Written by Bytown Museum
These ornamental bridges were built between 1900 and 1902 under the direction of Robert Surtees, a City of Ottawa engineer. They were one of the first projects of the Ottawa Improvement Commission (forerunner to the National Capital Commission), which Wilfrid Laurier set up in 1899 to transform Ottawa into the “Washington of the North.”
The bridges were to be part of a new ceremonial route leading from the vice-regal residence at Rideau Hall along King Edward Avenue to Parliament Hill. They spanned the Rideau River from the south end of Green Island and across Maple Island to connect Union Street in New Edinburgh with King Edward Avenue in Lowertown. The new bridges were named after the eighth governor general of Canada, the fourth earl of Minto.
Lord and Lady Minto's dedication to Canada's heritage led to the creation of the National Archives of Canada. In addition, Lady Minto was the first patron of the Women's Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa, the organization that founded the Bytown Museum in 1917.
The City of Ottawa restored the Minto Bridges in 1996.