Grand Trunk Bridge


History

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, at the western tip of the island of Montreal, was totally transformed when the Grand Trunk Railway put the little village on its Montreal-Toronto train route. This decision meant building a railway bridge across the Ottawa River as early as 1854.

Following the example of the upper bourgeoisie in Europe and the United States, Montreal's elite of the day sought refuge in scenic locales along the water. Industrialists and financiers began to divide their time between their mansions in the Square Mile and their new estates designed by leading architects such as Robert Findlay, John William Hopkins and the Maxwell brothers. Stately homes sprang up in Senneville, near the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue train station, along with experimental livestock-breeding and farming operations. The architect Edward Maxwell raised Jersey cattle, while Sir Edward Clouston produced milk and vegetables, and grew peach and nectarine trees within the shelter of his greenhouses.

The country backwater changed beyond recognition. A large proportion of its population left the land and went to work for wealthy vacationers or more modest hotel establishments. Hundreds of new jobs were created: gardener, groom, chambermaid… The fact that the train stopped there made Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue a fashionable destination!

Image : HM_ARC_003487

Canadian Pacific Bridge with passenger train and Canadian North rails

© Canadian Pacific Railway Archives (# NS 4144), © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_003490

Canadian Pacific bridge and Ottawa river
1910
© Canadian Pacific Railway Archives (# NS 1376), © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_003491

Canadian Pacific bridge

© Canadian Pacific Railway Archives (# A 1377), © Héritage Montréal