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Centre Island Bridge

Avenue of the Islands Bridge

Centre Island Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 20, 2013

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Avenue of the Islands Over Long Pond
Toronto: Toronto City, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
157.5 Feet (48 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
3 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is a unique structure with an unusual history. The bridge was originally built at an unknown date, but dates to before 1896, based on historical photos. The bridge was originally designed as a steel or wrought iron deck arch bridge. With two outer arch lines featuring a solid rib (composed of a riveted built-up box beam) and latticed spandrel, the design strongly resembled iron arch bridges that were built in England in the 1800s. The lattice featured decorative flower motifs. It appears this lattice spandrel design was intended for aesthetic purposes, because the bridge was designed with a third arch line, "hidden" in between the outer arch lines but this middle arch line was designed without the lattice and instead had a more traditional system of vertical columns and spandrel bracing. The bridge featured decorative covers that resembled iron pillars that rested on top of the stone piers. Abutments were also stone. The bridge railing in appearance was a traditional balustrade railing with urn-shaped balusters and ornate vertical posts, but was an unusual design because urn-shaped balusters usually occur as part of a concrete railing, making their metal design unusual.

At some point, long ago based on the appearance of the concrete, this bridge was heavily altered by the encasement of the arch ribs in concrete. Apparently at this time, the decorative iron pillars were removed, exposing the bare, unadorned steel of the arches behind. Apparently also at this time, the beautiful railing posts were either encased or replaced with concrete, as were the top of the railings. The metal base and balusters of the railing were retained.

Despite major alterations, and loss/alteration of significant architectural features, this bridge remains a beautiful bridge and a rare example of its type. It retains substantial heritage value. It remains today one of the centerpieces of the unique island park it resides in.


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