Transcending Yonge Street and the subway north of St Clair, this old commuter rail bridge allows us to continue on the Beltline trail through the backyards of Toronto from its western beginnings at the Allen Road on through the Moore Park Ravine.
The bridge itself was much more beautiful and evocative for several years, when Robert Sprachman, a local artist installed a sculpture depicting horses in silhouette. Even now as I pass it I always picture the horses there in that empty space above the bridge, though they were removed years ago. And I’m not the only one. In the City’s consultation process on improving the belt line there were suggestions to bring the horses back. Don’t see that in the recommendations, though. The sculpture is called Iron Horse, reminding us of the locomotives which originally used the bridge. This is my idea of the perfect public art installation, and I am so sorry we lost it. (Note: since restored to the site with city approval.)
The path itself transcends the hectic city as the bridge does the street. It is non-commercial space, without billboards or storefronts. Heavily treed, it passes in some places behind houses, giving a more intimate glimpse than one normally gets while out walking. It follows the north edge of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a veritable arboretum, and on into the ravine. Although for me it is never the shortest way home, I find this entrance irresistible and know the lush walk west is worth going out of my way for. Here for a while I am not a consumer but simply an inhabitant.
– Schuster Gindin
Read more about the horses on the bridge here, look at the city’s study and plans for Beltline trail improvement here.
OTHER TORONTO FOOTBRIDGES
Humber River Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge
Yesterday I discovered the Kay Gardner Beltline Bridge. Despite the hazy summer heat of Toronto, I decided to bike rather than drive in travelling across the city from the West, out by the intersection of the 400 and the 401 to the east, down by the lake just behind the Toronto Hunt Club. For those of you who know Toronto, it is quite the hike. I’m nearing 60 but with my e-bike, I thought I had the pedal power to do it. After a bit of research using Google Maps, I settled on a route that took me mostly on trails, all of which were unknown to me. I had a great ride both to and from my destination but in reflection, what startled me, having been a Torontonian for all but 5 years of my life, was the incredible paths I discovered. Today, sitting quietly having my morning coffee, I began to research the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail. All of this brings me to the point of my contact with you. The article that Living Toronto has posted about the Kay Gardner trail laments the loss of the Robert Sprachman ‘Iron Horse’ installation across the Yonge Street bridge of the trail. I wanted to share that one of the highlights of the trail was this exact installation! It would be a happy update to the original post to let the readers know that this well-appreciated silhouette is once again a part of the Beltline.
Elizabeth Ainslie, Toronto
Yes! Thank you, Elizabeth.