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CityPlace pedestrian bridge finally set to open

Posted by Derek Flack / October 26, 2012

CityPlace Bridge TorontoThe Puente de Luz (Bridge of Light) is finally set to open, giving CityPlace residents traveling on foot or by bike a welcome escape route to the city at large. Spanning 125 metres over the busy rail corridor to the west of Union Station, the north end of the bridge terminates at the foot of Portland Street, just a short walk from retail and restaurant rich King West. In the absence of the bridge, CityPlace residents would have to exit via Fort York Boulevard, head north on Spadina and then double back on Front to arrive at the same destination.

So this is a crucial link and timesaver for the 13,000+ residents of the condo-heavy neighbourhood, but it's also an artistic addition to the downtown core. Designed by Chilean sculptor Francisco Gazitua and built in collaboration with engineers Peter Sheffield and the MMM Group, the bright yellow bridge might not be to everyone's taste, but it's certainly more than merely functional. I'd disagree with Concord Adex's description of the bridge as the "largest public art installation in Canada," but after having a close look at it yesterday, there's an elegance to the structure that I hadn't noticed during the construction period.

Puente de LuzAlthough a relatively modest project in the grand scheme of things, the location of the bridge posed numerous challenges during its assembly. The design had to pass through a number of approvals from Metrolinx — operator of the rail corridor over which the bridge passes — so as to ensure the safe passage of trains below. The installation of the middle column was also something of a feat, given that construction was only permitted during a brief window when Metrolinx was engaged in track upgrades. Had the bridge work not been completed then, the project wouldn't be ready to open later today.

KEY FACTS

  • The bridge is 5metres wide and 125 metres long connecting Iceboat Terrace to Portland and Front streets.
  • The bridge weighs 600,000 lbs.
  • The name Puente de Luz is meant to signify the link between North and South and the connection between Canada and Chile, the latter being the home of designer Francisco Gazitua.
  • The bridge's yellow paint job "was chosen to stand out against the grey background of the surrounding area."
  • Construction timeline: The design was developed over 3 years, starting in 2009. The steel detailing and off-site manufacturing began in January 2011. On site assembly began in the spring/summer of 2011.

CityPlace Pedestrian BridgePhotos by the author

Discussion

91 Comments

Ben / October 26, 2012 at 09:33 am
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That's some nice looking bridge, bro.
Dave Watson / October 26, 2012 at 09:34 am
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This bridge is an icon of everything that is wrong with Toronto. It is anti-design. An eyesore on what is already a blight on the ever increasing downward spiral that is this city's landscape. I do suppose it does fight in with its surroundings. Horrible condos..horrible bridge. #gongshow.
Rob / October 26, 2012 at 09:34 am
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Dear Lord, please send an angel to paint this bridge another color as soon as possible, thank you.
- good residents of beautiful Toronto
a / October 26, 2012 at 09:37 am
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complain complain complain all anyone ever does is ....
nicole / October 26, 2012 at 09:39 am
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Love the bridge. Love the yellow.
Daryl / October 26, 2012 at 09:43 am
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I love the bridge, but wish it was painted to match the Mark di Suvero sculpture, "No Shoes", at Telegram Mews.
Pk replying to a comment from Dave Watson / October 26, 2012 at 09:43 am
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How can a bridge that connects a new neighbourhood to the city be an icon of anything horrible? It improves accessibility for thousands of people.

Any what does 'anti-design' mean? It was obviously designed, otherwise it wouldn't stay in one piece and it would fall down on the train tracks.

Please, be as long-winded as possible in your reply. BlogTo needs some more negativity.
Alim / October 26, 2012 at 09:44 am
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It looks decent in the picture, but in person, it is an eye sore. The yellow looks very washed out.

Also, functionally, there's room to improve. You pretty much need to walk around a 100meter ramp on each side before you get on the bridge. That ramp is only available on the west side of the bridge on either side. This is good for bikes, but walkers that want to go east once they get off the bridge will have a long walk.

