Tuesday, February 13, 2024

New Toronto Port Lands bridges open

Once just a skanky industrial area, known for its polluted soils and the route to the famous Cherry Beach, the Port Lands are on a journey of rebirth and five new bridges are in place and being used. The new river channel has been built and filled with water, though still cutoff from the waters of the Don River, held in check by a barrier dam.
The Commissioners Street bridge at night

Looking towards the upstream channel of the Don River outlet

Piles of fill are piled in some areas while grading and initial landscaping are ongoing. It is this time that you can see what the area will become with views that look out on the vast construction underway. Soon new condos will probably fill the view?
The new river channel filled with water
There is a lookout to get a better view of the massive construction project

Portlands' website says, "In addition to creating a naturalized river valley—which, in itself, is a historic and significant undertaking—a crucial part of this project involves building new public spaces, roads and bridges and utilities, as well as structures to control water flow and manage sediment and debris."
A heritage building is smack dab in middle of the site off of Commissioners
Fire Hall number 30, known as Ashbridge's Bay Fire Hall, which was protected under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2003 and will sit in the middle of a new park

From the City's intention to designate, "The subject property at 39 Commissioners Street is located on the south side of the street opposite Munition Street and contains the building known historically as Fire Hall No. 30 or the Ashbridge's Bay Fire Hall. Completed in 1922 according to the designs of the Department of the City Architect, its fire hall typology is distinguished by the prototypical door opening designed for mechanized fire engines, and it is further set apart by its Edwardian Classical styling."

The City's website talks about the history and trajectory of the land, "The Port Lands were created in the early 20th Century by filling in Ashbridges Bay to create additional industrial areas for the growing city. The Port Lands have been used for a variety of industrial activities over the years, including providing the city’s only industrial port, manufacturing functions and energy generation. Today, the lands continue to be used for industrial and port functions, but there are large amounts of vacant and underutilized land. The Port Lands are an unparalleled revitalization opportunity for Toronto." Including, "Several districts are identified in the Port Lands Planning Framework including Media City, Turning Basin District, Warehouse District, East Port, South Port East, Maritime Hub, South Port, South River, Villiers Island, Polson Quay, McCleary District and Ports Toronto."

They do plan on letting streets come up to the water and park lined waterfront will allow us to view the city's skyline - like at Polson Pier. Which is nice.

Five spanking new bridges have opened and the original Cherry Beach lift bridge has been isolated behind barriers, waiting for its final destination. Three new bridges on the realigned Cherry Street and two on Commissioners Street. There is still one old Bascule lift bridge remaining on Cherry Street, near the yacht club and over the shipping channel. Repairs and upgrades to the bridge, and heritage structure, were started in March of 2022 for the bridge built in 1931.
The ship crossing lift bridge on Cherry Street

Ports Toronto says that "Through this project, PortsToronto jointly with City of Toronto, will restore and revitalize the Ship Channel Lift Bridge, a vital element of marine and vehicle transportation infrastructure enabling the transfer of cargo from the Port into the City of Toronto and surrounding area. It is necessary to rehabilitate this bridge, originally constructed in 1931, in order to maintain marine transportation of bulk commodities such as road salt, cement or aggregates to the Port of Toronto.
The old Cherry Street lift bridge waits for its destruction

See more photos after the jump.
The new entrance at Lake Shore Boulevard is open

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