Saskatoon may like to lay claim to being the Paris of the Prairies because of the Tragically Hip (and eager 19th century immigrant agents), but let’s be real – they’re stretching it. Saskatoon may have many bridges crossing its river, but beyond that? Cmon now.
In truth, Lethbridge would have a better case to lay claim to the title because of its big famous bridge.The High Level Bridge, aka the Lethbridge Viaduct, was “designed by the Canadian Pacific Railway’s bridge department in Montreal. A 100 man gang worked on the erection of the steel. This bridge is the largest railway structure in Canada and the largest of its type in the world.” [Wiki]
The Lethbridge Viaduct is 1624 meters long, about a mile, and towers more than 95 meters above the Oldman River below. If you visit Fort Whoop Up, make sure you take a wander underneath this impressive bridge. As you do, the train bridge starts to fade away into an angular sculpture of steel making it look, sort of, like The Eiffel Tower.
I may be making a bit of a stretch to say Lethbridge a is the true Paris of the Prairies, but when you compare the pictures of the Lethbridge High Level Bridge and that Parisian masterpiece… Well, don’t tell me it’s not fair to say these 1907 girders don’t bear a resemblance to M Eiffel’s Tower built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.
I’d say it’s pretty darn close, and a wonderful place to go and take some cool photos.
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