Optional stairs would have been nice.
Aaron / October 26, 2012 at 09:45 am
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It's an ugly bridge, but I'm really looking forward to using it. For anyone who lives north of the tracks near Spadina or Bathurst, this is a much needed pedestrian and cycling connection to the waterfront.
cyberdude2007 / October 26, 2012 at 09:47 am
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...and people think the Gardiner is the biggest barrier to the waterfront
Rooh / October 26, 2012 at 09:48 am
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Looks great! Let's hope idiot graffiti taggers leave it alone
Dave Watson / October 26, 2012 at 09:50 am
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@PK there is a massive difference between something being engineered and designed. Engineered means it won't fall down...design means this hunk of crap is as bad as the condos that surround it.
Rob / October 26, 2012 at 09:50 am
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That bridge looks like it's thirty years old, not brand new.
Bruce Mandrake / October 26, 2012 at 09:51 am
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We don't need another bridge, we need subways across the tracks. SUBWAYS SUBWAYS SUBWAYS.
You Can Do Better / October 26, 2012 at 09:59 am
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This Bridge would have been way cooler if it was Red. This area needs a pop of color and the muted yellow doesn't offer enough contrast.
Todd Toronto / October 26, 2012 at 10:00 am
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Wait. There isn't a Webers on EITHER end of this bridge?!

Consider me disappointed.
EC / October 26, 2012 at 10:07 am
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I will not be using this bridge. It is too ugly.
Collin replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / October 26, 2012 at 10:09 am
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lol Todd. They'll have to paint it Orange if there's a Webers at either end.

Mediocre burger can be found at either end of the bridges between the Fox & Fiddle in City Place and Big Smoke on King. (yeah, i said it. Big smoke = mediocre burger)
Dmitri / October 26, 2012 at 10:19 am
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I see a lot of complaints. I guess they come from people who never walk in the area and never appreciated the convenience of living downtown and not having to drive to work. This bridge is what will save me 30 minutes of my time every day and I can't wait.

A note to condo haters: you are just following the hate fad. In reality, living downtown decreases traffic and removes the need to burn ridiculous amount of fossil fuel just to go to a grocery store (a la suburb style). Also, people who live in one of them do not waste millions of tons of fresh water watering their perfect lawns - which is good.
AV / October 26, 2012 at 10:23 am
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Any ugly bridge leading people to an ugly blight of a "community". Fitting.
Crystal / October 26, 2012 at 10:31 am
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Why didn't they build a car bridge to extend Dan Leckie to Portland? The plans to extend Fort York to Bathurst is obviously going to introduce extra traffic in the area, opening up the North/South bound areas could ease the pain.
How's My Complaining? 416-555-4343 / October 26, 2012 at 10:34 am
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The colour isn't even the worst part of this eyesore. The various bits of metal and wire that stick out of it seem completely pointless and ugly. The sculptures along the North ramp are similarly offensive, it seems like the artist just glued some pieces of card together and that was the extent of the creative process.
Sara replying to a comment from AV / October 26, 2012 at 10:37 am
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Please keep your opinions to yourself. I live in this community and love it. I'm tired of people like you making me feel like less of a Torontonian just because I don't live in a 50 year old historic area.
Rob replying to a comment from Sara / October 26, 2012 at 10:39 am
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Care for some cheese?
Sara replying to a comment from Rob / October 26, 2012 at 10:41 am
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Is there enough left after all the other whiners are finished with their bridge complaints? Grow up troll.
Rob replying to a comment from Sara / October 26, 2012 at 10:43 am
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Sorry for hurting your precious little feewings.
Troy / October 26, 2012 at 10:49 am
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The headline says "CityPlace pedestrian bridge finally set to open" but nowhere do I see an actual date or time.

As a resident of the Annex who cycles to work at Lower Spadina and Queens Quay I'm very much looking forward to using this bridge. It's a bridge to aid foot and bike traffic and that makes it beautiful, even if it is a dirty shade of yellow.
Milos / October 26, 2012 at 10:49 am
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Did I miss it or does the article not state what day the bridge actually opens??
Helpful Netizen / October 26, 2012 at 10:58 am
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The bridge is set to open today at 16:30.
Brenda / October 26, 2012 at 11:09 am
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how wonderful - a safer way of navigating this area - let the 'lovers' use it & the 'haters' continue to do what they do
Amanda / October 26, 2012 at 11:16 am
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I can't wait to use it EVERYDAY.
the lemur / October 26, 2012 at 11:23 am
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Looking forward to using this as well, especially in conjunction with the underpass at Spadina.

It works well as a bridge: it connects two places, the people who need it can use it and the trolls can live under it.
wheeee / October 26, 2012 at 11:30 am
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Im all for the bridge, it will surely help pedestrians.

