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: njwhelan@telus.net.

Just Posted

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville 2020 annual report now ready for public feedback

Documents can be viewed online; comments or questions to be submitted before noon on July 5, 2021

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read