This historical plaque was added in 2023. It is located on the side of the St-Jacques Bridge in Embrun, ON.

Saint-Jacques Bridge

St-Jacques BridgeThe Castor River divides the village and parish of Embrun into two parts. While the section on the north side of the river was probably the first to develop, the southern part is also very old. Already on an 1862 map, dwellings can be seen scattered along row Saint-Jacques and on the south bank of the river. With the vast majority of shops and services located on the north side, it was necessary to link the two banks of the Castor very early on in order to provide equitable service to the entire parish population.

The oldest bridge in the parish is the row Saint-Jacques bridge, known to all as the “village bridge”. However, it is impossible to trace its origins. By 1896, a bridge had already been built here, but it was certainly not the first.

According to the 1902 village plan, a wooden bridge spanned the river. On April 6, 1947, the iron bridge erected opposite the church around 1907 was swept away by the waters of the Castor River, once again dividing the village into two sections. The water current carried the 100-foot bridge some 900 feet downstream. In his personal journal, Pierre C. Bruyère states that workers were busy building a new bridge on wooden trestles at that time. The new $65,000 bridge was inaugurated the following summer. The new bridge, built in the wake of this disaster, served the village until 1976, when it was replaced by the present-day bridge.

1895 - Source Archdiocese of Ottawa 1930 - Source Regina Maheu
  • Saint-Jacques bridge, circa 1895. The church, former presbytery and village school can also be seen on the far right. Source: Archdiocese of Ottawa.
  • This photo, taken from the church bell-tower around 1930, shows part of rang Saint-Jacques and the bridge, the high school and the boarding school. Source: Mrs. Régina Maheu.

1938 Flood 1947 Bridge Swept Away - Robert Brisson
  • Robert Brisson (left) transports residents from one bank of the river to the other during the 1938 flood. Passengers are Ludger Brisson and Joseph Amyot.
  • The Saint-Jacques bridge was swept away by ice from the 1947 flood. Source: Robert Brisson.

Referenced Material:
• Histoires d’Embrun – Francine Bourgie, Jean-Pierre Proulx, 1981
• Embrun au jour le jour – Jean-Pierre Proulx, 2006
The French Canadian Geneologist