Saturday, July 30, 2016

Aug 2016

My home beyond the veil...
The history of bridges is rife stories of the drive for communication and expansion. In 1911 my mother was being being born in NYC, home to over 2,000 bridges and tunnels... lots of expansive talking going on then and there. At the same time in Toronto citizens were trying to decide whether to build a bridge across the Don River to further their own expansive conversations. Referenda were held each year from 1910 til 1913, with residents voting against its construction in 1912 by 59 votes and finally in favour in 1913 by 9236 votes.

Known officially as the Prince Edward Viaduct, today we mostly now call it the Bloor Viaduct. It's part of a set of three bridges: this big one crosses the Don River (and now the DVP and the train tracks and the Bayview Extension plus a well-used bike path), then there's the bridge that crosses the Rosedale ravine and the other that connects the original terminus of Bloor Street to the Rosedale section.

The three-bridge system was designed by Toronto architect Edmund W. Burke. He also designed Trinity-St. Paul's United Church and the Robert Simpson's Department Store building, now home to The Bay and most recently Sak's Fifth Avenue. Time marches, eh?

But back to the Viaduct. Because it was second only to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in attracting suicides, in 2003 a barrier of steel rods was added to shield would-be jumpers. The barrier was designed by architect Dereck Revington and is called the Luminous Veil. Yes, it is. And last year lights were finally added to the veil so it glows in colour at night. Yes, it does.

Edmond Burke's bridges opened in 1918 and just a few months ago a great little pub bearing his name opened near the big bridge and its enlightened veil... and just around the corner from my home in the sky.

You can see that home beyond the veil here... it's that tall building in the background with some lights on, but not mine, because I was standing on the Prince Edward Viaduct taking this picture for you.
If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.

                                    ~Kurt Vonnegut, of course