Toronto Through My Lens

Eaton Centre Pedestrian Bridge

Located at the busy intersection of Yonge and Queen Streets, the Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge is a dramatic public landmark that replaces the previous pedestrian bridge, which was completed in 1978. The bridge spans Queen Street West and links the Toronto Eaton Centre with The Bay/Saks Fifth Avenue on the south side of Queen Street West.

The design challenge involved carefully merging the contrasting buildings the bridge links – on one side the historic 1896 sandstone Hudson’s Bay/Saks Fifth Avenue (formerly Simpsons – anyone remember that?) with Romanesque revival features, and on the other, the contemporary glass and steel forms of the 1977 Toronto Eaton Centre.

From the architect’s website:

The new bridge was designed as a beautiful, sustainable addition to Toronto’s streetscape and pedestrian infrastructure. Conceptualized as a metaphorical handshake between these two seemingly opposing architectural styles, the geometry of the bridge transitions from the circular arches found on the historic Hudson Bay facade into the rectangular forms of the Eaton Centre. In addition to its steel, bronze and glass appearance echoing the materials and iconography of the historic buildings it links, the Bridge maintains the original ethos of the Eaton Centre in its honest use of simple materials. In total, the structure is comprised of 190 patinated bronze panels and 210 double, curved glass panels, each unique in shape and curvature. The Bridge has transformed the link between the historic buildings it sits aside. It enhances, rather than overshadows, the architectural features of each building.

In order to minimize disruption to the busy intersection of Yonge and Queen Streets, the bridge’s main structural components were assembled on nearby James Street and moved into place in one piece. I took these shots on May 28, 2017 while the bridge was still very much a work in progress on James Street:

Moving the 218 metric tonne bridge in place required a highly specialized hydraulic lift system given the minimal clearances on both the Eaton Centre and Hudson’s Bay sides. The entire process took several hours in the early morning hours on a weekend, shutting down this section of Queen Street. The remainder of work was done in place allowing the street to remain operable.

After The Move

The new bridge opened in late 2017. I took these shots of the completed pedestrian bridge on April 10, 2021:

2 Comments

  1. Bob K

    Love this bridge.

  2. David

    I agree with Bob K. I love this bridge also. I never knew how it was assembled but thanks to you Marvin, we now know. Keep up the good work. You allow us to see Toronto in a much different way.

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