Jun 092014
 
Dominion Bridge Ramasy

These then and now posts are becoming a BIGDoer.com trademark. In this one, we look at the old Dominion Bridge complex in the Calgary neighbourhood of Ramsay. The first photo is from 1950s, or perhaps the early 1960s at the latest. There are many buildings in the factory but in these photos we see only one. It has a very visible Dominion Bridge sign in on its sides. A travelling crane can be seen in the factory yard, next to a gated entrance. Two cars are parked in front. Some men, perhaps Dominion Bridge workers, are gathered around one.

Let’s revisit the site to see what’s changed. Some elements have, the crane is gone and the entrance gate has been moved for example. Other things remain as they were. The building itself is one, it looks much as it did, although the main door had been made bigger at some point. And the sign, while faded, is still there. The people seen and the cars…well, I guess we can say with reasonable certainly that they’re all no longer with us.

↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Scroll down for photos and to comment ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

This factory complex dates from 1927 and was expanded on may times over the years. The building seen here was one of the later additions, we know that much, although the exact date it was constructed is not known. The plant was originally built by the Riverside Iron Works, a long established Calgary firm, which moved here from an earlier factory elsewhere in town. The huge Dominion Bridge company, who had many plants across Canada, took over the operation in 1928.

Products built here over the years include machinery and fabrications related to the oil and gas and mining industries. Large steel assembly jobs were also taken on. Given the name of the plant, one would assume bridges were built here, but that’s not been confirmed. My understanding is those were built one of the other DB factories, and Calgary concentrated on other things.

The plant was closed in the 1980s and converted to an industrial park not long after. The building we see here currently houses a company called F&D Scene Changes. They make movie and theatre sets, display art pieces, parade floats and a whole array of interesting things. In the 1990s, as a truck driver, I used to haul wood into this company. I recall some of the sets being made at the time and just how convincing they were.

Other buildings in the factory today are being converted to trendy office space where as the ones in back, like the one seen here, are still industrial in nature.

The cars seen in front, both from Chevrolet, include a late 1940s/early 1950s model on the left and a 1957 example on the right. The latter is particularly popular with car collectors and would be quite desirable to own today.

I spoke with the owner of this picture and he was unsure if the people seen were perhaps friends of his father (who shot the image); or if he was simply photographing the factory building and they just happened to be in the picture.

Ramsay is one of Calgary’s more mature communities and is located just east of and across the Elbow River from downtown. It’s mostly residential in nature, with some industrial, and is home to many old and historic buildings, the Dominion Bridge complex being one.

This was our not our first attempt to do this series. In fact this one buffaloed us and it took three tries to get it to where we were satisfied. This is does not happen often and usually we get it right (or as right as it possible) the first pass.

The original image is courtesy James Tworow and comes from his family’s photo collection. Thank you James for allowing to use it. We had a ton of fun shooting the now version. This is not the first time we’ve used photos from him, by the way.

To see some other then and now posts, follow these links…
Empress Alberta – then and now.
Edmonton then and now – Norwood School.
Calgary then and now – Family of Man.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: June, 2014.
Location: Calgary, AB.

  • _____________
    Facebook

    Facebook
    Google+

    http://www.bigdoer.com/15496/then-and-now/calgary-then-and-now-dominion-bridge/
    PINTEREST

    RSS

    Easy article sharing using the buttons above! We encourage it!

    Photo sharing? Please credit “BIGDoer.com”. Need help? We’ll show you how!
    _____________
    Something to say about this post…

    Jump to comments – quick and painless user sign-in, super fast “name only” guest sign-in, or one click social sign-in; plus optional comments subscription. Can’t get any easier!

Calgary 1950s Dominion Bridge

The Dominion Bridge complex in Calgary, sometime in the 1950s.

Dominion Bridge Ramasy

The same view today.

 

Dominion Bridge Calgary

The faded old sign can still be seen.

We recommend...

Join the discussion...

22 Comments on "Calgary then and now – Dominion Bridge"

Subscribe only
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest
James Tworow
Guest
James Tworow

This will likely change soon though, as there is supposed to be a major condo development to be built on this site, not sure what the status on the project is right now…

monteburns98998
Guest
monteburns98998

You lined it up almost perfectly!

Carrie Kleppe
Guest
Carrie Kleppe

My dad worked at Dominion Bridge back in the late ’70s and early ’80s – thanks for sharing!

Elaine Hammer Nee Dougherty
Guest
Elaine Hammer Nee Dougherty

Ahhhhh my father worked there when he came to Canada in the 60’s and worked there until it closed its doors in the 80’s. I remember waiting for him to come out that big gate when I was just a little girl…

Jeremy Fox
Guest
Jeremy Fox

I just happened to be in that same area a couple weeks ago and took some photos of the dominion building.

Roman Krizek
Guest
Roman Krizek

Been to F&D for a tour during the Doors Open YYC event a couple Septembers ago. It’s quite the facility!

Francesca Williams
Guest
Francesca Williams

My brother in law worked at F & D building and sculpting sets.

Elaine Hammer Nee Dougherty
Guest
Elaine Hammer Nee Dougherty

My dad was a welder here for years…I remember my mum and I use to sit outside and wait for my dad to finish work…great memories.

Barry Evans
Guest
Barry Evans

It hasn’t changed much. Looks the same 60 years later.

Jean Bunker
Guest
Jean Bunker

My cousin Dorothy Kennedy worked there for years and my aunt and uncle lived one block away on 23rd avenue.

Gail Irving
Guest
Gail Irving

And Before Dominion Bridge It was the Site of RIVERSIDE IRON WORKS Owned by Fred Irving.

wpDiscuz