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Blackfriars Bridge History

Blackfriars Bridge

Erected in 1875, Blackfriars Bridge is one of the oldest and rarest bridges in Canada. The bridge spans the north branch of the Thames River, connecting Ridout Street to Blackfriars Street. It also provides pedestrians and cyclists a connection between segments of the Thames Valley Parkway located along the banks of the river.

It was designed and constructed in the era of the horse and wagon, when vehicles were generally much slower and lighter than used today.The distinctive bowstring arch-truss configuration was popular due to its aesthetically pleasing appearance and economic use of materials.

blackfriars bridge in  1875




Above is a picture of Blackfriars Bridge in its original state.

The Blackfriars Bridge superstructure was fabricated from wrought iron, a common construction material for the time. Only two other predominantly wrought iron bridge structures remain in Ontario; one in Huron County (1885) and the other in Leeds and Grenville County (1911).

Blackfriars Bridge was designated as a Heritage Structure under the Ontario Heritage Act (Part IV) on April 21, 1992. In addition, it is listed on the Ontario Heritage Bridge List and is included on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Following a detailed inspection and evaluation in 2013, the City of London completed temporary repairs, restricted bridge to pedestrian and cyclist-only use, and identified the need for a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment to evaluate alternative solutions for the future use of Blackfriars Bridge.