Grey Highlands, Ontario

Donna's Place Top O' The Rock Eugenia

georgian explorerThe Georgian Bay Explorer - The Hog's Bay Trestle

ln 1907 when the Canadian Pacific Railway decided to abandon its Great Lakes terminal in Owen Sound in favour of a new one on Severn Sound, the federal government offered the company a half-million dollar subsidy for their ambitious new project. There was much work to do in the new town of Port McNicoll, a new grain terminal to build, docks, warehouses and, above all, a trestle. ln order for the CPR's steam engines and cars to reach the new port, they would first have to cross an impassible wetland. ln order to overcome this obstacle, the CPR undertook an engineering marvel known as the Hog's Bay Trestle. Begun in 1908 the Hog's Bay Trestle was the longest wooden trestle of its kind in Canada, even surpassing similar structures built in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Two thousand feet in length, this immense wooden bridge with two sets of track took nearly a year to build. Construction crews began at each end and joined the trestle in the middle. Living in boarding cars that had their own cooks and kitchens, labourers on the project were paid thirty cents an hour. The only injury during the entire project was a cut finger. One of the most photographed railway facilities in the nation, the Hog's Bay Trestle had a long life of over 60 years. During the Second World War, CPR officials stationed armed guards to prevent sabotage by enemy spies. After 50 years of use by steam engines, the first diesel crossed the trestle in 1958. But the wooden structure was aging and, in 1971, CPR officials decided a land route to the grain elevator would be safer. Demolition of this famous structure took two cranes nearly two weeks to complete. ln the end, the trestle's logs became lumber for homes, cottages, and even telephone poles. Today, an historic plaque is all that is left of the Hog's Bay Trestle.