Covered bridges and drones—an unlikely duo

By Jordan Dionne, Special to The Record

If you heard a buzzing while visiting any of the Eastern Townships’ remaining covered bridges, you surely were not being attacked by any sort of bug. Rather, over the last few weeks, an active member in the promotion of the area’s history and geography, Chris Houghton from Glenn Sutton, expanded his use of his drone. Starting with foliage and scenic shots over the Sutton area, Houghton decided to embark on an exciting new project—covered bridges.
Covered bridges aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Townships. Yet, what many people don’t realize is that we are indeed fortunate to have as many covered bridges that we do; many of which are still in use today to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
Houghton sought out this opportunity to discover the Eastern Townships by doing what he loves with his wife. His project, which is now finished, is available on YouTube under the channel name Chip H. In it, you will find a slew of covered bridges with views of them from the air and in the bridge itself, all thanks to master drone-flying skills.
According to Houghton’s research, there used to be 200 covered bridges in the Eastern Townships. Now, there are a mere 21 left which is a fraction of the originals, yet a comparatively large number when looking at other regions of Canada. Of the 21, Houghton covered seven in various locations sprawled everywhere such as Saint-Armand, Waterville, Potton, Brigham, Milby, Cookshire-Eaton, and Notre-Dame de Standbridge.

When asked what his favourite bridge is so far, he was quick to answer with the Milby Covered Bridge mostly due to the fact that it is one of the oldest around.
While it certainly is the oldest covered bridge in the neighbourhood, the actual oldest covered bridge in Canada is the Powerscourt Covered Bridge between Hinchinbrooke and Elgin in the Montérégie region to the west of the Townships. It was built in 1861 and is still in use today.

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