Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The old Valley Inn Road bridge (or better known by decades of local kids, as the clickety-clack bridge) is soon to be closed to car traffic. It will be maintained as a pedestrian throughway, which no doubt local hikers, runners, and cyclists will enjoy more fully without the intrusion of cars. It goes without saying that as a wildlife and nature sanctuary, the closing of the bridge will be seen as a blessing for the area.
It's hard to believe that at one time the Valley Inn Road and bridge served as a major connection for travelers going east from Hamilton towards Toronto, or west towards Dundas. By the late 1800's this route was very busy and the Valley Inn Hotel opened near the west side of the bridge. (Today the City of Hamilton has put an informational marker about the Inn on the site where it stood.) The Hotel was a favourite spot for farmers , who while taking their goods to market, would stop and have a drink. The Hotel was very close to one of the unpopular toll houses (road building was an expensive business) and there are stories of liquored up travelers giving the toll collectors a hard time -there are examples of travelers driving their wagons right through the toll gate and taunting the toll collector to stop them if they could.
The original bridge collapsed in 1964 when a transport truck went over it and the current single lane "Bailey" (military) bridge which was meant to be temporary is the noisy one which has become such a well loved landmark. On a cold sunny weekday morning recently I could barely find a spot to park to take this photograph, and traffic crossing the bridge was brisk, so I would say that interest in the closing of the bridge is high. There are only a couple of months left to drive over the bridge - don't miss out.
How do I find the Valley Inn Bridge? Valley Inn Road intersects York Blvd, just next to the RBG Rock Gardens parking lot. You can drive down Valley Inn Road, cross the bridge and then exit via Spring Gardens Rd (beside Woodland Cemetery) which will take you back out to Plains Road.
Read more about the Valley Inn Hotel in an article from the The Waterdown - East Flamborough Heritage Society, "Vanished Flamborough: The Valley Inn" Part 1 and Part 2.