The Government of Canada announced an investment of $9 million toward the design and construction of the Keating Channel pedestrian bridge, spanning the Keating Channel, which will link Toronto’s mainland to what is currently known as “Villiers Island.

It was also announced that WilkinsonEyre’s Equinox Bridge concept was selected by the project partners through a design competition.

“New communities on Toronto’s waterfront will accommodate thousands of homes, new businesses, and residents. The Keating Channel pedestrian bridge will link residents with their communities, integrate nature and wildlife into our surroundings, and honour the relationship of Indigenous peoples with our city and history. Projects like this support an affordable, inclusive and sustainable future for everyone,” said Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and MP for Toronto-Danforth.

The new bridge will connect “Villiers Island” to Quayside, on Toronto’s mainland. These new communities will contain thousands of new homes, including affordable housing. The bridge will be a crucial link for residents of these emerging communities and beyond to access the city and the waterfront, while expanding connections to Toronto’s park network.

“The new bridge will connect people and communities. It will create more access for the thousands of families who will live in this area in the future. On behalf of the future residents of these waterfront communities, I want to thank the federal government for their investment in building this critical piece of infrastructure,” said Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow.

Engagement and collaboration with area residents, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and other Indigenous communities have been an important part of this project’s formulation. By acknowledging and celebrating the Indigenous history and presence in Toronto, the bridge will also benefit inclusivity, while taking steps towards reconciliation.

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An aerial view of the Equinox Bridge looking southeast. (Waterfront Toronto)

“Honouring the rich Indigenous history of the lands and waters that make up Toronto’s waterfront is essential to the success of this project. The Equinox Bridge design will represent and celebrate Indigenous history and culture while creating space for dialogue, reconciliation and relationship-building,” said Ogimaa-Kwe (Chief) Claire Sault, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

The federal government is investing $9 million in this project through the Active Transportation Fund (ATF). Waterfront Toronto (the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation) is leading the design and delivery of the bridge with the City of Toronto, in collaboration with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

“The Equinox Bridge will provide passage to a new world of wonder and discovery. It will open up the thousands of new market and affordable homes on ‘Villiers Island’, creating a link just minutes from downtown Toronto to the natural beauty at the Port Lands, where visitors and residents alike can find joy in new parks and harmony with the water. Toronto’s waterfront is a showcase for the best of Canada and Equinox Bridge is a welcome addition to our skyline and water’s edge,” said Jack Winberg, chair of the Board of Directors for Waterfront Toronto.

Following an international design competition, the Equinox Bridge was selected by an Evaluation Committee consisting of staff representatives from Waterfront Toronto, City of Toronto, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN), who considered input from technical advisors, a community advisory committee, Indigenous communities and the public.

The Equinox Bridge is designed by a multi-disciplinary team, including UK-based  WilkinsonEyre (design architect), Zeidler Architecture Inc (local architect), and including Arup (engineer), Two Row Architect (Indigenous consultant), and PLANT Architect Inc. (landscape architect).

Featured image: (Waterfront Toronto)

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