The Alexandra Bridge: Its Construction, Its Significance, Its Future

Alexandra Bridge, October 19, 2017 / Photo: D.Jones

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 19:00 to 20:00

A timely lecture that you won't want to miss! Federal plans are underway to demolish this iconic interprovincial link. Although the bridge was designated a national historic civil engineering site in 1995, the recognition affords no legal protection.

This two-part lecture begins with David Jeanes and the history of the Alexandra Bridge: the progress of its construction from 1898 to 1901, the rationale behind the selection of the cantilevered design to meet the unique requirements of this crossing of the Ottawa River, its ranking among other cantilevered bridges in Canada and elsewhere, and its conversion from a railway and streetcar bridge to a road, cycling and pedestrian crossing after 1966.

In the second part of the lecture John Zvonar looks at the role bridges play in our collective consciousness — the Ironbridge, the Firth of Forth, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate — and presents case studies of relevant community-driven campaigns to preserve historic bridges: the Chapel Bridge in Switzerland, the Bennerley Viaduct in central England, and within Canada, the rehabilitation of the wooden Kinsol Trestle on Vancouver Island, and the repair and reconstruction of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in the Okanagan Valley. Closer to home, the story of the Bank Street Bridge, which was fully restored and not replaced with a contemporary structure, will be examined. 

In case you missed it, or would like to view it again, this wonderful lecture is now available on Heritage Ottawa's YouTube channel.


David Jeanes is a retired professional engineer who worked at Bell-Northern Research and Nortel in Ottawa. A former president of Heritage Ottawa and Transport Action Canada, he has a strong interest in railway history and railway station architecture and belongs to numerous railway-related societies. In 2001, he organized a celebration of the centenary of the first train to cross the Alexandra Bridge and he has written and lectured about the bridge often since then. David is a member of Heritage Ottawa's board of directors and the Doors Open Ottawa Advisory Council and has guided many tours over the past 20 years.

John Zvonar recently completed a long run at the federal government’s centre of expertise in Heritage Conservation, employing a values- and principles-based conservation approach in protecting nationally-significant cultural landscapes notably for Parks Canada and within the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts. He also continues his active involvement with the Friends of Maplelawn Garden, the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, and serves as the Canadian voting member with the ICOMOS-IFLA International Scientific Committee for Cultural Landscapes. John was elected to the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects’ College of Fellows in 2014. Since his arrival in Ottawa from Thunder Bay/Winnipeg, John has been infatuated with the Alexandra Bridge.

The Lecture will be presented via ZOOM. Pre-registration is required. See above.





Presented via ZOOM | Pre-Registration Required
Ottawa, ON