Exhibition | Bridging the Nation: Bridge Design & History in Canada

Event

20Jan202008:00
to
27Apr202018:00
McLennan Library Building Main floor lobby, 3459 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 0C9, CA

Jumping obstacles, fording rivers and crossing valleys have long been important human endeavours. Civilizations have been building primitive bridges for thousands of years.
Only in the past few centuries have we developed the ability to truly understand and apply techniques that enable longer, wider and safer crossings. It has only been in the most recent centuries that we have come to fully document our achievements through books, photographs, pamphlets and drawings. This exhibit uses these documents to show how Canada, and Montreal specifically, has become home to some of the most important bridges ever built.

With the advent of railways in the early 19th century, bridge design and construction was suddenly pushed to new limits. The industrial revolution enabled the introduction of easily produced wrought iron, then cast iron and later steel; these were the essential ingredients needed to allow stronger and longer span bridges. The ability to create bigger and better bridges emboldened promoters to expand railway networks into previously unreachable districts. Thriving railways only generated the desire for more ambitious, expansive structures: so the cycle continues.

Curated by / Commissaires : Mark Andrews, Brendan Fitzgibbon & Christopher Lyons

---

Mark Andrews, P.Eng, is Chief Engineer and owner of a consulting engineering practice based in Toronto. He also has developed a private collection of books and related material focusing on civil engineering and applied science from the earliest printed books up to the beginning of the 20th century.

Brendan Fitzgibbon is an alumnus of McGill University (B.A., 2019), currently working as a research assistant on the Collection of Mark Andrews.

Christopher Lyons is Head Librarian of Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University.

 


Sauter des obstacles, traverser des rivières et franchir des vallées sont depuis longtemps des accomplissements humaines importants. Les civilisations construisent des pants primitifs depuis des milliers d'années. Ce n'est qu'au cours des derniers siècles que nous avons développé la capacité de comprendre et d'appliquer les techniques qui permettent des passages plus longs, plus larges et plus sûres. Cest seulement au cours des derniers siècles que nous avons pu documenter nos réalisations par des livres, des photographies, des brochures et des dessins. Cette exposition utilise ces documents pour montrer de quelle façon le Canada, et Montréal en particulier, est devenu le lieu de certains des plus importants pants jamais construits.

Avec l'avènement des chemins de fer au début du XIXe siècle, de nouvelles limites ont été repoussées grâce à la conception et la construction des pants. La revolution industrielle a permis l'introduction du fer forgé facile à produire, puis de la fonte et plus tard de l'acier; ce sont là les ingrédients essentiels pour permettre la construction des pants plus solides et plus longs. La capacité de créer des pants plus grands et de meilleure qualité a encouragé les promoteurs à agrandir les réseaux ferroviaires dans des quartiers auparavant inaccessibles. Mais la prospérité des chemins de fer n'a fait que générer le désir d'avoir des ponts encore plus grands et plus longs. Et done, le cycle continue.