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Manitoba History No. 89
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No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
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This Old Elevator
This Old
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Abandoned Manitoba
Abandoned
Manitoba

Memorable Manitobans
Memorable
Manitobans

Historic Sites of Manitoba
Historic Sites
of Manitoba

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Port Nelson Bridge and Island (Hudson Bay, Northern Manitoba)

Between 1915 and 1916, as part of construction of the Hudson Bay Railway linking The Pas and a planned port facility on Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Nelson River, an impressive half-mile-long, 17-span steel truss bridge was erected out to an artificial island constructed in the bay. It was later determined that the port of Churchill, at the mouth of the Churchill River to the north, was better suited to the needs of commercial shipping and the facility at Port Nelson, along with the bridge, was abandoned without ever having been used. Remarkably, the bridge remains intact, a century later, despite having had no maintenance. The 180-foot harbour dredge Port Nelson lies abandoned on the artificial island, where it was deposited during a storm in late 1924.

Port Nelson Bridge

Aerial view of Port Nelson (1917)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, R. W. Patterson Collection 252, N1311.

Port Nelson Bridge

Bridge at Port Nelson (1924)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, H. F. Hayward Collection, C14.

Port Nelson Bridge

The Port Nelson dredge, lifted onto the artificial island by a storm in November 1924 (circa 1925)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, R. W. Patterson Collection, C102.

Port Nelson Bridge

Aerial view of the Port Nelson bridge, showing the abandoned dredge Port Nelson lying on the artificial island at the end of the bridge (1970s)
Source: Jim Collinson

Port Nelson Bridge

Aerial view of the Port Nelson steel truss bridge (September 2007)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

Port Nelson Bridge

Aerial view of the Port Nelson bridge and artificial island (September 2007)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

Port Nelson Bridge

The dredge Port Nelson aground on the artificial island (September 2007)
Source: Manitoba Hydro

Site Location (lat/long): N57.04880, W92.60033
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Abandoned Manitoba

Port Nelson and the Hudson Bay Railway by David Malaher
Manitoba History, Number 8, Autumn 1984

The Hudson Bay Railway by Leonard F. Earl
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 14, 1957-1958 Season

The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 1)
Manitoba History, Number 37, Spring / Summer 1999

The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 2)
Manitoba History, Number 38, Autumn / Winter 1999-2000

Sources:

“Severe storm does much damage at Port Nelson,” Manitoba Free Press, 4 December 1924, page 1.

“Port Nelson is hit by storm,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 January 1925, page 9.

We thank David Ennis and Glen Cook for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 December 2016

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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