Prince of Wales formally opens Victoria Railway Bridge (1860)

On today’s date in 1860, Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) opened the Crystal Palace on St. Catherine Street in Montreal before formally opening the Victoria Railway Bridge, which had been operating since Dec. 12, 1859.

What’s more, a commemorative medal was also struck for presentation to Prince Edward by the people of Montreal on the occasion of his formally laying the corner-stone of the Victoria Bridge.

The Prince of Wales Laying the Last Stone of the Victoria Bridge Over the St. Lawrence by George Henry Andrews (1816-1898).

The Prince of Wales Laying the Last Stone of the Victoria Bridge Over the St. Lawrence by George Henry Andrews (1816-1898).

On July 30, 1860, The New York Times reported the medal was on exhibition “at Tiffany & Co.’s, in Broadway, where it can be seen for one week. The medal is about 1 3/4 inches in diameter, and of exquisite workmanship. On one side is a view of the Victoria Bridge and St. Lawrence River, with the armorial bearings of the Canadian Provinces and the following inscription: ‘The Victoria Bridge, Montreal. / The greatest work / of Engineering skill / in the world. / Publicly inaugurated / and opened in 1860.'”

The medal was struck by A. Hoffnung, of Montreal.

The medal was struck by A. Hoffnung, of Montreal.

The Times report continued: “Encircling the whole are the words, ‘The Victoria Bridge / Grand Trunk Railway of Canada.’ On the opposite side are bas relief profiles of Queen VICTORIA, Prince ALBERT, and the Prince of Wales, with the coat of arms of England and the following inscription: ‘The Victoria Bridge, / consisting of 23 spans, / 242 feet each, / and one in the centre 330 feet, / with a long abutment / on each bank of the river. / The tubes are iron, / 22 feet high, 16 feet wide, / and weighs 6,000 tons, / supported on 24 piers, / containing 250,000 tons of stone, / measuring 3,000,000 cubic feet. / Extreme length 2 miles, / Cost, $7,000,000.’”

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