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The Oakville Split

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Oakwood Public School circa 1969
Aerial View of Radial Bridge circa 1948

In the 1950's, Oakville had clear lines of social demarcation. There was a right and wrong side of the tracks - or in Oakville's case, the creek! Linking the east and west sides of town were two bridges, one spanning the Sixteen Mile Creek at Colborne St. (now known as Lakeshore Rd.) and the second spanning the creek at Rebecca St. Up until 1957 the Rebecca St. Bridge was accessible only to foot traffic.

The metal structure – called the Radial Bridge – was until 1927 an electric train bridge which accommodated travel between Hamilton and Oakville. The train station, located on Randall St. at Thomas was the Oakville terminus for the train, which ran daily between the two towns.

Radial Bridge Looking East
Radial Bridge Looking East Toward the Central School

The bridge, which was perilous to cross, provided a shortcut for those who lived on the west side to reach Central School and Oakville Trafalgar High School, as well as the many shops along Lakeshore. In the 40

's and 50's the Radial Bridge spanned not only the creek but a large park and baseball diamonds located where parking and the library complex now stand. In winter kids played, unsupervised, on the ice below; in summer they swam in the creek.

Radial bridge demolition
Radial bridge demolition

The photo at right shows the demolition of the Radial Bridge, which was replaced in 1961 by the current bridge, named after William Anderson, who was the Mayor at that time. The picture was taken from the east side of the creek looking west towards Forsythe St.

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