added a bit more for mimluc!


Hi mimluc and glad to meet you, neighbour! (btw - tigress is also in T.O) I'm out in Scarborough but I'm downtown all the time. I'm glad that you've been enjoying my photos. I'm wanting to do an architectural series sometime in the Spring (when the city starts to look a little fresher!) since we have so many beautiful old buildings here. Many people on Jigidi haven't seen that aspect of our home.

This Bailey Bridge is on Old Finch Road, out behind the Toronto Zoo and is a single lane, vehicular (and pedestrian) bridge. The way the road is constructed, the view is blind (you can't see approaching cars until you are on the bridge!) so a while back they installed traffic lights at each end of the bridge. Not so much fun now...I remember when you'd get halfway along and there would be an approaching car on the bridge and one of you had to reverse! If you ride a bike, there are signs telling you to dismount and walk: these bridges have a grid base (intentional in their design so mud, etc. would fall through). You actually have one of our three Metro area Bailey Bridges downtown and will recognize it; the pedestrian bridge over Lakeshore Blvd from the CNE to what was Ontario Place is one (with the addition of flooring and stairs at each end). The only other bridge of this type left here is in Markham, on 16th Ave, east of Reesor Rd. The powers that be were going to remove it but have left it as a pedestrian bridge and have build a new traffic bridge right over it. (It had a wooden deck.) I'll have to try to drive up there and see what this configuration looks like! I'm guessing the historical designation is because it is an earlier style of Bailey and this one is likely war surplus materiel. That plus the reason for the installation is probably also a factor in the designation. Hurricane Hazel devastated this city (especially in the west end with the flooding of the Humber River) so the aid of the army engineers of this unit was invaluable. In fact, according to a citation in Wiki, they were later given the "Freedoms of all six Cities and the Borough that now form Metropolitan Toronto" and were the only unit to receive this honour. This Bailey Bridge is also the last one in use for vehicular traffic in the Toronto area.

The Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission (which became Ontario Hydro which then was separated into separate companies in 1999-2000) bought a huge amount of this bridging as war-surplus materiel and designed novel uses for it (used some in building the power plants on the Ottawa River). This and other bridging erected post-Hurricane Hazel came from their stock.


Love the history and the posts, thanks for your sets.

Thanks for the history!


Very neat reading the history of the bridge (especially considering it doesn't look very 'historic' :) ). Is it a walking bridge? or part of a roadway?
& I liked some of your earlier (posted) pictures of Toronto (especially considering I live right downtown :) )
Nice to see another Torontonian on Jigidi! :)
Have a great night puzzaddled!