Riverside Bridge, Queen Street Bridge, the span over the Don. Whatever you want to call the beloved steel structure that connects downtown Toronto with the east end, it's been a symbol of the community since its creation in the early 1800s. While it was originally a humble wooden bridge, today it stands as an iconic gateway. In 1996, Eldon Garnet added his own touch with the clock as well as the quote, “The river I step in is not the river I stand in.” Now, the bridge is getting another makeover with a touch of illumination to bring the passageway to life at night. Here's what you need to know about the bridge lighting festivities.
Why light it?
When approaching the bridge at night, its artistic features are lost in the darkness. Given that the clock is already lit, it makes sense to celebrate the iconic bridge that serves as a gateway to the neighbourhood and a beacon for the community.
How it works
An illumination engineer used tiny linear LED lights that will accent the work of the original bridge structure as well as the more recent artisitic additions. The energy efficient lights will illuminate the main beams as subtly outline the text.
The LED lights are able to change colour so the overall bridge illumination can be adapted to various symbolic themes.
It all goes down
On the evening of Friday, June 5, lighting festivities kick off at McCLeary at Queen and McGee with games and refreshments for all. At 7:45pm, a parade will bring everyone west along Queen St. E, while community torch-bearers pass a symbolic torch along the route in the spirit of the Pan Am Games. Formal ceremonies will commence after the parade reaches the foot of the Riverside Bridge. The celebration will culminate, shortly after sunset (8:45 p.m.), with the very first illumination of the Riverside Gateway Bridge.
How the project came together
Three years back, the Riverside BIA team stepped back and thought about ways to really put Riverside on the map. They knew the Pan Am Games were coming and were aware that the bridge with its beloved artwork was already a huge asset to the neighbourhood. The BIA team got to work to put a plan in place using a private-public partnership including members from the City of Toronto, councillor Paula Fletcher, artist Eldon Garnet, lighting designer Paul Boken, banner designer Rebecca Houston and lighting technician, Nick Iozzo. It's now time to bring the bridge to light and celebrate the hard work and dedication that has made this $600,000 installation project a reality.