New Brunswick

Yellow Pages let its fingers do the walking to China for photo of Fredericton bridge

Fredericton isn’t a city full of high-rises, but you might get that impression if you cracked open the latest edition of the Yellow Pages for Fredericton and area.

Picture of 'iconic' walking bridge seems to be of a footpath in Chinese city

A stock image photo from Shutterstock is mislabelled as Fredericton's Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge in the opening pages of the new phone directory. (Sarah Morin/CBC)

Fredericton isn't a city full of high-rise buildings, but you might get that impression if you cracked open the latest edition of the Yellow Pages for Fredericton and area.

The new city phone book shows an image of a bridge on Page 5 with the label "Fredericton's iconic Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge."

The image depicts a footpath leading toward a stand of apartment buildings in a city that is definitely not Fredericton.

It's unclear where the photo was actually taken.

The image was posted on Shutterstock, a stock photography website, by an account under the name John_T, who describes himself as a photographer, illustrator/vector artist and videographer based in China. The image is mislabelled on the site as "Footbridge in Fredericton."

The artist posted two other images under the footbridge in Fredericton label. They show a bridge with an intricate and elaborate side rail leading toward palm trees. 

This photo of the 'Footbridge in Fredericton' wasn't taken in the New Brunswick capital. (Shutterstock)

Krystna Puleo, a communications senior manager for Shutterstock, said in an email that the image is being reviewed by the site's content team. She could not be reached for further comment on Wednesday.

Both photos are also found on the photo platform Adobe Stock, credited to someone using the name evening_tao. It's part of a series of modern cityscapes in China. 

Through reverse image searches, CBC News was able to locate where the photo was likely taken. The bridge in the photo is similar to a curvy red-railed bridge found in Suzhou, China. It's a walking path connected to a landmark in the eastern Chinese city called the Tower Bridge, modelled after the one in London.

Another photo labelled 'Footbridge in Fredericton,' posted by the same Shutterstock user, shows palm trees and two tall buildings in the distance. (Shutterstock)

Treena Cooper, vice-president, secretary and general counsel for Yellow Pages, said the company "deeply regrets its error and apologizes to all residents."

"Yellow Pages will endeavour to ensure this error does not occur in the future editions of the directory," Cooper said in an email. 

Yellow Pages said it will not be providing further comment at this time.

Fredericton residents react 

Michele Boles, who lives in Fredericton, said whoever made the mistake should be held accountable. 

"At first, I thought, 'Wow, is that what they're going for when they finish the new refurbishments on the bridge?'" Boles said, laughing.

The walking bridge is closed for repairs until at least mid-January.

Boles is annoyed by the misrepresentation of her city, however. 

"Somebody just randomly looked something up online and used a free thing and nobody even fact-checked this or caught this somehow." 

Joe Hudon, another resident, was tipped off by a friend about the mislabelled photo. Hudon didn't believe his friend until he received his own copy of the directory. 

Construction on Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge underway

2 years ago
Construction on the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge began in September and won't be completed until mid-January. But in the meantime, check out these awesome before-and-after shots as construction gets underway. 0:31

"I think this was a mistake made by the editors of the phone book who, I'm guessing, are not in N.B.," Hudon said in a Facebook message. 

"I surmise they simply did online searches for stock photos of New Brunswick locations and selected this one, which was mislabelled."

The city, which doesn't have control over the phone book, wouldn't comment on the mislabelled photo, but spokesperson Wayne Knorr said in an email that "mistakes happen." 


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