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

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

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

The Harbour Bridge – renamed 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.

From 1962-90, tokens were issued and could be used as an affordable alternative to the 25-cent toll as 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.

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

BRIDGE TOKEN

One cupro-nickel token, measuring 24.5 millimetres in diameter, is identical on both sides.

Along the rim is a 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.

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