More than 120 years ago the Point Ellice Bridge, commonly known as the Bay Street Bridge, was a mess and now, in 2019 the bridge is still a mess.
On May 26, 1896 a streetcar crowded with 143 people crashed through the Point Ellice Bridge into the Gorge waterway. More than 50 people died in the crash, making it one of the worst accidents in Canadian transit history according to the Royal B.C. Museum.
Passengers were headed towards Macaulay Point Park in Esquimalt for Queen Victoria’s birthday celebrations, but they never made it.
According to the Curious podcast put on by the Museum, the street car fell onto it’s right side into the water so those seated on the right side or in the middle didn’t have a chance.
The podcast describes how Point Ellice house became a makeshift morgue, laying out the bodies of those who died in the crash.
Now, 123 years later the bridge is causing headaches but no more death, hopefully, with the eastbound lane closed for the next five months as the restoration takes place.
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