First, there were stepping stones and fallen trees to cross small bodies of water; then, there were wooden, steel and concrete bridges. Since 1997, crossing an 11 km ( 8 mile) stretch of ocean, is the Bridge from The Province of New Brunswick on Canada’s East Coast to the Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI).
When I talk about PEI, I mean an island that is large enough to be an independent Province of Canada. In fact, it is a founding province. It sits at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River which gives access to the Great Lakes and deep into the North American continent.
Until it’s opening, the only surface transport to and from the island province was by boat. Cars and trucks by the many thousands crossed back and forth across the Northumberland Straight each week, carrying passengers and cargo on a fleet of ferry boats.
The bridge consists of 1.9 km (1.8 mi) of approaches and 11 km (8 mi) across the open ocean water. Curves prompt weary travellers to not fall asleep on what would, otherwise be a long, straight road. How high is the highest point off the water? - 60 meters ( 196 ft ) to aid in the free movement of ocean going vessels and icebergs. Challenging the harsh northern winters, the construction aims to endure for 100 years. Have a breakdown or some emergency while crossing? Be assured that bridge is monitored 24/7 and help is always only minutes away. Casual stopping is not permitted. In fact, high concrete sides limit viewing as well as providing protection against strong wind.
While I titled this blog entry “The Bridge”, I must recognize that bridges go somewhere and that a few words on Prince Edward Island are appropriate.
Often called an island garden, it is impressive in that no-where is there anything but clean, well groomed spaces. Billboards are not permitted. It is where Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote the world famous story of Anne of Green Gables. Even today, tourists from around the world, including a very large number from Asia where the book is still immensely popular , travel to the island to visit Anne’s home. Others travel to the island to visit its beaches, warmed by the passing Gulf Stream, and to play on its many golf courses. Most notably in summer months, street theatre and concerts in the Capital of Charlottetown, contribute to people’s enjoyment.
Hotel, cottage rental or camping, the province is well established to meet the need.
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