Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's footbridge dedicated to Helen Fogwill Porter

St. John's writer Helen Fogwill Porter, whose works include a memoir about growing up on the southside of St. John's, received a unique honour Thursday.
Helen Fogwill Porter enjoys the view of the Waterford River from a footbridge that has been named in her honour. (CBC)

St. John's writer Helen Fogwill Porter, whose works include a memoir about growing up on the southside of St. John's, was honoured Thursday when a new footbridge near her beloved childhood neighbourhood was named after her.

"It's just unbelievable," said Porter, 85, whose 1979 memoir Below the Bridge described growing up on the southside during the Depression and Second World War.

The Helen Fogwill Porter Footbridge is a pedestrian crossing that connects the west end of Water Street with the southside. It's to the west of the old railway yards, and not far away from the great bridge that Porter knew as a child.

"It was huge  It was more of a road than a bridge," she told CBC News Thursday.

She said many residents, from the coopers and longshoremen who kept the harbour running to families who lived near Fort Amherst, had a unique way of living, and one that is now long gone.

"It was very different from any other place in the St. John's area. People call Fort Amherst St. John's nearest outport ... in that it was very close, but a very different lifestyle," she said.

With files from Todd O'Brien