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Bloor Street Viaduct


Bloor Viaduct Danforth Toronto

The  Bloor Viaduct with luminous veil

Also known as the Prince Edward Viaduct. It spans the Don River valley and Rosedale valley  between Bloor and the Danforth Avenues.  The bridge was built as the city expanded farther and farther north from the downtown on the Bloor side, the eastern half on the Danforth was somewhat stagnating in growth do to the lack of access to the north .  Ice breakups had swept away the wooded bridge crossing the Don River at that area before and flooding of the Don Valley during heavy rains and almost annually when ice clogged the Don river in spring .   What was needed east west level bridge that spanned the valley for street-cars, rail and transportation and Toronto’s further growth.

After three years of planning arguing and referendums the new commissioner of public works R C Harris undertook the design and started construction on both the Viaduct and the bridge spanning Rosedale valley. RC Harris was a man of vision and planned the bridge as a statement of the city of Toronto. The original layout was like a wide boulevard with low limestone railings and appointments four wide lanes for traffic and a center right-of-way for street cars .   Surprisingly Harris had no training as a civil engineering, previously being a newspaper reporter.  The design was criticized for it’s cost and size and as unneeded.

 R.C. Harris had gone well beyond what could be seen  to  include the engineering for a future lower deck on both the Viaduct and the Rosedale bridge , strong enough to be able to carry rail traffic. This fore thought and vision saved the city untold millions in construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway fifty years later. Though the Rosedale bridge lower deck could not be used for the length of subway cars made the turn too tight. The Bloor Viaduct when opened added greatly to the Danforth’s growth and population with the extension of the streetcar line and later the subway route.  People were able to buy a house and commute in to the city with ease 

the Danforth grew as a commuter suburb of Toronto  and a community in its own right

Bloor Viaduct, Rosedale valley Toronto
The Bloor Viaduct bridge spanning the Rosedale valley, note the unused second deck and tunnels. Modern subways are longer then the railway cars  imagined that going to use then . so the turn was deemed too tight and a second bridge for subways was built later on ( Toronto Archives )


Bloor Viaduct built 1916  Danforth Ave Toronto

Construction of the viaduct in 1916 over the Don Valley . Here  we see one of  the steel spans installed.  The cribbing and scaffolding remain as deck being put in place, ( Toronto Archives )


Bloor Viaduct spanning the Don River Valley on opening day in 1918 , note the over head wires for street-cars and lamps on the center-poles ( Toronto Archives )

Bloor Viaduct , Danforth Toronto

Bloor Viaduct as it looks today . The streetcar tracks are gone, replaced by a third eastbound lane.

More? See History | About the Danforth | Tour .