OTD: Whirlpool Rapids Bridge connects Niagara Falls with New York

On today’s date in 1897, the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge (formerly known as the Lower Steel Arch Bridge) opened for traffic, joining the Canadian province of Ontario with the U.S. state of New York.

The 329-metre-long bridge was built by the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Co. and the Niagara Falls International Bridge Co. to replace the older suspension bridge. Construction began on April 9, 1896, and was completed on Aug. 27, 1897. In 1959, the bridge was acquired by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC).

In September 1991, the NFBC issued a copper-in-steel token depicting a bridge scene on the obverse and a list of three bridges crossing the Niagara River on the reverse. The token has a diameter of about 25 millimetres.


In 2013, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police foiled a terror attack planned for the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, which is still in use by Via Rail.

That year, Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser were sentenced to life in prison for their role in planning the thwarted terror attack. At the sentencing, the judge noted neither Esseghaier nor Jaser renounced their extremist beliefs and expressed doubt on their prospects for rehabilitation.

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