Old Major Mackenzie Drive

Sunday April 22, 2018

The Humber River in Vaughan Township has three historic concrete bowstring bridges, all designed by Frank Barber. All three are closed to vehicles and are in varying states of disrepair. Having previously featured both the Kirby Road Bridge and the Old Langstaff Road Bridge it seemed fitting to make a brief excursion to the third one as well.  The oldest of these three bridges is the one on Old Major Mackenzie as it was built in 1914.  The other two were built in 1923.

Frank Barber was born in Milton on Dec. 27, 1875.  In November 1908 Barber was appointed consulting engineer for the County of York.  He was later made engineer for York, Scarborough, Amaranth, Etobicoke, King and Vaughan.  He is best known as a bridge designer having built the bridge at The Old Mill as well as Middle Road Bridge.  One of Frank’s onnovations was the introduction of concrete into the construction of bridges.  This increased their lifespan dramatically compared to 20 years for a wooden bridge and is the primary reason we still have some of his work around 100 years later.

The north side of the bridge is in an advanced state of deterioration.  This gives a pretty clear idea of the wire skeleton inside the bridge.  I noticed that the reinforcing rods are not bound together either through welding or wire ties.

After crossing the bridge, Old Major Mackenzie Road climbed the side of the ravine on an angle.  The outline of the road can still be discerned just above the yellow line on the picture below.  A camera is mounted on the pole just below Vaughan – No Trespassing sign.  Rats, I’ll bet that old roadway would be an interesting climb.  Since the road has been closed the short access to the bridge and a couple of houses has been renamed Humber Bridge Trail.

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A little side excursion brought me to John Lawrie’s house.  This house was built in 1855 of field stone and is being preserved in spite of the large distribution centres being built in the former corn fields behind the house.

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Google Maps Link: Humber Bridge Trail

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One thought on “Old Major Mackenzie Drive

  1. garfordorta@gmailcom

    The Old Major Mackenzie Drive Bridge looks very similar to the Bewdley Heritage Sackville Bridge, it was built W.C. Gibson of Port Hope, Ontario. It has a National Heritage significance rating on a scale of 1-10 of 7. See 2oldguyswalking post: Bewdley’s Heritage Sackville Bridge, August/2016.
    Ranger.

    Reply

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