In 1881, the West Montrose bridge was constructed entirely out of wood. Over the years, stronger materials have been used when replacing the abutments, piers and deck. Today, the bridge is made of a combination of steel, wood concrete, asphalt and stone. Despite these improvements, the bridge still maintains its original form.
Since it was first built, the West Montrose bridge has been labelled as “the kissing bridge,” the traditional toll being a kiss. After all, it was secluded and it was against the law to travel over any bridge faster than a walk. Local girls learned to be wary when their escort’s horse stopped inside the bridge without any command from the driver.
Perhaps Elmira District High School students will have the fondest memories. After the county imposed a two-ton load limit, the local school bus, weighing more than 13 tons, stopped as it approached the bridge. One student would then cross the bridge and wave a red flag at the other end to stop oncoming traffic. The rest of the students would then cross, and the empty bus followed. As it enters its twilight years, it is remembered by all as a relic of romance, built when the pace of life was bit slower. The familiar heart-shaped graffiti etched in its wood echoes its local name.
The property was designated in 2007 by the Township of Woolwich as being of cultural heritage value or interest under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 60-2007).
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