This derelict railroad bridge spans the Ottawa River just past the end of the O-train line at Bayview.
It seems like it wouldn’t take much to extend light rail across the river to Gatineau, which would do plenty to solve the problem of Gatineau buses clogging up Rideau Street, but it’s not going to happen.
For one thing, Gatineau is on record as rejecting the idea of commuter trains. They like their buses, and they like doing things their way. And for another, even though the city of Ottawa recently bought the bridge, they don’t show any sign of being able to do anything as sensible as running the O-Train over it.
David Gladstone of Friends of the O-Train often writes about this in the Centretown Buzz, so I won’t go on about it.
I’ve walked across this bridge in the past, but now they’ve got it all blocked off. I guess they’re afraid of being sued if somebody falls off it into the river.
I did find it a bit creepy being out in the middle. It reminded me of the movie Stand By Me, in which kids cross a railroad bridge and a train comes. They have to run like crazy and one of them trips and falls.
I knew there were no trains on this bridge. Maybe I was afraid of meeting the kids from Stand By Me and having them toss me into the river in a random act of teenage cruelty. It seemed very remote and lawless out there.
This day I went exploring under the bridge, on the south side of the bike path. Homeless people are evidently living there.
If homeless people sleep somewhere, is that their home? I think maybe home is where you toss your bedroll.
I’m pretty conflicted about homeless people. I don’t like the begging. I wish there was some other way to get by without working, in such a rich land.
I used to kind of like it if a stranger would approach me on the street. Usually they’d be looking for directions. Maybe they’d be from Australia or someplace, and it would be fun to meet them. Now if someone approaches me I know they want money, and I’m pretty sure they want it to buy crack with.
But I’m not here to spout off about that either. That place under the bridge was a rich trove of graffiti that I hadn’t seen before.
Insert soul here
Cory loves Angel
There wasn’t anyone there, but I felt like I was trespassing, so I didn’t stay long. I liked it under the bridge because I felt like I’d stumbled into the place where Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer live, or maybe Peter Pan and the lost boys.
There’s a lot of appeal in the idea of slipping out of society, lighting out for the territories, riding the rods, living free. It’s the drugs that screw it up. But that place under the bridge just felt like somebody’s home.
A year ago:
Road trip to Maynooth, Part 1