A soon-to-be important new pedestrian link in Downtown Toronto took a big step forward over the long weekend, with the lifting into place of an elevated bridge to link the new GO Union Bus Terminal with Union Station via Scotiabank Arena. Under construction as part of the CIBC SQUARE office complex, the new bridge spans 39.5 metres over Bay Street, allowing pedestrians to easily transfer from Union Station's rail and subway stations to the new indoor bus terminal being constructed in the podium of the WilkinsonEyre-designed complex's south tower.

CIBC SQUARE rising, image by Marcus Mitanis

In the months leading up to the bridge installation, an east portal was formed at the north end of the new office tower’s podium.

East bridge portal prior to bridge lift, image by Marcus Mitanis

Across the street, a west portal was etched out above Scotiabank Arena’s northern Bay Street entrance, requiring the removal of an art piece. Once these roughed-in portals were in place, steel brackets and other structural elements were installed in the weeks leading up to the bridge raising.

West bridge portal prior to bridge lift, image by Marcus Mitanis

Installation of the new pedestrian link required a closure of Bay Street over the weekend, with all vehicle access aside from bus traffic restricted between Lake Shore Boulevard and Front Street from 12:01 AM on Saturday, August 31 to 5 AM Monday, September 2.

Looking north to the new bridge, image by Forum contributor Benito

“On the first weekend we’ll set up cranes and shoring towers – the bridge will then be lifted in two pieces,” explained Grant Bailie, director of Rail Corridor Infrastructure at Union Station in a recent Metrolinx blog post on the project. 

Underside of the new bridge, image by Forum contributor Benito

With the prefabbed parts of the bridge now in place, work planned for next weekend includes the installation of storm pipes and drains, insulation, vapour barrier and metal cladding.

The bridge will be the location of a Metrolinx-sponsored component of CIBC SQUARE’s public art programme. The north wall, ceiling and lighting of the overpass are elements that are planned to be incorporated into an integrated artwork spanning the bridge, with wayfinding strategically placed and third-party advertising entirely absent so as not to interfere with the design. A request for qualifications (RFQ) issued by Metrolinx in 2017 drew in over 300 submissions from artists around the world for bridge art proposals. Hines, who are developing the project alongside Ivanhoé Cambridge, tell us that specifics about the bridge's art component will be revealed in the run up to the building's projected 2020 opening… so the image below gives no hint as to how the art will transform the bridge.

Rendering of the new pedestrian bridge, image courtesy of Metrolinx

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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Related Companies:  Adamson Associates Architects, Cushman & Wakefield, EllisDon, EVOQ Architecture Inc., Grounded Engineering Inc., Hines, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Ivanhoé Cambridge, Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc., RJC Engineers, The Mitchell Partnership Inc., Urban Strategies Inc., Walters Group