The two orange bridges

Nancy Whelan compares Parksville’s bridge to San Fran’s

What do Parksville’s bridge over the Englishman River and the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge have in common? Not a great deal, actually, but a few items bear comparison.

The most visible similarity is their colour.

Both bridges are orange. The Parksville bridge in fact has taken its colour to heart and is almost officially known as “The Orange Bridge”.

This designation is frequently used in giving directions around the southeastern end of town; you’re looking for something either just before or just after the Orange Bridge. The bridge and its colour have even been adopted by nearby businesses.

The Golden Gate on the other hand, came by its permanent colour almost by accident. After the bridge’s completion, there was some urging to change its colour from the original and preservative orange; the U.S. Navy wanted it painted yellow and black!

Apparently there was an uproar about changing the Golden Gate from its birthday suit orange, and a specially mixed shade known as International Orange became its permanent colour.

The Golden Gate’s designer felt that the bright orange colour was the perfect complement to the area’s green hills, blue sky and water and … the ever present grey fog! The bridge’s northern, reddish soil approaches in Marin County, also lent its colour to the final decision.

Today, should you want to match something… maybe a little decorative bridge over your fish pond, or the colour of your kitchen ceiling, to San Francisco Bay’s famous bridge you can check with a well known paint dealer in San Fran for exactly the same colour.

And you can purchase it in less that commercial quantities too — 500 gallons (US). Just ask for “Fireweed” code # SW 6328.

Meanwhile, back in Parksville, our Englishman River bridge may have one-upped the Golden Gate after all.

The first bridge over the Englishman River was completed in 1887; that span down south didn’t come online until 1937. And a few years back there was a lot of chatter about  re-painting our famous PV span with some other colour. But last time I looked it was still “The Orange Bridge”.

Bridges don’t come cheaply, however, and another similarity between our bridges is that the G.G. was given a few rivets worth of depression-days cash by surrounding residents and businesses who were eager for a proper crossing of the strait to ease their way into the booming city of San Francisco.

Our Orange Bridge, being on the very fringe of the city, is now trying, through its nearby businesses, to raise the profile of its contiguous merchants by sprucing up the area to make it more noticeable and enticing to the passing public.

And they’re offering to do this at their own expense and effort, asking only for permission from City Hall to install and maintain the touches that will bring the Orange Bridge business neighborhood into sharper focus.

Sometimes bridges, of whatever fame or renown, need a little help from the people at their approaches.

So far, Parksville seems to be recognizing the needs of the Orange Bridge merchants, and allowing the face lifts.

Planter boxes for flowers (orange ones, I hope!) and street light banners are in the works. Maybe a unique name for the area could be a drawing card too; every city has its specially named places that contribute to rather than detract from a city’s image.

So put on your thinking caps, merchants; and don’t ever let them change the colour of your bridge!

— Nancy Whelan’s column appears every second Thursday in The NEWS. E-mail:

Just Posted

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

Fire engulfs trailer, vehicle and home in Bowser

The fire began around 6:45 p.m. at a property on Laurel Crescent

Have a heart for a cause in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Stained glass artist selling hearts for the homeless for what might be the last time

Canadian flag, pole heisted from Qualicum Beach business

Thieves remained busy during holiday season

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

First Parksville baby of 2019 born in Nanaimo hospital

Maverick Maurice Lapierre was five pounds, 11 ounces

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Port Alberni RCMP officers bear-sprayed by suspect

Police were responding at scene of traffic accident

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read