But am I the only one who thinks it looks like the sun burnt tracks of the Dragon Fire at Canada's Wonderland?

They should at the minimum do something about the colour.

But im sure the graffiti "artits" will get to it soon enough.
James / October 26, 2012 at 11:30 am
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This will be a very useful bridge for the area, although the colour choice is questionable. Now build one connecting Western Battery Rd to King St damnit!
W. K. Lis / October 26, 2012 at 11:41 am
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Not concrete coloured (except for the supports) nor rust coloured.
Jorge / October 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm
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I work across the street from this bridge and I've wondering if this was only primer paint. It doesn't look very good with the current colour. It doesn't fit in with anything around it and therefore it is a bit of an eyesore. The design is fine but the colour is not good at all.
AV replying to a comment from Jorge / October 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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"It doesn't fit in with anything around it"

Just like Cityplace! lol
mezimeen / October 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm
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Typical...it works! But holy crap it's ugly as sin. And the way it connects to Front with a giant ramp is hideous! I know ramps are needed but holy sh*t, there are better ways of doing it, like DESIGNING A BETTER BRIDGE THAT DOES NOT NEED SO MUCH FREAKIN RAMP. Whoever designed this should be shot. And the person who chose the colour? They should be launched into the sun.
WahhWahhh replying to a comment from Sara / October 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm
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Awwwwww, poor muffin.
If you take comments against your "community" so personally, you have issues. Why do you care what anyone else says? You're the one who lives there.
asdf / October 26, 2012 at 01:08 pm
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Drab yellow to stand out from the grey... how creative. Likely the cheapest paint Concord could buy.
Realtor Igor / October 26, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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To got some bling. I hate it. It is a pedestrian equivalent of really tacky car rims. Design fails up close and from a distance. It actually look like a construction crane that fell down.
Rob / October 26, 2012 at 01:35 pm
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Thinking big picture here, when CityPlace becomes a ghetto at least the bridge isn't walled, so that way when someone's getting mugged on it, you should be able to hear the screams if not see it.
w@hat / October 26, 2012 at 01:39 pm
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If you live in City Place a busted looking bridge is the least of your problems.
oh hai / October 26, 2012 at 01:50 pm
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where do you live, Rob? i live in the old part of toronto, but i find you're type of person is overly critical of cityplace. i think its good that that part of the city is being used, and this bridge, as well as the opening to bathurst (soon) is really important for that. u probably live in north etobes and are just a big mad jell robford. and u cry everytime.
oh hai / October 26, 2012 at 01:52 pm
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p.s- outer suburbs will become a ghetto before cityplace in any event. din't everyone know that?
Sara / October 26, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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These anti-CityPlace comments are relayed with such childish condescending tone. CityPlace is as much a community as the annex, the beach, kensington or parkdale. This "ugly blight of a 'community'" is home to 13,000+ people. Why must it get belittled so much, especially during the announcement of a bridge that brings the res of the city closer to its waterfront. Discuss the bridge all you want, but I take offense to those who use it as an opportunity to patronize an entire area.
Rob replying to a comment from oh hai / October 26, 2012 at 02:01 pm
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Yes, that's it. Gold star for you, detective.
londo / October 26, 2012 at 02:03 pm
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was that pale yellow on sale?

Looks like the sun has been beating on it for 30 years.

Want a nice bridge, look at the one in chicago. you wouldnt even have the slighest idea you are crossing an 8 lane hiway.
Fliff Flarn / October 26, 2012 at 02:04 pm
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The opening of this bridge will coincide with an influx of ex-suburban condo douche turds in the King West area. (As is there weren't enough of this ilk already there, eh?!)
MrsPotato / October 26, 2012 at 02:15 pm
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YIIPPEEE!!!

Finally!
As someone who actually WALKS, this is going to save me A LOT of time, as I walk over to CityPlace every day. Yippeeee!!!!

So happy, and I could freakin' care less what it looks like. It's completely about function.
Loafer / October 26, 2012 at 02:19 pm
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Yep, Toronto does it again... an opportunity to create something iconic, I'm thinking the Millennium Bridge in London or the Newcastle Millennium Bridge.... and we get a hamster tube.

Awesome, way to go!
Not saying it's not useful, but fuck me sideways, Toronto never ever ever delivers on iconic structures.

