The Bridges of Farnham

From the ferry to the first bridge


The first Farnham bridge would have been a ferry type bridge that was moved forward by pulling the cables stretched from one bank to the other.


The bridge in 1947.


The bridge in 1949.

3rd Bridge

The bridge before 2011.

Bridges Plaque (coming soon)

Here is the plaque that will eventually be installed.

Text version of the audio

NARRATOR (male voice)
You’re standing in front of the Antonio-Bernier Bridge, named in honour of M. Antonio Bernier, a mayor and physician who served the City of Farnham throughout the 1950s. The history of Farnham’s bridges is marked by a series of twists and turns, and several constructions were necessary over the years to ensure the flow of traffic between the two shores.

NARRATOR (female voice)
The need to establish a safe and quick means to cross the Yamaska River in Farnham goes back to the early days of the colony. At first, the settlers had to wade their way across the river. The installation of a ferry-type bridge, pulled slowly across the river by taut cables, would have been the first construction to provide a safe passage between the two shores.

NARRATOR (male voice)
As early as the mid 19th century, the West Farnham bridge Co was established by Louis Bourdon and other citizens for the purpose of building a first wooden bridge. The bridge was then sold to the municipal council for the sum of $200, with the stipulation that the toll for its use should be abolished immediately. At the end of August 1890, the bridge was carried away by heavy rains.

NARRATOR (female voice)
In 1887, the government of Prime Minister Honoré Mercier created the Metallic Bridges Policy. It promoted the construction of this type of bridge, believed to be much less vulnerable than ones built with wood. In 1890, the City of Farnham accepted the Québec government’s offer to pay the difference between the cost of building a steel bridge and a wooden one.

Work on a steel bridge with mortared stone pillars and abutments and two Schwedler spans began on July 29, 1890, according to the plans and specifications of the Québec government. The total amount paid by the City of Farnham came to $10,000.

The bridge was officially inaugurated in June 1891 by the Honourable Honoré Mercier.

NARRATOR (male voice)
In the spring of 1949, a debacle took out the braces that had been installed to reinforce the underside of the bridge. The structure was demolished in that same year.

A few months later, the City would adopt a resolution allowing it to acquire all the land necessary to build the bridge on its present location. It would also authorize moving or demolishing any building hampering its construction.

NARRATOR (female voice)
In July that same year, M. Jean-Jacques Bertrand, Québec Legislative Member for Missisquoi, announced that the Ministry of Public Works would begin construction of a new bridge within a few days. A temporary bridge would also be built to allow the flow of traffic to continue while the work was ongoing.

The bridge was inaugurated in December 1949. It was blessed in July of the following year by Mgr. Arthur Douville, bishop of the Saint-Hyacinthe diocese, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Québec, the Honourable Maurice Duplessis. 

NARRATOR (male voice)
The bridge you see before you was built by the Ministry of Transport and was completed during the spring of 2012.

An interesting detail: The natural gas line which was secured under the old bridge has since been submerged under the Yamaska River bed.

Extract of
City of Farnham Historical Tour

City of Farnham Historical Tour image circuit

Presented by : Ville de Farnham

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