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Prince of Wales Bridge illustrated by Daniel Rotsztain.

Ottawans react to news Prince of Wales Bridge may close

By Amanda Armstrong on August 23, 2016

An unofficial Ottawa landmark, the Prince of Wales Bridge is a true gem in the heart of the city. The 136-year-old retired train bridge, which spans from Ottawa to Gatineau across the Ottawa River, is a picturesque vantage point where people bring their first date, have a picnic with friends, shoot photos, or take in a sunset. News spread quickly last week that the city had plans to permanently block the bridge with steel gates, citing public safety on the bridge as a liability issue. In response, people took to social media to share their love of the bridge and their being upset at the news that this bridge could soon be closed for good.

The city, who bought the bridge in 2006, estimates the cost of its renewal at $10.5 million. The gates, proposed as a low-cost alternative to restoring the bridge, come with a $250,000 price tag. Many feel that there are alternatives which, at a similar cost, would make the bridge safer. Several alternatives are proposed in the petition Aileen Duncan has started to keep the bridge open. The petition is on-track to achieving its goal of 1,500 signatures, but it is up to us to help show the city how much this bridge means to people – and this bridge means a lot, to a lot of people.

Jonas Langille (@JonasofOtt) puts it poignantly when he says, “left on its own without oversight, [Prince of Wales Bridge] embraced by the public and used how they want it to, as a place to hang out, to fish, to swing on a rope and dive into the Ottawa River, enjoy a glorious sunset, and move between cities and provinces without ever being bothered.”

Jesse Robertson (@JesseRoberts0n), who lives near the bridge, walked across it nearly every day when he was unemployed. The bridge has become a special place for him and his partner, Dana Holtby. For her birthday this year, he commissioned a drawing of the bridge from friend and artist, Daniel Rotsztain. “The bridge’s community-led, bottom-up nature is something we both value deeply in a city” says Robertson, “it’s a memory of Ottawa that we’ll take with us, wherever we end up.”

Prince of Wales Bridge illustrated by Daniel Rotsztain.

Prince of Wales Bridge illustrated by Daniel Rotsztain.

“It inspires the imagination and encourages creativity. From amateur photographers to professionals, whether you are looking to capture the perfect sunset, or find a unique perspective to Ottawa’s beautiful landscape and skyline, the Prince of Wales bridge is an Ottawa staple.”

Eli Duern (@eliduern) first fell in love with the bridge when he was getting into photography. Having heard about a beautiful old train bridge along the Ottawa River, he grabbed his camera and went to the water. Walking along the pathway, he was drawn to the sounds of an acoustic guitar. The sounds lead him to the bridge, where he happened upon a group of friends, laughing and singing. It was then, Duern said, “between the joy that filled the warm summer air and the beautiful sunset that coloured the sky,” that his love for photography was ignited.

Duern believes “there is something magical about this Ottawa landmark. It inspires the imagination and encourages creativity. From amateur photographers to professionals, whether you are looking to capture the perfect sunset, or find a unique perspective to Ottawa’s beautiful landscape and skyline, the Prince of Wales bridge is an Ottawa staple.”

The future of the bridge remains unknown, as the city’s final decision has yet to be made. In the meantime, many are making the trip to the bridge, even a few for the first time, just in case it may be the last opportunity they have.

Apt613 has heard from so many people over the past few days, about how much they love this bridge. We want to share with you only some of the photographs of the bridge we have received. We also ask that you to continue to share your photos and your stories, in hopes that these voices are heard and, fingers crossed, that the Prince of Wales Bridge remains open for all enjoy.

Photo by Tori Roberts.

Photo by Tori Roberts

Photo by spotmaticfanatic (Apt613 Flickr Pool)

Photo by spotmaticfanatic (Apt613 Flickr Pool)

Photo by Shawn Nystrand (Apt613 Flickr Pool)

Photo by Shawn Nystrand (Apt613 Flickr Pool)

 

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