The E&N Swing Bridge 1888 – 1923
In 1888, a swing bridge was built by the E&N Railway. Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald drove the last spike, marking the formal completion of the transcontinental railway, a condition of British Columbia entering Canadian Confederation in 1871.
Soon after its construction, Victorians began to recognize inadequacies in the E&N structure. The hand operated swing bridge supported trains and pedestrians but not street cars, cars, nor trucks. The bridge’s limited load capacity and safety concerns springing from trains and pedestrians sharing the same deck had local visionaries soon calling for a new bridge. One that would separate trains from pedestrians, support vehicles and greater freight capacity, while providing easier navigation for marine traffic between the Inner Harbour and the Gorge. The present day Johnson Street Bridge was designed to solve the problems posed by E&N’s swing bridge.