Farewell to the old and in with the new for the future

Residents of the village of Paisley gathered on Wednesday, August 10th, to say goodbye to an old friend – the Paisley Bridge that has spanned the Teeswater River for 87 years.


                                         Paisley residents gathered on the bridge to say farewell

The bridge is to be replaced over the next year and, in the meantime, a temporary Bailey bridge has been constructed over the river to enable the community to remain connected to the downtown core and is to be used as a detour route (exception being large trucks and heavy equipment) during construction.

Saugeen First Nation Elder Shirley John opened the ceremony with a smudge blessing for the bridge, that also included a prayer and honour song while emcee and past-President of the Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Christie threw symbolic flowers into the river.

At the farewell event, Arran-Elderslie Mayor Steven Hammell said that the Teeswater Bridge, known locally as the Paisley Bridge, has seen over 4600 vehicle pass over it every day for 87 years.  “That is over 1.7 million every year or over 100 million times that someone has passed over this river in our community.  To me, it’s mind-boggling and astounding how this bridge has done so much for so long.”

“Immediately to the east, over two million County dollars has been spent to make sure our community stays connected,” he added pointing to the temporary Bailey bridge.

Bailey bridge – For larger view, Click on Image

“There are many events planned such as the Fall Fair next month, the Steam Show happening shortly and town picnic happening at the end of the month. Paisley is super busy and super successful … with several more attractions and events planned for over the next 14 months.”


He explained that, to the eye, it appears that there is a lot more life left in the bridge “… however, moving to the future there is no ‘almost’ when it comes to public safety.  It is time to retired this bridge gracefully and come back even better with wider sidewalks, enhanced viewing platforms … it will be a new reality for us next year.”

Councilor Melissa Kanmacher then presented an historical look back at the bridge along with amazing construction facts and the history of the ‘Bailey’ bridge.

Following the speeches, everyone had the chance to have a slice of the farewell cake.

         (L) Mark Davis (Deputy Mayor Arran-Elderslie) Judy McKinnon (Historical Society) slices the cake,                 James Colaco (Chamber Pres.) Mayor Steve Hammel & Melissa Kanmacher (Paisley Ward Councilor)