The new bridge on the Voyageurs Pathway over Leamy Creek, in Gatineau, was officially inaugurated today and renamed Mâwandòseg Bridge.
The Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer, Greg Fergus, made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Member of Parliament for Gatineau Steven MacKinnon, along with Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission (NCC), and a Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation youth group. Officials from the Ville de Gatineau and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation leaders also took part in the event.
Young people from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation chose the name Mâwandòseg, which means in Algonquin “Land where we once gathered for celebration.” Running parallel to Fournier Boulevard, along the Voyageurs Pathway near the Ottawa River, through Leamy Lake Park green space, the new bridge is located in an area that is home to the most popular archaeological digs in the National Capital Region. Thousands of years ago, the area was the site of gatherings, trade and celebration. Today, its traditional use as an inviting gathering area continues. For that very reason, the youth group members, in partnership with the National Capital Commission, choose the name Mâwandòseg.
The new bridge is the result of work that also included the construction of a new lookout on the southeast side of the bridge, where interpretation panels explaining the history of the old bridge have already been installed. Two nesting areas for the northern map turtle, a species at risk, have been created in open areas along the shore that are exposed to the sun, to help preserve and foster the growth of this species.
For a safe and enjoyable pathway experience, the NCC has replaced the old bridge, which had reached the end of its life cycle. The new bridge is a 65-metre, prefabricated structure that maintains the alignment of the original pathway.
History of the Mâwandòseg Bridge
- Built in the early 1930s, the Leamy Lake discharge bridge was part of Quebec’s old Highway 8, between the Outaouais and Montréal.
- By the 1960s, bigger bridges were becoming more popular to accommodate the growing volume of vehicle traffic. The NCC changed the use of the bridge by making it part of a recreational pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.
- A new, single-span bridge replaced the former bridge. The original concrete piers were left in place to avoid disturbing the creek’s ecosystem and to serve as a historical reminder.
- This segment of the Voyageurs Pathway allows visitors to extend their discovery of the many major attractions inside and outside Canada’s Capital. It forms part of the Trans Canada Trail, which covers more than 24,000 kilometres and crosses every province and territory, and part of the Route verte, which comprises 5,300 kilometres of bicycle routes throughout Quebec.
“The National Capital Commission is proud to inaugurate a new bridge on the Leamy Creek Pathway now called the Mâwandòseg Bridge. It extends the long tradition of this scenic crossing.” —Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital CommissionDr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission
“We hope that in the spirit of truth and reconciliation that the bridge and the land of our ancestors is always honoured and respected.”Destiny Cote and Angeleah Brazeau of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation youth group
Dominique LeBlanc Strategic Communications Advisor
Jean Wolff Senior Manager, Strategic Communications