British Columbia

B.C.'s Red Bridge included in new Canada Post stamps

Residents living in and around Keremeous in Southern B.C. have reason to cheer as the Ashnola Bridge, locally-known as the Red Bridge, is featured by Canada Post in its special Historic Covered Bridges collection of stamps and postcards.

The special Historic Covered Bridges series features four other prominent bridges across Canada

The Ashnola Bridge, locally known as the Red Bridge, stretches 300-metres over the Similkameen River near Keremeos in Southern B.C. (Canada Post)

The Ashnola Bridge, a familiar landmark in the Southern B.C. town of Keremeos, has withstood both natural forces and urban changes for over 100 years.

So, community members in the area had reason to cheer as Canada Post included it in the Historic Covered Bridges stamps issue. 

"I would call it [the bridge] our entertainment package because as kids you always met at the bridge to swim," said Anna Bartlett who led the effort to restore the landmark in 2004. 

Locally known as the Red Bridge owing to its vibrant red-painted cladding, the bridge stretches 300-metres over the Similkameen River. 

Throughout its history, the Ashnola Bridge transcended its role of facilitating trade to bring communities together. Miners, icemakers and kids — they all used the bridge.

Bartlett was born and raised on a property beside the bridge. 

"We used to have three local sawmills in the town who would get together every year and build a diving board for the kids at the bridge," she said. "It was always a big part of me."

Canada Post's special Historic Covered Bridges stamp series features five bridges from across the country. (Canada Post)

The bridge first opened for the Great Northern Railway in 1907 during the gold mining era. Its tracks were removed in 1954, converted into vehicle traffic in the early 1960s and put through restoration in 2004.

It is now used as a highway bridge to the south side of the Similkameen River toward the Ashnola River. 

The Ashnola Bridge survived the 1972 floods and is British Columbia's only standing, historic covered bridge open to vehicle traffic. Now, it will live on in posterity as a stamp and a postcard when Canada Post prints the special series.

But Barlett and other eager residents may have to wait till they get their hands on one.

"We went down to town to order them, but they're only bringing in 10 packages or something," explained Barlett. 

"I asked if we can put our name on 10 of them, but they said it's first come, first serve."

The Historic Covered Bridges stamps series from Canada Post also features New Brunswick's Hartland Covered Bridge, the Powerscourt Bridge and Félix-Gabriel-Marchand Bridge in Quebec, as well as Ontario's West Montrose Covered Bridge.

With files from Brady Strachan


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