Toronto just got a fancy new pedestrian sky bridge
It's been a long time since most of us got to visit Exhibition Place, a two-year absence of the Canadian National Exhibition and BMO Field's temporary closure resulting in little traffic along the grand Princes' Boulevard.
With few draws to the area during the pandemic, not many noticed the new bridge being installed on the Exhibition grounds last year, connecting the second floors of the relatively new Hotel X Toronto with the heritage Beanfield Centre across Newfoundland Road to the east.
"Today's opening of the Sky Bridge at Exhibition Place marks a significant milestone as we work towards achieving an exciting vision for the future," said Exhibition Place President and CEO Don Boyle on Wednesday.
"The ongoing evolution of Exhibition Place will build upon this tradition by showcasing innovation and enhancing spaces for all visitors."
Designed by NORR Architects and constructed by EllisDon, the fully enclosed bridge stretches 36.3 metres over the active roadway below.
While the few aesthetic frills here seem austere compared to more Instagrammable bridges like the Eaton Centre helix, the walkway is actually hiding a few structural tricks up its sleeve.
The bridge is anchored to the hotel at its west end and rests on a central pier at the edge of Newfoundland Road. The 16.5 metres of the bridge east of this central pier is cantilevered with no structural connection to the Beanfield Centre or anything else. A pretty cool balancing act required to limit impacts on the 1929 Art Deco classic.
"The Sky Bridge is a connection of three projects over more than a decade, and is a significant link between a historic building and a new building in an unobtrusive, light and transparent design," said Silvio Baldassarra, Chair, NORR Architects and Engineers.
Pedestrians walking the new bridge will experience a bright, colourful space surrounded by an exposed steel frame and a three-colour interlayered film that adds to the bridge's look while reducing solar heat gain.
"The Sky Bridge glass design beautifully complements the heritage facade of Beanfield Centre and includes features such as sliding glass entry doors and interior lighting elements," said Laura Purdy, General Manager, Exhibition Place.
Hopefully, there will actually be a reason to use this bridge in the coming months, as tourism slowly returns following a grim year and a half.
CNW Group/Exhibition Place
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