OTD: Harbour Bridge linking Montréal and southern St. Lawrence shore opens to traffic

On today’s date in 1930, the Harbour Bridge (pont du Havre) opened to public traffic, linking Montréal with the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

The bridge—later renamed the Jacques Cartier Bridge in 1934 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s first voyage up the St. Lawrence River—operated under a toll since its opening in 1930. From 1962-90, tokens were issued and could be used as a more-affordable alternative to the 25-cent toll (the cost was only eight cents if paid with tokens). The toll was charged until the Crown corporation Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc. was formed in 1990.

This 1930 print shows the complete main span of the Harbour Bridge.

JACQUES CARTIER & CHAMPLAIN BRIDGES INC.

One cupro-nickel token, measuring 24.5 mm in diameter, was identical on both sides.

Along the rim is the bilingual inscription, “LES PONTS JACQUES CARTIER ET / CHAMPLAIN INCORPOREE – THE JACQUES CARTIER AND / CHAMPLAIN BRIDGES INCORPORATED.” The bridge is also depicted in the centre in full profile.

The bridge itself is a steel truss cantilever bridge that crosses the St. Lawrence River from Montréal, Que. to the south shore at Longueuil, Que. Today, are nearly 36 million vehicle crossings annually, making it Canada’s third busiest bridge (the country’s busiest bridge—Champlain Bridge—is only about 10 kilometres south down the river).

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