Hog Bay Trestle Bridge 1908-1978

Hogg Bay Trestle Bridge 1908-78

(photo by William J. Gibson, used with permission)

Spanning the waters of Hog Bay, a great wooden trestle bridge was built in 1908 to carry the Canadian Pacific Railway from grain elevators at Port McNicoll. 2141 feet long and 50 feet high, it was one of the longest wooden structures on the continent. The pine timbers were 8″ by 16″ and pilings of B.C. fir were 65 feet long. The builder was Mike McPeake of Port McNicoll. Patrolled by armed guards in both World Wars, this unique and handsome bridge was last used in 1971 and demolished in 1978.

Hog Bay Trestle plaque

16 thoughts on “Hog Bay Trestle Bridge 1908-1978

  1. My Dad used to walk home from Pt. Mcnicoll to Midland on this. Thanks for the memory. I plan on building a “compressed model” of this on my Model RR.


  2. Hello! Good to hear some stories of people who remember and used the trestle!
    We actually have a model of this trestle, as you are planning to build, on display here at the museum.

  3. I have enjoyed browsing your site.
    The Hog Bay Trestle holds fond childhood memories for me. My Dad, Bud Baker, was a yard foreman at Toronto Lambton. Before moving to Toronto we lived in Midland, where Dad’s family settled in 1880. We often went to Midland to visit. Of course we were travelling on a C.P. pass so we would leave West Toronto and since there was no C.P. line into Midland, we would get off at Medonte. If we were lucky, Dad usually knew one of the C.N. guys and we would continue to Midland by C.N. If there was no C.N. accommodation, we would take the freight to Port McNichol. Dad was the kind of guy that no matter where he went, he would meet someone he knew. Except for the boring wait for the freight, in the middle of nowhere, this was my favourite way to travel.
    Immediately upon entering the van, my brother and I would climb the ladders to sit on either side of the cupola. I usually got the seat on the outside edge of the track and was always a little scarred when I would look down and see a straight, shear drop to the water below. From my vantage point it seemed like the trestle wasn’t wide enough. And because of the curve, you were able to see the engine ahead. However, my excitement always outweighed my fear. On arrival at Port, someone met us or we took a taxi the 5 miles to Midland. Don’t remember much about the return trips, but know they weren’t by freight. In a place of honour, in my home, hang a pair of beautiful drawings, the trestle and the round house at Port McNichol. These were done by my cousin, a railroad buff /artist/ historian) as a token of my memories.

    Prior to Dad’s working with the C.P.R., he worked for C.P. Steamships for several years. He sailed on the S.S. Manitoba. We lived in Midland then and we would go with Mom when she took Dad to Port to meet his boat. On one trip Dad took me down to the engine room and I was very impressed and felt very important. What great memories. What a lucky kid I was! Thanks for letting me share.

  4. I was fortunate to grow up at my parents cottage with this beautiful structure right out our back door. My older brother and I used this trestle as our personal playground for many years. This area provided the best natural fishing grounds on all of Georgan Bay, that is until it was unfortunately torn down in the late 70’s.
    The majestic beauty of this structure was awe inspiring, however I can hardly find any pictures of it in my family photo album.

  5. Michael:

    My grandfather helped build the trestle bridge on Hog Bay. We too were saddened when it was scheduled to be torn down and immediately took some photos. An 8×10 hangs in our family room. Would be happy to share. Also have an old postcard predicting trestle bridge would make the area a vital centre comparing it to Chicago 🙂 If you could email me, maybe we could work out some details.

    (My fathers’ family lived in Victoria Harbour and my mothers’ in Midland.)

    • I just read your reply on the beautiful Hog Tressle Bridge. We too would like to get a photo of this bridge –even better the one we saw with a CPR freight train going over. My husband, my father, and brother were all CPR engineers and worked that Port McNichol line quite often many years ago. It has only been since my daughter moved to Victoria Harbour and has shown some interest in obtaining a photo of this tressle bridge that I myslef became interested. Can you give me any advice on to how I might obtain a copy of this bridge as a gift to my daughter. Reading all of this information about my years being involved with CPR brings back many memories.

      Thanking you,
      Doreen L. Maxwell

  6. I’m a bit confused about the spelling of Hog vs. Hogg (river, bay, trestle, etc.) in the Victoria Harbour area. There are a lot of inconsistencies in the literature and on maps. Does anyone know the correct spelling? Maybe both are correct in certain areas (?). Thx.

    • In the historical research for Midland on Georgian Bay the question of Hog Bay spelling came up. The bay seems to be consistantly call Hog although it was likely originally Hogg, name for or by John Hogg, publisher and historian, page 28. Even on a hand drawn map from 1871 on page 91 the bay is with one ‘g’ , It can be noted that on the same map Glouchester Bay is spelled “Gloster” so, as in any research one has to make an educated guess at what is like correct.

      A similar problem arose with a map of the Midland railway (page 65) where today Uptergrove is all one word, while some original references are to Upter Grove.
      Research is always an adventure.
      Bill Smith
      co-author Midland on Georgian Bay

  7. I was lucky enough to get some of the western red cedar timbers that came from the bridge,they were spiked to cross braces with square nails temporarily and then bored and bolted about every 14 ft.before milling these timbers I checked for debris with a metal detector and found a 44 cal bullet from a service revolver,Apparently the bridge was of strategic importance during ww2 and as such was asigned a home guard soldier who was known to do some target shooting to relieve boredom.I’m hoping to cut some more logs,curious what else is buried in Them!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s