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Visiting the Pontiac Region's Pont Félix-Gabriel-Marchand, Dating From 1898: A Bridge Named for a Quebec Prime Minister

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Marchand Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Ouebec

Marchand Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Ouebec

A striking, heritage structure in western Quebec

This bridge in Quebec's Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality, itself part of the Outaouais region, is the longest covered bridge in Quebec.

Built in 1898, this Quebec heritage structure extending over the Coulonge River is 148.66 metres long and 5.56 metres wide, with a height of 3.96 metres. It is executed in pine wood.

The structure underwent renovation in 2009.

Named for Quebec Prime Minister Félix-Gabriel Marchand (1832-1900)(1), who served in that office from 1897 until 1900, the bridge was designed by architect J.-N. Castonguay and built by Augustus Brown.

The bridge is located close to Route 148; I have supplied, below, a photo taken from Route 148.

Often thought of as being in Fort Coulonge (perhaps because of the name of the river which the bridge corsses), the Marchand Bridge is actually situated in the municipality of Mansfield-et-Pontefract. The name of this municipality may seem unusual to some readers (see Note 2, below).

Western Quebec is not as well known to visitors as some other regions of the Province, but in terms of heritage structures and properties it is undoubtedly well endowed and Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality is a sizable area which certainly deserves to be better known.

November 17, 2020

Notes

(1) A journalist by profession, Félix-Gabriel Marchand served in Quebec's Legislative assembly and was appointed Prime Minister of Quebec in 1897; he died in that office in 1900.

(2) Interestingly, although the English names which denote the municipality might be suggestive of a majority native English-speaking population, the municipality is actually overwhelmingly Francophone. This situation is a likely throwback to a time when the Anglophone commercial and professional class exercised significant influence; indeed, the Orange Order was active in the early 20th century to prevent Francophone children from being taught in French in Pontiac's schools.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Marchand Bridge, with its interior seen from Route 148

Marchand Bridge, with its interior seen from Route 148

Also worth seeing

Also in Mansfield-et-Pontefract is Maison Bryson, a 19th century heritage property, located a short distance the Marchand Bridge; a waterfall known as the Chutes Coulonge are located in the municipality.

Fort-Coulonge (distance: c. 3.6 kilometres) has a skyline dominated by the tower of the Église Saint-Pierre ; Spruceholme is a noted 19th century heritage property.

In Portage-du-Fort (distance: c. 37.9 kilometres) there are various heritage properties, some of them of built of stone, which surround or are close to Parc Brosseau; the village has become well known for artistic exhibitions.

In Gatineau (distance: c. 117.1 kilometres), the Musée canadien des civilisations / Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada's most visited museum. Gatineau's Masion du citoyen / Citizen's House has a noted art gallery and the Hall des nations / Hall of the Nations containing valuable cultural artifacts from around the world. Parc de la Gatineau / Gatineau Park has exceptional recreational and scenic possibilities.

In Ottawa (distance: c. 119 kilometres) possesses cultural treasures, structures of architectural excellence and noted museums which are too numerous to mention properly here; but a few of these include Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall, the Chateau Laurier, Laurier House, the Rideau Canal, and the Bank of Canada's Currency Museum.

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How to get there: Air Canada flies from various North American destinations to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport / Aéroport international Macdonald-Cartier d'Ottawa (distance from Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Quebec: 129.8 kilometres), where car rental is available. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

Map location of Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality

Map location of Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality

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