Victoria Street Bridge opened Oct. 2, 1961, forever changing City of Trail life. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Victoria Street Bridge opened Oct. 2, 1961, forever changing City of Trail life. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Victoria Street Bridge turns 60

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Here’s an anniversary that is not oft talked about, even though its existence forever changed dynamics in the City of Trail.

The Victoria Street Bridge turns 60 this weekend.

Not one to let an important piece of city history pass unnoticed, Sarah Benson-Lord sent this image of the bridge’s grand opening to the Times for a timely feature in this week’s Trail Blazers feature.

“Opening on October 2, 1961, the bridge formed part of B.C.’s new southern highway system,” began Benson-Lord, Trail Museum and Archives manager. “A wonder to watch develop, construction of the bridge produced tremendous imagery for the archives.”

The four-span, four-lane Trail bridge measures 950 feet and cost $2.5 million to construct.

For the grand opening, B.C. highway minister, P.A. Gaglardi, cut the ribbon. He was surrounded by Mayor L.A. Read, MLA Don Brothers and many other local dignitaries.

“Soon to follow was the re-routing of the highway away from downtown Trail and the old bridge,” Benson-Lord said. “And this would change the city forever.”

Who was P.A. Gaglardi?

Philip Arthur Gaglardi (P.A. Gaglardi) sometimes known as Flying Phil, was a British Columbian politician. He is best known for his service as B.C. Minister of Highways from 1952 to 1972. Gaglardi hailed from Mission, B.C., as one of 11 children born to poverty-stricken Italian immigrants.

Phil Gaglardi, a reverend and former Mayor of Kamloops, was first elected to legislature in 1952 as a MLA for the B.C. Social Credit League. He won seven elections and served as a cabinet minister for the full duration of W.A.C. Bennett’s time as premier. Photo: Vancouver Archives/City of Vancouver

Phil Gaglardi, a reverend and former Mayor of Kamloops, was first elected to legislature in 1952 as a MLA for the B.C. Social Credit League. He won seven elections and served as a cabinet minister for the full duration of W.A.C. Bennett’s time as premier. Photo: Vancouver Archives/City of Vancouver

Gaglardi and his wife Jennie (a Pentecostal minister) had two sons: Bob Gaglardi, founder of Northland Properties — whose holdings include the 60-hotel Sandman Hotel chain and 100-plus restaurants under various labels — and whose family is the current owner of the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars. Their second son Bill, is a Calgary businessman.

Flying Phil passed away on Sept. 23, 1995 at the age of 82.

Read more: 120 years of Trail Times – Bridge opening draws big crowd

Read more: Honouring a stalwart structure (Note: If you click the ‘Local History’ tag in the bottom of this story, it’ll link to many local history stories)



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