Any architect can only work with the proposed budget for the project, and at the moment,the city of Toronto according to mayor Miller is pretty well strapped for cash.

considering he is going to start taxing people for breathing, he should be ton of cash. :D
I wish I was super wealthy, because if I was, I'd pay for the bridge as a philanthropic effort. Obviously my clause would be to ensure that something imaginative and beautiful gets built, but I'd be willing to finance it in order to get something unique. It would also have to be named after me, clearly.

If only. I'd probably build myself a skyscraper too, if I had hundreds of millions.
Given planning staff's long-standing tradition of assisting most unusual tower proposals to morph into "boxes" (eg. the neutering of those initial wacky entertainment district proposals, 1 Bloor East etc.), presumably to match all the other boxes in our famed "boxy" skyline, which itself is a product of the "built form" brain trust maintained by every planning staff regime since the 1960s... it is perfectly on target for this bridge to be .... wait for it ... a box-truss.

Another Humber bike bridge in this location (avec Canuck designers)? I'd kill for it.


obvious example

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Careful, some people on this board do not like you looking at international "look at me" designs taken from non-local architects who do adhere to the strict (and imaginary) Toronto 'culture' and 'style.' ;)

I think people are missing alklay's 'wink' here. It brings us back to the whole absurd banning of 'spectacle' in Toronto argument that some keep trotting out as an apology for mundane design. I'm on board with 3D's wish to see a grand gesture here. It's important to symbolically encourage and welcome people across this bridge to the Waterfront.
Before this pedestrian bridge tangent is moved to a new thread elsewhere to die, I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity to preach one more time to a few interested UT forum members.

Try to give this a quick read (despite its length) before leaping over to the attached pics.

Is it worth investing a little time and effort to lampoon this proposed embarrassment? Does bitching and whining, debating work? Yes, sometimes it does.

Afterall this is not pie-in-the-sky mega-project visioning like tearing down the Gardiner or re-directing the mouth of the Don River. It's a highly visible little pedestrian bridge that only has to travel 100 metres (with a mid-span support available to boot) ... surely we should be able influence getting this one bloody thing done right despite the budget and logistical challenges well-documented by decision-makers.

a) small example - in 2005, an enclosed pedestrian bridge design over Hwy 401 was labelled a "butt-ugly structure" and "Ontario's largest chicken coop" by Waterloo regional councillors. The Record picked up the story, a design charette was staged and the bridge was eventually built with some superficial but welcomed aesthetic enhancements... not a silk purse, but no longer a sow's ear (see pic below).

b) large examples
- the much criticized budget ballooning (eventually @ $23 million) for Calatrava's gorgeous cable-stayed masterpiece, Sundial in Redding California, sparked huge debate yet resulted in the single largest tourist draw in the region, a direct economic driver that continues to mitigate project and maintenance costs. It is as they say in branding parlance priceless because it is.... famous.

- little ole Omaha committed $22 million to a beautiful trail bridge over the Missouri River (see below). How the hell can Omaha pull this off when we can only manage the cheapest solution available?

Here's what needs to happen... fast:

1. Kick up a stink directly with planning staff (correspondence) and council, and via the media. Since the much unloved National Post seems to be documenting my hobbyist musings on a regular basis (Cathedral Square, future city renders), I will be trying to work up a story with them... sure it ain't the Globe, but it's better than nothing.

Obviously this project is right in Chris Hume's ballpark (Toronto is ugly)... so this is one time he might actually be useful.

2. Create an Urban Toronto-driven design charette regardless of whether or not it is "sanctioned" by anyone. Spacing Magazine are logical partners as are OCAD, AGO, DesignXchange and Harbourfront (an indirect beneficiary of pedestrian traffic). Protests without achievable alternatives are useless.

There's some pretty good home-grown talent here in the forum to at least start the conversation (Wyliespoon, schmucky, cassius etc.) while something more ambitious like a design charette is planned.

Petition Canadian and international architects with bridge design chops, including the dreaded starchitects who have had previous Toronto commissions (Foster, Calatrava etc.) to kick in a couple of pro bono hours and contribute a sketch to the design charette.

Reaching them will be difficult however not impossible and I'd be willing to drive this forward. I genuinely believe they would do something if the request lands on the right desk. Even a napkin scribble would be welcome.

3. Kick up a stink with key stakeholders like GO Transit and demand they drop their ridiculous request for compensation and embrace the importance of this structure by doing a little bit more to accommodate the logistics of a grander vision for the bridge, rather than commiting the absolute bare minimum (which is clearly what they are presently doing).

4. Budget/Fundraising: does anyone know what the Cityplace committment in $$ is? I've forgotten.
-surely there's some fed infrastructure $$ that can be leveraged despite the bridge's Toronto address. Same goes for McGuinty's mafia.
-since EgoTripping is committed to donating but doesn't have any cash, develop a short-list of potential private donors that would be a good fit for a legacy project. There's the usual sponsor acknowledgement strategies that could be incorporated into the bridge design (think sponsor Walk of Fame... who cares as long as the "structure" is beautiful).

Hopefully I can boil some forum blood by presenting a snapshot of what they got.... and what we'll get.


1. Missouri trail bridge - Omaha


2. Vancouver pedestrian bridge


3. Calgary

a) pedestrian bridge over the Bow River (Prince's Island Park Bridge)


b) Proposed bridge


Intersting Quote regarding this proposed bridge^^:
Ald. Druh Farrell convinced the majority of councillors to support the building project during a council meeting in September. She defended the project again on Monday. "Because it's in the downtown core, because these are very visible and significant bridges over a beautiful river, they should be built to a higher design standard than what we would normally do," she said.

"Perhaps we should look at our design standards for all of our bridges, because frankly, I think some of our bridges are pretty basic, and I don't know if we want a city that's just basic."

4. Winnipeg's Louis Riel pedestrian bridge (from flickr):



4. Pedestrian Bridge Simone de Beauvoir (by Feichtinger Architectes) in Paris - 150 meter span




5. Hwy 401 pedestrian bridge (Waterloo - design enhancements):


The box truss cheap out over the corridor will look pretty much like the pedestrian bridge at Sunnyside on steroids... and just like this lovely example.



Anyone interested in trying to turn this sow's ear into a silk purse? If (as expected) no-one responds I'll drop it.

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We don't have to look that far for an example of something interesting that could work. How about a variation of this design:

I think people are missing alklay's 'wink' here. It brings us back to the whole absurd banning of 'spectacle' in Toronto argument that some keep trotting out as an apology for mundane design. I'm on board with 3D's wish to see a grand gesture here. It's important to symbolically encourage and welcome people across this bridge to the Waterfront.

I agree.

Something practical and iconic would be very fitting for this project.
You've inspired me 3D - I think with enough pressure, we could get something done here. I'll begin by contacting Vaughan (I used to volunteer in his office) and see where that gets me. If I hear a response, I'll post it to get the ball rolling. I also work in an engineering firm (Blackwell Bowick), so I'll see if anyone there can throw together a small proposal.

Let's do this because if we don't, it will will inevitably lead to countless posts about 'how bad the bridge' is and 'how it should have been changed.'

Let's nip this in the bud and show the city that we really care.
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