Historic Sites of Manitoba: Broadway Bridge / Red River Bridges (Provencher Boulevard, Winnipeg)
Built by the Assiniboine and Red River Bridge Company during 1882, the Broadway Bridge replaced the Notre Dame Street (Pioneer Avenue) ferry. The first bridge to link Winnipeg from the then-existent eastern end of Broadway with the western end of avenue Provencher in St. Boniface, it consisted of five stationary spans and one swing span. The Broadway Bridge was about 900 feet in length and opened for traffic on 16 April 1882. Three days later, two spans were carried away by ice during the annual Red River break-up. It was subsequently rebuilt, and served well until replaced by the Provencher Bridge in 1918. The Broadway Bridge was designed by Edward Worrell Jarvis and constructed by C. W. Dean of Cleveland, Ohio. Known as a Pratt or Murphy-Whipple truss bridge, the superstructure was demolished in 1922, though for many years the piers could be seen at low water.
Constructed by the cities of St. Boniface and Winnipeg, and begun in 1914, the Provencher Bridge replaced the original Broadway Bridge which stood just to the south. The new viaduct, a double-leaf drawbridge designed by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company of Chicago, was built largely from Winnipeg-made materials by Macaw and MacDonald. Considered at one time to be the longest, widest and most substantial bridge on the Red River and in Manitoba, its construction was supervised by engineers J. G. Legrand and H. N. Ruttan. The new span opened in the summer of 1918, and for many years served as the primary link between Manitoba’s “twin cities.”
A plaque explaining the modern bridging of the Red River is located in Parc Joseph Royal in the northwest corner of Tache Avenue and Provencher Boulevard. Nearby is a stylized plaque acknowledging the work of renowned St. Boniface-born author Gabrielle Roy. It features Roy’s description of the gulls on the Provencher Bridge when she was young.
Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 February 2019
Back to top of page