Stone Road East Bow Truss Bridge

Bylaw: (2004)-17357A

Legal description: The Stone Road Bridge, located over the Eramosa branch of the Speed River, in the City of Guelph, and includes land described as part of the original road allowance between the Townships of Guelph and Puslinch, now known as Stone Road, by By-law (1966)-6359 and registered as Instrument No. MS60315.

Designated portions

The designation applies to:

The form and appearance of the existing surface of the concrete bridge structure including, in detail:

  • the eight vertical members,
  • chamfered and dimpled balustrading,
  • arches, and
  • the cross-member with dated inscription tying the arches.

It is intended that any repairs or reconstruction in concrete of the features may be undertaken without requiring City Council permission for an alteration to the designation.

Property history

The Stone Road Bridge was constructed in 1916 and spans the Eramosa River on what was then the boundary line between the Township of Guelph and the Township of Puslinch. The bridge is an early example of reinforced concrete bow string truss construction or tied arch span, and was built to replace an earlier wooden span, commonly called McQuillan’s Bridge, due to the proximity of this river crossing to lots cleared and settled by the McQuillan family.

The Stone Road Bridge was built under the direction of Wellington County Engineer A. W. Connor as a sturdy and more permanent structure to meet the demand for better road conditions required by increased settlement and agricultural production in the area. The bridge was built by Charles Mattaini, a local contractor and craftsman who developed skills in the use of concrete for many local building projects and, in particular, bridges. Mattaini, a native of northern Italy, built over fifty bridges that were constructed in this area, and his work was well known and admired outside of Wellington County. The Stone Road Bridge is the only example of the concrete bow string truss form within the City of Guelph and is one of only a few remaining examples of this type in the County.

The first span of this type in Ontario was built in 1909 and featured a system of cross bracing between the vertical hangers. While these bridges share a basic form, there is considerable variety among these structures. The Stone Road Bridge is distinguished from the 1909 Ontario prototype in that it does not include a system of cross bracing. This form of design was later to become typical of the standard practice of concrete bow string truss construction in Ontario that was most popular between 1915 and 1930. The Stone Road Bridge is also distinguished by the height of its arches, which required them to be connected by a single cross beam, inscribed with the date of construction. The bridge’s graceful arches and simple design are considered to be a significant element of the riverscape at this location.

The introduction and success of the concrete bow string truss bridge reflects the transition from horse-drawn vehicles to motorized forms of transportation as this type of bridge provided a more safe and durable design than the traditional timber bridge found commonly in rural areas in the 19th century. The concentration of this bridge type in Wellington County is notable and reflects the availability of local aggregate and the particular skills of a local craftsman. The Stone Road Bridge is listed in the Ontario Heritage Bridge Program, spans a designated Canadian Heritage River route and is considered to be an early and rare surviving example of concrete bow string truss construction in a local, provincial and national context.