Ok, fine... the CN Tower
Terry O'Neill / October 26, 2012 at 02:22 pm
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The fact that a bridge was built is wonderful, however the design crushingly and unnecessarily boring – a simple slab with a krazy hat.
Best,
Terry
AV replying to a comment from Sara / October 26, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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Sara; what are you, head of the CityPlace resident's PR team? Give it a rest, you sound desperate.
Concord / October 26, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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LOL. THANKS FOR THE FORTUNE SUCKERS.

ENJOY THIS INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE.
Loafer replying to a comment from Concord / October 26, 2012 at 02:30 pm
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Hahaha, nice one
Alex / October 26, 2012 at 02:50 pm
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Wow, there is an insane amount of bridge and cityplace hate going on here. You people realize one is an inanimate object and the other is a geographic area, right? Did one of the condos get up in the middle of the night and beat you senseless or something?

I really like the look of the bridge, it's so open.
Rich replying to a comment from Alex / October 26, 2012 at 02:59 pm
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No, just that 13,000 people moved into my driving range.
Dialog / October 26, 2012 at 03:15 pm
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Calgary's statement cost them $25M

http://images.wordlesstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Peace-Bridge-by-Santiago-Calatrava-2.jpg
mike / October 26, 2012 at 03:43 pm
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pfft. not everything has to be a glamorous "art" installation. not that this isn't, but people complaining that it isn't "iconic enough" need to stfu. that sort of thinking is why, instead of a bunch of USEFUL (like the bridge) subway lines, were getting a line extension into the deep suburbs, with every station designed by an over-hyped baby boomer artist. arts good, but function is the main reason to build infrastructure. the bridge is good at that.
mike / October 26, 2012 at 03:44 pm
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having said that the ramps look annoying. but i heard that CN forced them to make it like that.
red / October 26, 2012 at 03:54 pm
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I really hate that the entrance/exit ramps are facing west on either side. Especially when Canoe Landing Park is to the east of the bridge.
the lemur / October 26, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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The bridge is where it is because of GO and CP being dicks about sightlines, hence the ramps (also because of where thing are on the CityPlace side).

The bridge took so long because Concord paid for it and they were in no hurry to get it done.

There might be a Portland St extension to Dan Leckie eventually but it won't make sense to do it until Bathurst/Fort York is made into a 4-way intersection.
the lemur replying to a comment from the lemur / October 26, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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CN, not CP.
Ace McNugget / October 26, 2012 at 04:39 pm
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new suicide bridge. Not because its design facilitates a swift exit from this existence but because its existence in this city will make you want to kill yourself.
red replying to a comment from the lemur / October 26, 2012 at 04:54 pm
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Thanks for the clarification, but I don't understand why CN would care which direction people enter/exit the bridge. Sightlines would better explain why they didn't build it closer to the Parade buildings.
Jorge replying to a comment from AV / October 26, 2012 at 04:57 pm
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You would have thought it would at least fit in with Cityplace since it's their design right?
Hugh Betcha / October 26, 2012 at 04:58 pm
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The colour is awful. Could almost pass as fluorescent beige.
Stephen / October 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm
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Typical of city residents, everyone is a major critic at first, but overtime you'll come to embrace it. Not that I'm comparing it to the Eiffel Tower, but many residents of the city hated that structure when it was built. Likewise with the Crystal at the ROM. Give it 10 years and this bridge will become well-used and loved. My prediction anyways.
the lemur replying to a comment from red / October 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm
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CN insisted that it be where it is so as not to block the view of signals, plus it had to be raised for the same reason. I guess it made sense for people to get on it from the Front/Portland intersection and there may not have been room to have the south side ramp facing east.
Gline replying to a comment from Dialog / October 27, 2012 at 01:27 am
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And I'll bet you that NOBODY is objecting to it the way we Torontonians are.
Rob replying to a comment from Gline / October 27, 2012 at 09:58 am
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That would be because it's a different bridge and it doesn't look like a construction crane that fell, genius.
wst / October 27, 2012 at 10:27 am
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Haters gonna hate. Its a fucking bridge; stop trying to make profound existential statements about TO..
skube / October 27, 2012 at 10:28 am
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Too bad it doesn't protect people from rain. Also, those ramps together seem longer than the actual bridge itself.
robtroll replying to a comment from Rob / October 27, 2012 at 07:24 pm
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I don't think anyone's feelings were hurt. She just pointed out that you're an asshole.
Henry / October 28, 2012 at 10:22 am
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Funny they build this walking bridge but no sidewalk by that bridge. What kind of poor city planners put a bridge up when there are no sidewalks to walk on, to that particular bridge?there are no sidewalks on the north side of Fronts St W on that side of the bridge, you have to walk on the road (maybe get hit by a car ) before you can get to that bridge.
Aaron / October 28, 2012 at 11:35 am
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It seems the build quality matches that of the rest of CityPlace. After being open for mere hours, the bridge is now closed for repairs until 2013! The cheapness of Concord construction is astounding.
Typical replying to a comment from Aaron / October 28, 2012 at 01:01 pm
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Typical Toronto, can't even get the simplest things right.
Brandon / October 28, 2012 at 02:29 pm
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Folks lets be real here. The bridge isnt that bad. Show some damn pride in your city for trying to get something done. Rome wasn't built in a day and it certainly had its share of oops moments, but it turned out to be a great city didnt it?

