The Charter of the French language and its regulations govern the consultation of English-language content.

Pont Marchand

Classified as a historic monument, the Felix Gabriel Marchand Bridge is affectionately known as the Pont Rouge by locals. At 151.59 meters long, it is the longest covered bridge in Quebec. Constructed of pine in 1898, it has undergone numerous repairs to safeguard its status as a symbol of our municipality.

History of the Pont Marchand

The Marchand Bridge, which crosses the Coulonge River, was built by August Caeser Brown of Beachburg, Ontario. The contract to build the bridge was signed on January 1, 1898, and the very next day Brown acquired 100 acres of wooded land near Beachburg, in the area known as The Glen.

Brown hires local men to saw and work the timber for the new bridge. With the help of two steam engines, owned by August’s son Harris and Hamilton Scott, work progresses rapidly. The timber was first hauled from the woodland to the bridge site by horse and sleigh, over an ice bridge on the Ottawa River. Spring was said to be early that year, but the Browns succeeded in opening the bridge on March 17.

Made entirely of pine, the bridge was later covered to protect it from the elements. On several occasions in its history, the bridge has required restoration, the first in 1939 when its cedar shingles were replaced by tinplate. By 1964, the bridge was in such poor condition that demolition was considered. Thanks to government subsidies and donations from local citizens, the pillars were replaced, and the bridge was lifted, repaired and put back in place.

The spring flood of 1972 caused a log dam near the bridge, interrupting restoration and threatening its survival. At that time, logs were floated down the Coulonge River and across the Coulonge Falls. Fearing that the bridge would be swept away if the dam failed, steel cables were stretched across the river to hold the logs in place, while “boom logs” were used to guide the logs under the bridge.

In 1979, a similar flood and timber dam occurred, but unlike the previous incident, nothing was in place to retain or guide the logs. The force of the water and the wood moved the bridge several meters, and it almost fell into the river. Repairs took over a year before the bridge reopened in 1980 and was officially recognized as a historic monument by the Quebec Ministry of Culture in 1989.

Pont Marchand Mansfield

In the late 1990s, the bridge celebrated its 100th anniversary with another renovation and an official naming ceremony. Long known simply as the “Pont Marchand”, some say it was named after the Quebec premier at the time of its construction. Others think it’s a variant of “marché”, indicating a footbridge. Finally, to end the debate, the bridge is now known as “Le Pont Félix-Gabriel Marchand”.

In the 2010s, local citizens once again gathered around the bridge to restore it over a four-year period. This time, the bridge, which is over 120 years old, is equipped with technology enabling nearby visitors to control the colour of the smart lights along the bridge via a mobile app. In 2023, the new rest stop opens nearby with picnic tables, self-cleaning toilets, and electric vehicle charging stations.

Close Search Window