7 Little-Known Facts of Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge

Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge by Eva Blue

The Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal that spans the St. Lawrence River and was laid in 1926 (Fleuve Saint-Laurent in French) has a few secrets of its own.

1) There’s a Secret Time Capsule & Treasure

The bridge contains a treasure in pile 26! In fact, there’s a secret time capsule that contains 59 objects, but it’s so secret that no one really knows the actual location of the time capsule.

But they know that it holds numerous newspapers dated August 7, 1926, as well as several period documents, aerial photographs of Montreal’s Old Port, some coins, and maps.

2) It Had a Different Name!

The Jacques Cartier Bridge was originally called the Montreal Harbour Bridge until 1934.

3) Bust of Famous French Explorer – Jacques Cartier

It was meant to mark the 400th anniversary of Canada’s discovery. As such, France donated a bronze bust of Jacques Cartier, the famous French explorer, on June 30, 1934.

The bust is located on Saint Helen’s Island side (Ile Sainte-Helene), right before the access ramp to Montreal on a wall next to the Pavilion.

4) Jacques Cartier Bridge Has Eiffel Towers

Eiffel towers top the main span of the Jacques Cartier bridge. Although hard to see from down below on the road, there are four metal structures that are shaped very much like the Eiffel tower of Paris. You can easily see the bridge’s Eiffel towers in the The Jacques Cartier Bridge’s Inaugural Light Show video below, as the peaks light up.

Legend has it that these finials were a gift from France but there is no proof of this.

5) So Heavy!

Each Eiffel Tower finial weighs about 6000 kg or around 13,000 pounds and are about 4 m tall.

6) So Tall!

The Jacques Cartier Bridge peaks stand at height of over 100 m each!

7) In the Spotlight

For Montreal’s 375th anniversary, the Jacques Cartier Bridge was illuminated (see above video). Lights are activated and change according to the energy of the city and the seasons. The federal government picked up most of the tab, paying $30 million of the $39.5 million cost.