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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Documentary: 19th Century William Notman and the Victoria Bridge, Montreal, QC, Canada (1858-1860)

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19th Century William Notman and the Victoria Bridge, Montreal, QC, Canada

This gigantic undertaking forms one of the most interesting and wonderful features connected with the city, at Point St. Charles.
It is being built for the purpose of enabling the Grand Trunk Railway to form a continuous railroad communication with the railroads of the United States, instead of passengers being obliged to cross the river in steamers, as at present
The width of the river where the bridge is being built is very nearly 2 miles.
The current of the river is very rapid—with a depth of from 4 to 10 feet, excepting in the main channel, where it is from 30 to 35 feet deep.
In the winter, the ice is formed into a great thickness, and frequently immense piles accumulate—as high as 80 to 40 feet Thus piled up in huge boulders, the water rushes through them at a fearful rate, driving the blocks of ice along, and crushing all before them.
The bridge will consist of 24 strong piers, standing 242 feet apart, excepting the entire span, which is 339 feet wide. They are all perpendicular on three sides, and slope down to the water-edge against the current, so as to withstand the force and action of the floating masses of ice, on its breaking up. Each pier is estimated to withstand the force of 70,000 tons of ice at one time.
Resting on these piers, and running from abutment to abutment, is the bridge, which consists of a hollow iron tube, 22 feet high, and 16 feet wide.
The entire span is to be 60 feet above the average level of the water, thence sinking towards each end 1 foot in 130, thus making the height of the abutments about 37 feet
The estimated cost is about £1,250,000 stg. The weight of the iron in the tubes will be 8,000 tons, and the contents of the masonry will be about 3,000,000 cubic feet The whole will be completed in the autumn of 1859 or spring of 1860. As is well known, the engineer of this greatest bridge in the world is Mr. Robert Stephenson of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The whole of the views of Montreal, as given in the accompanying pages, were taken for this work by Mr. Notman, photographer, Montreal, and the clear and sharp photographs supplied by him for the purpose of engraving from, affords the best evidence of his being a first-class artist.
The New World in 1859 being the United States and Canada, Illustrated and Described (London: H. Bailliere, ca. 1859), Part Third, Upper and Lower Canada, 



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