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Centre Street Bridge (Calgary)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Centre Street Bridge
Centre Street Bridge
Centre Street Bridge seen from Crescent Heights
Coordinates51°03′10″N 114°03′45″W / 51.05291°N 114.06255°W / 51.05291; -114.06255
Carries4 lanes of Centre Street
CrossesBow River, Memorial Drive
Locale Calgary
Maintained byCity of Calgary
DesignArch superstructure
MaterialReinforced concrete
Total length178 meters (584 ft)
Width15 meters (49 ft)
Piers in water2
DesignerJohn F. Green
Construction end1916
Opened18 December 1916

The Centre Street Bridge is a historic bridge in Calgary, Alberta, crossing the Bow River, along Centre Street. The lower deck connects Riverfront Avenue in Chinatown with Memorial Drive, while the upper elevated deck crosses Memorial Drive as well, reaching into the community of Crescent Heights.

Centre Street Bridge is the central point of the quadrant system of the city.


Centre Street Bridge under construction in 1915
Centre Street Bridge under construction in 1915

It was built by The City of Calgary in 1916 for $375,000. It replaced the MacArthur Bridge, a steel truss bridge built in 1907 by a land developer called the Centre Street Bridge Company Limited [1][2] The MacArthur Bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1915. Centre Street Bridge was designed by John F. Green, and features an upper and lower deck, cantilevered balconies on the upper deck, and four large cast concrete lions atop two pairs of ornamental concrete pavilions flanking each end of the bridge. The lions were cast by Scottish mason James L. Thomson. They were modelled after the bronze lions by Landseer at the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The pavilions are ornamented with symbols of Canada and the United Kingdom: buffalo heads, maple leaves, shamrocks (Ireland), roses (England), and thistles (Scotland).

The upper deck, a reinforced concrete arch structure, spans 178 meters (584 ft) and is 15 meters (49 ft) wide. The lower deck, an "I" girders structure, runs for 150 meters (490 ft) and is 5.5 meters (18 ft) wide.[3]

The Centre Street Bridge was listed as a Municipal Historic Resource for Calgary in 1992.[2]

The bridge went through extensive restoration in 2001, when it was closed for one year. The lower deck is configured with reversible lanes. The original lions were replaced with replicas after considerable debate. Local legends of adjacent Chinatown hold that the lions would come alive after dark and roam the city streets. One of the original lions is now located at City Hall, the remaining three are in long-term storage.[4] In April 2013, a city committee voted unanimously to place the remaining lions at one or more of the new West LRT C-Train (tram) stations.[5]

Other information

The lower deck of the bridge has a clearance of only 2.7 metres (8.9 ft). Inattentive drivers get their trucks, RVs, and vans stuck on the narrow 2-lane lower deck of the bridge, blocking traffic. An advanced warning system was installed on the bridge approaches in 2010, cutting the number of incidents in half, but roughly 20 vehicles a year continue to get stuck.[6]

The opening scene of the 2001 Steven Seagal movie Exit Wounds was filmed on the bridge.

See also



  1. ^ "Centre Street Bridge". Historic Calgary. Glenbow Museum. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Centre Street Bridge". Our Historic Places. Parks Canada. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  3. ^ Calgary Public Library. "Centre Street Bridge". Archived from the original on 23 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  4. ^ "The Centre Street Lion: From Bridge to Plaza, History Finds a New Home" (PDF). City of Calgary website. City of Calgary. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  5. ^ Williams, Julia (4 April 2013). "Old Centre St. Bridge Lions Moving to West LRT". Avenue. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Centre Street bridge lower deck reopens after van damage". CBC News. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2014.

Further reading

  • Centre Street Bridge Lions: Rehabilitation and Replication of Historic Concrete Sculpture (Lorne Simpson, Paul Gaudette, Deborah Slaton, published in APT Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 2/3 (2001), pp. 13–20)
This page was last edited on 23 April 2020, at 09:12
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