The Toronto area was hit by the fierce Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The catastrophic storm produced devastating floods along the many tributaries of Lake Ontario, including the Rouge River in Scarborough. The rising waters devastated many communities in the greater Toronto area that were unprepared for a storm of such magnitude. Rushing waters combined with intense winds and the storm washed out many bridges, including the ones connecting Scarborough to communities to the east. With so many destroyed and damaged bridges cutting off supplies and isolating people trying to rebuild, the community had to act fast. The 2nd Field Engineer Regiment of the Canadian Military Engineers were brought in to build a bridge as quickly as possible. This branch of the service had considerable experience constructing “Bailey bridges” during the Second World War. This type of portable prefabricated truss bridge could be built in a matter of days using readily available materials. Indeed, it took the Regiment only three working days to complete the new bridge over the Rogue River. Scarborough has connected to its eastern neighbors once again and the communities could start to rebuild following Hurricane Hazel. The bridge became a point of pride for the community and a symbol of their resilience. But it wouldn’t be long before the Old Finch Avenue bridge became known for something much more sinister.
The most common legend about the Old Finch Avenue bridge involves the disembodied screams of a young girl. The story goes, as you walk over the bridge at night, you may be greeted by shrill screams from beyond. There are variations to the legend, which each providing different suggestions about how you can prompt the noises. Some say you simply need to be passing over the bridge at the right time of night, just as the sky is darkest. Others suggest that you should go to the center of the bridge and start singing the song “Happy Birthday”. A few people have even remarked that you should yell “Happy Birthday Candy” out into the darkness. However you choose to conjure up the potential spirit, the results are often the same: a high-pitched and blood-curdling shriek.
The legend purports that a young girl was murdered on the bridge while going to or returning home from her own birthday party. Some people have suggested names and graffiti in the surrounding area gives clues to her identity, but there appears to be no historical murder definitively linked to this spot.
Image source: http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=ontario/finchtoronto/
Image source: http://foursquare.com/v/old-finch-bailey-bridge/4e62847f922e6a5aaa9329a2
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