Ribbon Cutting

An official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rotary Pedestrian Bridge in Tara took place on a rainy Saturday, September 25. From left, Chesley Ward Councillor for Arran Elderslie, Doug Bell; Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, Paisley Ward Councillor Melissa Kanmacher, Deputy Mayor Mark Davis, Tara Ward Councillor Ryan Greig, Arran Ward Councillor Ryan Nickason, Rotarian and Bridge Project Coordinator Ben Rier, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Alex Ruff and Mayor Steve Hammell.

Hub Staff

Neither rain nor community spirit were in short supply on Saturday, September 25 in Tara, east of Port Elgin, as the official opening of the Rotary Pedestrian Bridge was held.

The bridge is located at the site of the former Ann Street Bridge, a car bridge that washed out in 1948, and crosses the Sauble River, connecting Ann Street to a former CN rail line, now a multi-use trail at the east end of town.

"None of this would have been possible without the wonderful support of our community and all the generous donations," said Rotarian and Bridge Project Coordinator Ben Rier to the crowd of nearly 50. "We very much appreciate it," he said.

Alex Ruff, newly re-elected MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound said it was great to see this project in his hometown and credited Tara Rotary, the Tara Horticultural Society, Arran Elderslie Council and the community at large. "It's a great addition for us to be able to just appreciate this gem that we have here in Tara," he said.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker said that as a former Recreation Director, he appreciated anything that gets people out and active and walking. "Tara, your community spirit and the Rotary Club here, all the great things that you've done over the years, is what really makes our small rural communities communities," he said.

Prior to Arran Elderslie Mayor Steve Hammell taking the mic, Rier gave him a cheque for $10,000 toward the loan the municipality provided for the project.

Of the total $150,000 cost, only $15,000 remained to be raised. Significant donors are recognized at the bridge entrance.

Hammell said the decision to support the initiative when it was first presented to Council in 2015 was an easy one and recognized then Tara Ward Councillor Peter Steinacker for his involvement.

Hammell called the Tara Rotary Club a "mighty club" and acknowledged project partner the Tara Festival of Crafts committee, who were an early and significant partner to the initiative.

The Rotary Pedestrian Bridge was installed in 2020 and can be accessed at the end of Ann Street. The entrance is highlighted by flower gardens established by the Tara Horticultural Society and a painted streetscape by artist Gwen Merriam.

From Ann Street, the bridge crosses the Sauble River and from there, users can either head left onto the Tara Rail Trail to Brook Street or continue east along the Ann Street road allowance which links up with Park Road.

See also: The little bridge that could


Members of the Tara Rotary Club were in attendance September 25 to celebrate the official opening of the Rotary Pedestrian Bridge at the end of Ann Street in the community of Tara. Rotary and community partners have raised all but $15,000 of the total $150,000 cost.

Crowd 2

Umbrellas were abundant but rain didn't dampen spirits September 25 as a crowd of approximately 50, including Rotarians, Tara Horticultural Society members, dignitaries and townsfolk, gathered to celebrate a project that took five years to complete.


A delay in the official opening celebration was due to COVID but it gave the Tara Horticultural Society a chance to establish some flower beds near the opening and for a painted streetscape by artist Gwen Merriam to be installed.