Cherry Street bridge toronto

Toronto's coolest new bridge is currently floating in the Atlantic Ocean

A striking red and white bridge that will eventually serve as one of the gateways to a brand new island in Toronto's Port Lands is complete, and it looks spectacular.

Want to go see it? You'll have a long way to travel.

You see, the bridge — a signature piece of architecture commissioned for one of the largest waterfront revitalization projects in the world — isn't actually in Toronto. Not yet, anyway.

The Cherry Street North bridge is currently somewhere between Nova Scotia and Ontario floating on a massive barge in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Built with parts sent to Canada from the Netherlands, the bridge was recently assembled and welded together by the experts at Cherubini Bridges and Structures in Dartmouth.

Now ready to be hoisted, it must make a nearly 1,300 kilometre journey from a harbour off the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes Basin. The trip should take between one and two weeks, depending on weather conditions.

After crossing Lake Ontario, the barge will enter the Keating Channel, perpendicular to Cherry Street.

It's here where the bridge will be hoisted directly from the water, turned 90 degrees, and installed over the channel, replacing the (not so modern) Cherry Street Lift Bridge.

Called the Cherry Street North Bridge, the gleaming red and white structure is the first of four bridges that will be installed as part of the city's $1.25 billion Port Lands Flood Protection project.

For those unaware, Waterfront Toronto is literally digging a new, one-kilometre-long channel through the former industrial area known as the Port Lands area right now.

That channel will eventually serve as a naturalized mouth for the mighty Don River, drastically reducing flood risk in Toronto's southeastern downtown region and effectively making a new urban island (Villiers Island) for all to enjoy.

Villiers, which is expected to be completed by 2024, is intended to serve as a brand new mixed-use community, purpose-built with nature in mind and roughly as large as the downtown core.

Huge as it looks, the Cherry Street North bridge is actually the smallest of the four new bridges set to be installed between Villiers and mainland Toronto, at 375 tonnes and 57-metres in length.

That said, it's one of the most complex and perhaps important of the lot.

Cherry Street North will actually be two separate bridges running side-by-side: One for pedestrians, bikes and cars, the other for public transit vehicles (LRT) exclusively.

Waterfront Toronto celebrated last night's launch of the bridge barge from Nova Scotia with a live "bon voyage party" and will likely do something similar for the structure's arrival.

In the meantime, you can follow the journey via the consortium's Twitter feed, which posts frequent updates about this and all of its other exciting projects.

As of Friday afternoon, the Cherry Street North Bridge is cruising past Cape Breton, PEI, far from home but pretty as ever and ready for its grand debut.

Lead photo by

Waterfront Toronto


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