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The King George VI Lift Bridge was built in 1939 to replace the existing steel truss bridge. As the name suggestions, the lift bridge is able to lift up either side to let marine traffic pass through. Although present-day traffic is mostly pleasure crafts, with some commercial fishing boats, historically goods including grain, oil, and coal were shipped in and out of Port Stanley. This bridge is currently being repaired (2020-2021).

Port Stanley Harbour, ca. 1912. Note the old truss bridge.

Sky, Tree, Motor vehicle, Water

Flood in Port Stanley's harbour due to an ice jam, 1929. The flood damaged many boats. The one pictured was lifted out of his dry dock and partially sunk in the harbour.

Water, Sky, Building, Vehicle

The current (2020-2021) repairs to the lift bridge.

Cloud, Sky, Water, Building

Bridge Construction is only of many developments the Port Stanley harbour has seen since European settlers came here in the early 1800s. The natural mouth of Kettle Creek was extremely small due to a sand bar and silt build-up; it could only fit a small craft like a canoe. Over the years, the harbour was enlarged, dredged, and reinforced, until it became the harbour you see today. One ship that sailed out of Port Stanley's harbour was the "Mary Roe" in the 1870s. She left the harbour carrying a load of walnut lumber from Southwold township en route to Germany, and returned with a cargo of wire nails. 

A tragic, deadly accident marred the construction of the lift bridge in 1937. Eight of the thirteen men working on the bridge were killed when the coffer dam--the construction used to hold back water while they worked on the creek bed--collapsed on top of them.

The Port Stanley harbour has also seen its fair share of major floods, mostly due to ice jams, including one in 1929 that swept boats away from their docks. 

Port Stanley Memories and Musings by Frank and Nancy Prothero

Port Stanley: The First Hundred Years by Robert J. Burns and Craig Cole

Heritage Port Tour:

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Elgin County Archives.