Winnipeg bridge celebrates 100 years, stokes memories

A piece of Winnipeg's history got a birthday present Saturday. The Elm Park Bridge, built in 1914, now has a plaque commemorating its 100 years linking St. Vital to Fort Rouge.

Link connecting St. Vital to Fort Rouge known by unofficial name, BDI Bridge

The Elm Park Bridge, affectionately known as the BDI Bridge, celebrated its 100th birthday Saturday. (CBC)

A piece of Winnipeg's history got a birthday present Saturday.

The Elm Park Bridge, built in 1914, now has a plaque commemorating its 100 years linking St. Vital to Fort Rouge.

Laurie McGregor, 91, said the bridge has a lot of personal history for him. (CBC)
St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes said the bridge's use has changed over time, along with the city. 

"It started off as a bridge for cars and trucks. Now it's a bridge for walkers and cyclists and runners," he said. 
"It's a great piece of St. Vital history so we wanted to celebrate that today." 

The Elm Park Bridge is more commonly known as the BDI bridge because it's right beside the well known ice cream stop.

St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes and Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Ward Coun. Jenny Gerbasi unveiled a plaque commemorating the Elm Park Bridge's 100 years. (CBC)
Laurie McGregor, 91, said the bridge has a lot of personal history for him.

Back in the 1930s, the river was a playground for him and his buddies.

"We used to come down here and swim off the ice-breaker all the time," he said. 

He said a sad memory is that one of his friends died while jumping from the high beam. 

But other memories were more pleasant, of how they would start at a nearby dock and make their way down the river. 

"I used a surfboard," he said. "I had a dog, a Scottie dog, who sat on the front of the surfboard. He just loved the surfboard."