My only recommendation is that the paint the bridge a Blue or Red colour to help beautify it.

As for all this hate on city place, again we must consider the circumstances of the time. Toronto was in a rush to sell off its surplus lands and bring in developer dollars to their coffers. amalgamation took a toll on finances don't forget. Is CityPlace the most beautiful neighborhood? Maybe not but it doesn't deserve the bad rep everyone gives it.
kn / October 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm
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i don't mind the bridge at all. at least it's trying to bring something interesting to the city. as for cityplace? it's a clear reflection of our half witted city planners and councillor who can't seem to fathom reasonable development density, or the possibility that it would have been a good idea to develop a local commercial street for people in this community to call their own. and why didn't they build a subway or lrt from union to the ex or liberty village? there are more than 13000 people along this short little corridor!! it was 90% open land 15 years ago. idiots. short sited idiots.
The Futurista / October 29, 2012 at 03:07 am
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Wow, this bridge is very Mc Donald´s (the color and the M-looking shapes). I do not want to be so negative but sorry I can not see the beauty in this bridge. It looks like something I used to build out of lego when I was little. I will still enjoy using it though. I am happy to see the city put some money on pedestrians for a change.
The Futurista replying to a comment from Dmitri / October 29, 2012 at 03:18 am
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Great points! I agree. Who cares about the looks of it after all! We can all like or dislike the looks of it but the bridge itself is a really good step in the right direction in T.O. More people walking or biking to work is great! We should all be happy about T.O. trying to be a greener city than before.
Rob replying to a comment from Aaron / October 29, 2012 at 07:40 am
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BWWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Matthew / October 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm
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Unfortunately the bridge seems to be closed again, or was this weekend at least.
Milos / October 29, 2012 at 02:10 pm
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Closed this morning too. A construction worker told me that the city didn't issue some sort of permit, so it had to be closed. If true, this is hilarious because it was City of Toronto requirement that the builder put in a pedestrian bridge, and they were all raving about how its supporting their art program. I stick my middle finger up in regards to your BS, City of TO.
Rob replying to a comment from Aaron / October 29, 2012 at 02:31 pm
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Priceless comment. And very true, as those who have ever lived in CityPlace can attest to.
Loafer / October 29, 2012 at 02:49 pm
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To everyone who thinks cities don't need to invest in appealing bridges or buildings... fuck off to Eastern Europe. See how you like living in a grey concrete world where everything is functional, bleak and dreary.

It's about time Toronto residents demanded more from their architecture... the place is miserable looking as it is, no harm in trying to make it look better.

kikin / October 30, 2012 at 01:10 am
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Too ugly...
Me replying to a comment from Aaron / October 30, 2012 at 02:32 am
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BWAHAHAHAHAAA!!!!
Really? replying to a comment from Dmitri / October 31, 2012 at 05:34 pm
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Save you 30 minutes of time you say?

You are either 96-years-old and own a walker, are a moron, or are full of it.

I doubt you are 96, so, it must be one of the other two.

I live by Lakeshore and Bathurst. I can walk to Eaton Centre from my place in less than 30 minutes. How this can save you thirty minutes of time is beyond me.
Dmitri replying to a comment from Really? / October 31, 2012 at 06:08 pm
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You guessed wrong, and you had 3 chances! It would save me 15 minutes on the way to work and 15 minutes back. I like to be conservative about my walking speed and not be late because I make this trip every day.

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