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Federal and provincial representatives are joining a push by Ottawa's mayor and a local councillor to have a much-needed pedestrian bridge over the Rideau Canal built ahead of schedule — and possibly in time for Canada's 150th birthday.
The city's transportation master plan calls for funding a pedestrian bridge connecting Fifth Avenue in the Glebe and Clegg Street in Old Ottawa East between 2020 and 2025.
In recent history, the idea of a bridge connecting Fifth Avenue and Clegg Street has been on the city's radar since at least 2008, when it was mentioned in a city-wide cycling plan.
However, the desire for a bridge in that location goes back more than a century.
In 1915, a federal plan for the layout of Canada's capital called for a permanent bridge over the canal at Fifth Street.
It was never built, but for some time afterwards, Ottawans could cross from Old Ottawa East to the Glebe — and back again — by taking a ferry over the canal near that location.
Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, the National Capital Commission began building a wooden bridge each winter over the canal a few blocks north of the new bridge's proposed location.