The Hub November 2016 - Page 28

The bridge was designed by the McClintic-Marshall Company of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in 1927. Its design is a combination of Art Deco and Modern Streamline architecture, with some Gothic architecture mixed in. It’s made up of close to 21,000 tons (42 million pounds) of steel and steel-silicon alloys. At the time of its completion, in 1929, it was named the longest suspended central spanned bridge in the world stretching 1.75 miles between the American and Canadian checkpoints. It held this title until 1931, when it was surpassed by the George Washington Bridge, which crosses the Hudson River. remembers when his parents and sibling crossed the border to buy new clothes for school. He said they would throw away their old clothes and put layers of new clothes on to cross back across the border. When they arrived at Customs, he said, they wouldn’t declare the new purchases and continue across the border. “Times were a little simpler,” said Gervais. If the presence of the Ambassador Bridge has served as a social and economic backdrop to life in Windsor, it’s also been a very visual one. Photos and memories of times spent at the riverfront usually include at least a glimpse of the bridge, its tower peeking over the treetops, or its span stretching across the water in the background. Instagram and Twitter, popular venues for photos of iconic landmarks, feature numerous shots of the Ambassador Bridge. The bridge has several different hashtags on Instagram. People from across the globe have tagged more than 11,900 photos with #ambassadorbridge. Kati Panasiuk knows why the Ambassador Bridge is such a popular spot for photography. As a photographer she often shoots the there. “The bridge in my opinion is a strong identification of not only Windsor but Detroit as well.” “Buildings and city landscapes often change repeatedly within each decade but the bridge is one of those structures that has been a landmark most of the people in North America can recognize without question,” said Panasiuk. “I love to include it for night shots as the light reflects beautifully off of the Detroit River. The Ambassador Bridge is a statement of our home and the connection we have with our American neighbours.” As popular as the bridge is for pictures it is also an important landmark featured in American and Canadian pop culture. It’s been featured in several films throughout the past 87 years, such as 8 Mile (2002), Crossing the Bridge (1992), Sicko (2007), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) and Bowling for Columbine (2002). It has also been the backdrop for several television shows, music videos and works of literature. Some even consider it a piece of of historic art. According to architecture student Gary Burke, the design makes the bridge look forever modern, however old it actually is. “It adds a physical connection and an aesthetic connection between the two cities,” said Burke. Bit by bit, and little by little, our early community leaders worked hard, not just to create a link between Canada and the United States, or Windsor and Detroit, but to create opportunity and productivity. Now almost 90 years later the Ambassador Bridge still stands tall, weathered with age and painting the skyline with its recognizable figure and its sense of belonging.