Mira River South of Victoria Bridge

Mira River (Walkers Lake) south of Victoria Bridge
[#1] Photo 16 of 34: Mira River (Walkers Lake) south of Victoria Bridge
Taken 2008 June 11 in Victoria Bridge from the Grand Mira North Road
1 km (0.6 mi) south of the bridge over the Mira River
GPS 45°49.09?'N 60°17.26?'W

Photo #1 was actually taken further south on the Grand Mira North Road than the previous one, but it looks north towards Victoria Bridge, so most of the land one sees here is further north than that of the previous photo; however, the point at the right of this photo appeared at the left of the previous photo. The speck of white above the top left end of the bridge is the steeple of St Margaret’s Church in Grand Mira South. Notice the mountains that rise well above the valley through which the river flows; you will see them on both sides of the river.

Victoria Bridge is both the name of the bridge one sees above spanning the Mira River, shown in more detail in photo #2, and the name of a locality (today, there are a few houses to the left of the bridge along the Grand Mira North Road, though apparently in years past the community was more numerous). The bridge is one of the few old bridges of this design left; according to Wally Ellison’s column, This is my Cape Breton, titled “The old iron bridges — a vanishing landmark” in the 2008 September 13 edition of the Oran:

[…] there are only a few of [the iron bridges] left from the turn of the 1900s when many were built crossing numerous brooks and rivers throughout Cape Breton. Some of the larger ones were built across the Margaree River, River Denys, the Mira, the Baddeck River, the Skye River, and many more. They varied in length from around 80' [24 m] up to about 120' [37 m]. Their bed was a flat one, usually supported by concrete or cut sandstone foundations at either end. The strength of the bridge was found in the steel superstructure that was built above the bridge floor. The deck of the bridge was around 18'-20' [5-6 m] wide. This type of structure was known as a Howe truss bridge. Perhaps they were more of a combination of a cantilevered and truss bridge.

As he points out, of the “hundreds” built at that time, most have disappeared, whether from damage caused by overloading them or from storms (such as the one which destroyed the much lamented old iron bridge over the Southwest Mabou at West Mabou in the winter of 2003-2004) or from increasing traffic requiring a sturdier and wider bridge.

Victoria Bridge is one of the narrowest points on the Mira River; below Victoria Bridge, the river will widen to, at points, 1.6 km (1 mi) across and will next narrow, though not to the degree seen here, only as it approaches Marion Bridge.

[2012] In 2008, after this essay was written, Murrays Bridge between Rankinville and Hillsborough in southwestern Inverness County, seen here and very similar to this bridge at Victoria Bridge, was also lost. Ever fewer of these beautiful bridges remain…

Bridge over the Mira River at Victoria Bridge
[#2] Photo 17 of 34: Bridge over the Mira River at Victoria Bridge
Taken 2008 June 11 in Victoria Bridge from the Grand Mira North Road
about 60 m (200 ft) north of the bridge over the Mira River
GPS 45°49.58?'N 60°17.30?'W