Toronto’s skyline might be famous for its towering skyscrapers, but its soul resides in the smaller, often overlooked connections that bind neighborhoods and history. The Glen Road pedestrian bridge and the pedestrian tunnel under Bloor Street East are currently undergoing a transformation mired by delays. The latest update will see Rosedale Valley Road close for two weekends next month.
Imagine strolling through a lush, urban oasis, connecting the neighborhoods of Rosedale and north St. James Town. The Glen Road pedestrian bridge, affectionately known as the Morley Callaghan Footbridge, has served as a historical lifeline for over a century, bringing communities together. But time had taken its toll, and in March 2022, the bridge and tunnel had to close for an major revitalization endeavor:
- Bridge Rebirth: The existing bridge was removed to pave the way for a brand-new pedestrian bridge that will soon rise proudly over the Rosedale Valley Ravine.
- Tunnel Facelift: The pedestrian tunnel, which echoes with the footsteps of countless pedestrians over the years, is getting a much-needed facelift.
- Accessibility First: The project includes the creation of a barrier-free path from Bloor Street East, ensuring all can enjoy the connection.
- Heritage Preservation: Recognizing the historic significance of the Morley Callaghan Footbridge, the project honors the past while embracing the future.
Challenges Along the Way
The journey hasn’t been without its twists and turns. Delays have kept the project in a holding pattern, and according to the City of Toronto, the project team is working to provide the community with an updated timeline for completion.
“Work on the Glen Road pedestrian bridge and the pedestrian tunnel under Bloor Street East is ongoing,” read a statement from a city spokesperson. “Due to several issues during construction, completion of work has been delayed. The City is working to get an updated timeline for completion to the community shortly.”
Reconstruction of the pedestrian tunnel is being tackled in two phases, with the north side tunnel already complete. Now, crews are crafting a new, barrier-free pathway to connect with the bridge, with the south side of the tunnel next in line.
Throughout this process, traffic on Bloor Street East will be reduced to one shared travel lane in each direction for both drivers and cyclists, as excavation and reconstruction of the tunnel proceed.
“Reconstruction of the pedestrian tunnel is being carried out in two phases. Work on the north side tunnel is complete,” the city spokesperson confirmed. “At this time crews are working on the construction of the new barrier-free path that will connect Bloor Street East with the pedestrian bridge. Following this work, the contractor will begin work on the south side of the pedestrian tunnel. With the relocation of the work zone to the south side of Bloor Street East.”
The endeavor has united the City of Toronto, Heritage Toronto, and the community, all working together to ensure the bridge’s future respects its storied past. In fact, the bridge is recognized as a vital piece of the South Rosedale Heritage Conservation District.
But the project’s anticipated completion in 2024 might be a bit farther on the horizon than initially expected.
Two planned weekend closures of Rosedale Valley Road next month in November 2023 will facilitate the installation of steel components for the new bridge, marking a significant milestone in this ambitious restoration project.