Centre Street Bridge

Where: Calgary, AB.

Engineer: John F. Greene

Date of construction: 1915-1916

Centre Street Bridge, Calgary, AB.

Centre Street Bridge (Source: www.waymarking.com)


Postcard of Centre Street Bridge, ca. 1940. (Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries).


Site Location: Lat.: 51° – 3’ – 11”N.; Long.: 114° – 3’ – 45”W. (GPS: 51.053165, -114.0624962). Centre Street over the Bow River. From the intersection of Trans-Canada Highway 1 and Deerfoot Trail, travel 2.5 km west on Highway 1. Turn left (south) on Centre Street and travel 1.6 km to the bridge.

Plaque Location: on column supporting an ornamental kiosk over the sidewalk at the west side of the south end of bridge.

Plaque location at ornamental kiosk entrance. (Source: R. E. Loov)

Construction of Centre Street Bridge, 1916 (Source: City of Calgary Archives)


Description: The Centre Street Bridge was built in 1915-1916 by the City of Calgary for $375,000, to replace the MacArthur Bridge, which was destroyed by the 1915 flood. John F. Greene, an expert Minnesota bridge engineer and architect was the design engineer, assisted by George Washington Craig, the city's chief engineer. It is a three-span reinforced-concrete open-spandrel arch bridge with upper and lower traffic decks: the upper deck has a total length of 178 m. (584 ft.) and a roadway width of 15 m. (49 ft.). It was extensively renovated in 2001.

Installation of one of the Centre Street Lions in 1917. (Source: Glenbow Archives.)


Installation of one of the Centre Street Lions in 1917. (Source: Glenbow Archives.)

Historic Significance: While representative of the state-of-the-art of engineering of the time, the Centre Street Bridge was considered to be the finest of its kind in Western Canada when completed. Considerable attention was given to the ornamental sculptures such as massive British lions, buffalo heads, and shields containing the symbolic emblems of the maple leaf, rose, thistle, and shamrock.

Plaque detail. (Source: R. E. Loov)

Plaque Wording: National Historic Civil Engineering Site. CSCE. CENTRE STREET BRIDGE. A tribute to the engineers and constructors who created this important addition to the transportation infrastructure of Calgary and Canada. The project, Calgary’s first reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge, represents an engineering state of the art of the time. Design and Construction Engineer John F. Green. City Engineer George W. Craig. Contractor The City of Calgary. Owner: The City of Calgary. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. 2006.

SCGC. Site Historique National de Génie Civil. LE PONT DE CENTRE STREET. Construit en 1916. En hommage aux ingénieurs et aux constructeurs qui ont crée cet important élément de l’infrastructure des transports à Calgary et au Canada. Ce premier pont en arc à tablier supérieur construit en béton armé représntait l’époque un triomphe du genie civil. John F. Green Ingénieur Concepteur et Constructeur. George W. Craig Ingénieur Municipal. The City of Calgary Entrepreneur. The City of Calgary Proprietaire. 2006. Société canadienne de genie civil.

Plaque Unveiling Ceremony: The plaque was unveiled on site at 4:00 pm Thursday May 25, 2006.

Calgary CSCE Section Chair Jim Gilliland (left) presents plaque to John Hubbell, General Manager of Transportation for the City of Calgary. (Source: CSCE)


Links to Online Documentation:

Canada’s Historic Places, “Centre Street Bridge”

Glenbow Museum, “Evolution of Centre Street Bridge”