Bridging the Design Gap in Toronto


Cable-Stayed Fists. Entry by Andrew Alfred-Duggan.

Bridges can be wonderful, iconic things that define a city; or, they can be banal, utilitarian and boring. Guess which Toronto is getting for its new pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks. The developer promised something sublime; the railways imposed conditions that make it ridiculous. As the always articulate Adam Vaughan noted: "GO Transit (the government owned commuter rail service) are being absolute f---ing a--holes." (read Peter Kuitenbrouwer in the National Post here for a play-by-play)

But that didn't stop Urban Toronto from running their own competition to "to design the most beautiful bridge possible within the given budget, to take full advantage of the highly visible location." And they came up with some real beauties. You can vote for your favorite.


The Braided Strands. Entry by the Office for Responsible Environments.

Some of the work is beautiful, but nobody is listening.

The only remaining issue is that responses from the city and developer have been nonexistent. Scott Dickson, a moderator at Urban Toronto, seemed frustrated with the process. "The developer has no interest in speaking with us and—like city planning officials who contacted us once and then ignored all future emails sent to them—clearly wants this initiative to just go away." Nigel Terpstra, another moderator, is certain that the core issue is economics. Concord, he said, "is a company which is out to make money, not spend it. As such, they want to build the cheapest bridge possible."


Space frame arch with suspended deck. Entry by Tyler Brown.

So go and vote before June 12. Show Toronto that design matters.

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