Earlier this morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory was joined by Councillor David Shiner and Build Toronto CEO Bill Bryck in announcing the winning entry for the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge. The winning proposal—by the design-build team led by Dufferin Construction Company—was lauded by Shiner for its "efficiency, long life-cycle, and, ultimately, its ability to deliver on budget," with Dufferin's James Wildish elaborating on the "reduced construction and maintenance costs facilitated by the stainless steel arch design."

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge,  Dufferin Construction Company, MMM GroupCouncillor David Shiner speaks alongside James Wildish, John Tory, and Bill brick (l-r), image by Stefan Novakovic

The two-part bridge will create a vital link across Toronto's railway lands, extending north-south across two railway corridors slightly east of Strachan Avenue. The north bridge will connect the upcoming South Stanley Park to the north side of the future Ordnance Triangle Park, and the south bridge will connect the Ordnance Triangle Park to the Fort York Grounds, spanning the south Lakeshore railway corridor. While Tory celebrated the project as "smart infrastructure that connects communities, and gets people moving across Toronto," the winning design has been met by a mixed reception on the UrbanToronto Forum

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge,  Dufferin Construction Company, MMM GroupAn aerial rendering of the winning design, image courtesy of Dufferin Construction Company

The Dufferin-led design—also consisting of project managers MMM Group and a design-build team featuring Pedelta, DTAH, Mulvey & Banana, and Golder Associates—is nonetheless notable for its elegant simplicity and technological innovation, with the structures set to form the first stainless steel bridge in North America.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge,  Dufferin Construction Company, MMM GroupLooking north across the two bridges, image courtesy of Dufferin Construction Company

In particular, use of 'Duplex' stainless steel across the entire body of the structure allows for an extended life-cycle and increased corrosion resistance, reducing the need for maintenance, and, by extension, the overall cost of the project.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge,  Dufferin Construction Company, MMM GroupA view from the bridge, image courtesy of Dufferin Construction Company

However, while the much-needed bridge will still provide substantial benefits to the surrounding communities, the choice of proponent seems to indicate a prioritization of low cost over design excellence, arguably evidencing the sort of unambitious city-building that has characterized much of Toronto's recent history. Yet, despite the vocal debate on our Forum, it is not the Dufferin proposal itself—which embodies an elegant simplicity—that has garnered a mixed reception, but rather the City's decision to overlook more aesthetically ambitious proposals.

Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge,  Dufferin Construction Company, MMM GroupWildish, Tory, and Shiner display the winning design, image by Stefan Novakovic

Our earlier story provides a comprehensive look at the entries, including renderings of each design. In addition, our dataBase file for the project features a larger selection of renderings, providing an overview of the bridges that might have been. What do you think of the winning design? Share your thoughts by joining in the ongoing discussion on our Forum, or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.