"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Friday, July 15, 2011

Provincial plaque commemorates Ball's Bridge in Ontario

AUBURN, Ontario, July 14, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust, the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, the Municipality of Central Huron and the Friends of Ball's Bridge unveiled a provincial plaque commemorating Ball's Bridge, near Goderich.

"There are few surviving two-span bridges in Ontario today with the design features of Ball's Bridge," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "Thanks to the efforts of the community, it has been restored and will now be marked with a provincial plaque, sharing the story of its unique design and historic significance."

The plaque reads as follows:

Ball's Bridge

Ball's Bridge was erected in 1885 to connect Goderich, the county seat, with outlying areas to the east. The structure is an excellent - and now rare - example of a two-span Pratt design through truss, pin-connected wrought iron bridge. Its construction shows attention to detail through the 'v-lacing' located at various points on the bridge. Built during the horse-and-carriage age, it continued to serve as a major crossing point on the Maitland River until 1989, when the bridge was deemed unable to support the weight of modern vehicles. In 2006, it was closed to all traffic and faced a bleak future. Due to the dedicated efforts of the Friends of Ball's Bridge, it was fully restored and upgraded, and reopened to light traffic in 2007.

"The unique design and structure of Ball's Bridge not only speak to engineering history, but also make it an attractive feature in the local landscape," said Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan. "I'm delighted that it is being commemorated today, showcasing another fascinating part of Ontario's heritage."

Today's unveiling ceremony took place at Ball's Bridge, where the provincial plaque will be permanently installed.

"The Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh is very proud of our heritage. We honour our roots and celebrate our heritage and are delighted that this provincial plaque will highlight the significance of this site in our history," said Ben Van Diepenbeek, Reeve of the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh. "We are grateful for the support of the Friend's of Ball's Bridge and the Municipality of Central Huron, who also appreciate the importance of this landmark."

The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history. The Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Quick facts:

Since 1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.
298 provincial plaques commemorate significant buildings and structures in Ontario's history.

Learn more:

For more information on the Provincial Plaque Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.

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