The Bascule Bridge of Smiths Falls — A Ghost Story



Please note-This is purely a fictional story.. trust me:)

The Bascule Bridge has been a Smiths Falls landmark for over a hundred years and it’s not without its stories.  Sid Tennant was the foulest-tempered lad you ever did see; and he operated the bridge that sits on the outskirts of town that once spanned across the Rideau Canal,  so folks had to deal with him. The bridge was built on the Toronto-Ottawa line of the Canadian Northern Railway in 1912-1913, and John ran it like he owned the old mobile bridge.

One evening Sid was out riding when something in the trees scared his horse and it bolted like lightening. The crotchety old man was thrown down next to the bridge and he died instantly. The bridge from that day on was forever more poised at a 45 degree angle.


Everyone thought they’d seen the last of Sid, until one night when Timothy Brown made his way home past that  roadbed span after drinking at the tavern.  Timothy was halfway past the old bridge when a plume of red steam came rising up through the boards of the adjacent bridge tender’s unmanned tower.

Timothy stopped and watched the mist solidify into the translucent body of  Old Man Tennant. The span began to move, and you have to remember very little power was required to operate it owing to the unique rolling lift action which almost eliminated friction. As Timothy stared in fright, the ghost of  the old Sid seemed to signal the overhead concrete counterweight which balanced the 21-metre plate-girder lift-span. It made a sound so loud all of Smiths Falls surely heard it, and as quick as Sid appeared he vanished at once with another loud popping sound.


Since Timothy had a reputation for taking a wee drink or two, no one ever believed his story of course.  The ghost of Old Sid continued to harass the townsfolk of Smith Falls for years until Canadian National Railways transferred ownership of the bridge to the City of Smiths Falls for maintenance as a heritage resource in the mid 1980s. The ghost of Old Sid hasn’t been seen since, and maybe that’s a good thing. Or maybe not!

Please watch this amazing movie of the Smiths Falls Bascule Bridge

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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