Today in Transportation History – 1955: Nova Scotia Gets a New Bridge

The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge was opened in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia. The suspension bridge, measuring nearly one mile (1.6 kilometers) in length, crosses Halifax Harbour and serves as a link between the Halifax Peninsula and the city of Dartmouth. At the time of its debut, the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge played a pioneering role by finally making it possible to travel between those two points without having to either drive a longer route around the large local bay called the Bedford Basin or board a ferry. The bridge was designed by Philip Louis Pratley, one of Canada’s leading long-span bridge engineers.

The bridge was named after the Premier of Nova Scotia who had pushed hard for building the structure as part of his ambitious public works program for the province. Angus L. Macdonald took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the bridge in 1952 but died while still in office in 1954. His widow Agnes Foley Macdonald was on hand for the bridge’s dedication on April 2, 1955, and she cut the ribbon for the new structure on the Dartmouth end. The news agency Canadian Press reported, “As the first traffic streamed across the toll bridge, warships passed a review beneath and airplanes roared overhead.”

The Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is one of two suspension bridges connecting the Halifax Peninsula with Dartmouth. The other bridge, the A. Murray MacKay Bridge (named after a longtime chairman of the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission), was opened in 1970.

For more information on the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, please check out

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