A pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will connect parkland near the Toronto waterfront to Fort York will have stainless steel arches that will land in park space – the first stainless steel bridge to be built in Canada.
Build Toronto, which is overseeing the development of the project, said while there are other bridges in North America that have stainless steel parts, this bridge is the first “100 per cent stainless steel bridge” on the continent because all of its structural components are made of stainless steel.
The $19.7-million two-part bridge – which will go over the rail tracks at Fork York – will be built by Dufferin Construction Company, whose designs snagged the winning bid, the city announced on Tuesday.
It will also incorporate two bridge spans that will extend north-south across two active railway corridors that service the downtown core.
One bridge will connect the future South Stanley Park Extension on Wellington Street West over the north Georgetown railway corridor to the north side of the future Ordnance Triangle Park near Strachan Avenue.
The second bridge will connect Ordnance Triangle Park, span over the south Lakeshore railway corridor, and end up at Fort York.
It will connect the area with Liberty Village and a new public space under the Gardiner Expressway, which was announced last week.
The project is “an investment in connecting our community together and creating a vibrant, mobile, livable downtown core,” Tory said at a news conference on Tuesday morning, which was held at the future site of the South Stanley Park Extension.
Tory said building the bridge is “all about city building,” which will improve the links between the local communities and the parkland that is currently difficult for people to access.
“It will help to get people moving across Toronto and it’s an integral part of the city’s plan to revitalize and connect up the waterfront,” Tory said.
“This is an important piece of infrastructure, an innovative bridge that will connect three of our parks and ultimately our downtown neighborhoods,” Coun. David Shiner (Ward 24 Willowdale), chair of Build Toronto, said in a release.
“This is the first time we will construct a bridge like this in Toronto, one that is creative, accessible and great for both pedestrians and cyclists.
The bridge will improve the connection to the parks from Trinity-Bellwoods to the north and the waterfront to the south.
Tory said it will not only connect local neighbourshoods around King Street West, Liberty Village and Fort York, but it will be a “destination for Torontonians.”
“It’s also a part of our plan to incorporate ambitious public space into the way Toronto is growing and developing downtown.”
He said the city has done well on the development side, but hasn’t done a good job of setting aside public space and connecting it to new neighbourhoods, which are home to tens of thousands of people who didn’t live there before.
“People who live in these new neighbourhoods that have been created in recent years need to place to play, a place to chill out, a place to relax. They need libraries and rec centres, and they need parks,” Tory said.
The mayor said Fort York was “just a bit too hidden” for tourists to discover it during the Pan Am Games.
“This bridge is going to remedy that. It’s going to open up a whole new network, not just for getting around, but also for celebrating the rich history of our city and the culture that is Toronto.”
“The irony here is we have in many cases excellent parkland and green space, but it’s just not connected to these neighbourhoods.”
Construction on the bridge is scheduled to start in the spring and be completed by the spring of 2017.