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The story behind the Iron Ring, which all graduate engineers wear on the pinky finger of their working hand, dates back to the turn of 20th Century. It began at what is still the largest cantilever bridge in the world, the Quebec Bridge over the St. Laurence River. This bridge collapsed twice, the first time in August 1907 killing 86 workers and then again in September 1916 killing eleven. Grave errors in the work of engineers was determined to be the cause of failure in both fatal incidents.
In 1917, an identical span was carefully hoisted into place and eventually opened to traffic. The Quebec Bridge remains a physical reminder to Canadian engineers of the tragic cost of human error in engineering work.