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Bayview Avenue Bridge

Bayview Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: April 12, 2015

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Bayview Avenue Over West Branch Don River
Toronto: Toronto City, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Metal 10 Panel Bolt-Connected Warren Deck Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1929 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Margison and Babcock
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
155.0 Feet (47.2 Meters)
Structure Length
900.0 Feet (274.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Main Span Count Not Available
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This is a bridge that, like a number of Toronto's many impressive bridges, is buried in the trees and nearly impossible to photograph even when the leaves are off the trees. Also like many bridges in Toronto, very little factual, verifiable information is available about the bridge, despite this being a bridge that undoubtedly has an interesting and colorful history. Span and total length given is a rough estimate.

The bridge seen today is best described as two parallel bridges that carry a single, unified deck. In 1929, a narrow two-lane deck truss bridge was built at this location. Later, a nearly identical (but much wider) truss was built right next to the 1929 bridge (on the east side) to enable a new, wider deck to be constructed, resulting in the wide six lane bridge seen today. Historical photos dated to 1960 by the City of Toronto Archives indicate that this widening occurred 1960. A modern plaque on the bridge with 1962 and 1994 date refers to the completion of the widening project and an unknown more recent project in 1994.

The 1929 (western) span is a mystery. It retains the general appearance of a 1929 truss, with built-up beams some of which include battens and v-lacing, just like one would expect. However, ALL fasteners are bolts, including not just connections but also built-up beams. This is a mystery. Rivets would have been used in 1929. Either every single rivet has been replaced, or the entire truss was replaced with a near-replica except that bolts were used. Either scenario would be equally bizarre. The 1960 span in contrast retains rivets for the built-up beams. The connections are bolted, however given the 1960 construction date, the connections may very well always have been bolted.

The 1929 span and the 1960 span are strikingly similar, however there are differences. The behavior of the bottom chord at the piers varies between the two, whether staying horizontal, sloping down, or sloping up. The 1960 span has trusses running closer to the abutment at the southern end, while the 1929 span has deck plate girders at this spot. A newer looking beam rests on top of the piers for the 1929 span which appears to suggest it was raised slightly, explaining the purpose of this beam.

A Wikipedia article claims that "Harold Babcock" was responsible for "building" the bridge in 1929. Assuming the association with Babcock is accurate, a more accurate description is that the engineering firm that Harold Babock was part of at the time called Margison and Babcock was the designer of the bridge. The on-site contractor is currently unknown.

An even older, low-level crossing of Bayview Avenue remains in place, albeit abandoned next to this bridge.


Above: A 1960 view on the original 1929 deck. Note the unusual railing.

Above: 1960 views showing the widening project in process.


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