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THEN & NOW: Northern Railway bridge

Solidly built bridge is still standing at the entrance to Johnson's Beach and the Barrie Yacht Club

This ongoing series from Barrie Historical Archive curator Deb Exel shows old photos from the collection and one from the present day.

Northern Railway bridge 

Many will recognize this structure as the ‘gateway’ to Barrie’s popular east-end Johnson’s Beach located in the historic Kempenfelt Village neighbourhood. 

The Northern Railway iron bridge, shown here in 1912, was south of Davis Street (renamed Shanty Bay Road in March 1952) and allowed trains to thunder above the foot of Johnson Street.

Up until 1910, Johnson Street had previously been known as Ross Street.

There are a couple of theories regarding the origins of Johnson Street. It could have been named for District of Simcoe Justice of the Peace and Kempenfeldt (note the 'd' in the original spelling) pioneer James Johnson, whose family was said to have arrived in that area about 1822.

Another opinion is that the street was named for 1870s brick maker and ‘old resident’ Martin Johnston. (Yes, with a ‘t’.)

Either way, the bridge and its solid masonry walls still frame the entrance to beautiful Johnson’s Beach and the Barrie Yacht Club.