ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the Covered Bridge, West Montrose, Ontario: a remarkable, historic structure

Updated on September 26, 2015
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Ontario's last covered bridge, West Montrose
Ontario's last covered bridge, West Montrose | Source
Historical plaque for West Montrose Covered Bridge
Historical plaque for West Montrose Covered Bridge | Source
Map location of Waterloo region, Ontario
Map location of Waterloo region, Ontario | Source

A throwback to the 19th century in an Ontario village

This remarkable structure over the Grand River in Ontario's peaceful West Montrose village, in Woolwich Township, is the sole remaining covered bridge in the province.

Covered bridges are especially well known visitor attractions in the Northeastern United States and Canada's comparable covered bridge sites are also included on many travellers' tours. While New Brunswick's Hartland Bridge is the world's longest covered bridge, it is the absence of other covered bridges in Ontario that makes the West Montrose structure particularly remarkable.

The Covered Bridge at West Montrose dates from 1881. The brothers John and Benjamin Bear were the builders, with John Bear responsible for the design. The building of covered bridges in North America became widespread following the perfecting of building methods carried out by Theodore Burr, a cousin of Vice-President Aaron Burr (1). The frame of the bridge and its flooring were built with wood, and this fact is an important consideration with regard to the original purpose of the bridge's cover (2). Unlike the cases of bridges erected using more durable — and expensive — materials, the designer felt an acute to protect the wood from the elements, and this is basically the prosaic purpose of the cover.

It was only subsequently that other aspects came into play: the fact that it is picturesque and practice of couples kissing while under the cover. Indeed, the bridge at West Montrose has sometimes been known as the 'Kissing Bridge'.

The bridge is recognized as a heritage and historic site by the Ontario Archeological and Historic Sites Board, now known as the Ontario Heritage Trust, which sponsors a historical plaque in the vicinity of the bridge.

In the more than 125 years of the bridge's history, jurisdictions responsible for its upkeep have varied. Waterloo Township Council initially sanctioned the structure; later, Waterloo County took over responsibility. In 1937 administrative changes regarding road upkeep were implemented, and this affected the Guelph-Elmira road, on which the bridge is situated, as it passes through West Montrose village. Since then, the province of Ontario has maintained the bridge.


(1) Interestingly, a relative and near-namesake of Theodore Burr, Theodosia Burr-Alston and her husband Governor Joseph Alston of South Carolina, started a trend by making Niagara Falls a honeymoon destination: the beginning of a hugely important hospitality industry for New York and Upper Canada/Ontario. From kissing bridges to honeymoon destinations, the business of romance seemed to run in the Burr family, however controversial Aaron Burr may have been in other respects.

(2) In the course of reparations and repairs, the bridge has also acquired other materials, while retaining the basic design.

Also worth seeing

In West Montrose itself, the village square area is particularly picturesque. Old Order Mennonites have long associations with the locality.

Elora (distance: 13.7 kilometres) and its historic Mill and 'Tooth of Time' and other attractions bring many visitors to this village on the Grand River.

St Jacobs (distance: 12.2 kilometres), another picturesque village, its museums include the 'Mennonite Story' visitor centre, the Maple Syrup Museum and the Quilt Gallery; its Farmer's Market brings many buyers and traders to the district.

Woodside , Kitchener (distance: 20.3 kilometres), historic, former home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, now a fascinating museum.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson to West Montrose: approx. 94.5 kilometres.) WestJet and Bearskin Airlines fly to Region of Waterloo International Airport, from where car rental is available, from Calgary and Ottawa respectively. (Distance from Reg. of Waterloo Int. Airport to West Montrose: approx. 19.5 kilometres.) Be advised that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check for up to date information with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      articredriver: I usually refer to the uploader in the form 'User:...' as well as to the ultimate owner of the photo; I've done so in hundreds of the travel articles I have written, which involves a lot of photography. In this way a clear track of the image's progression can be kept; and I haven't taken the form 'User:...' to imply ownership. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for honoring the creative commons license when you re-used the image of the West Montrose bridge. Actually only Mac Armstrong is entitled to credit. He is the photographer. Geo Swan merely uploaded the image, and is not entitled to credit. The original is


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)