The iconic Humber River Pedestrian Bicycle Bridge is a defining feature of Toronto’s cityscape, connecting the City’s popular waterfront trail at the mouth of the Humber River.
Many of the design features were inspired by the site’s indigenous history. The arch and concrete abutments on either side of the bridge mark the gateway to a historic aboriginal trading route. The steel superstructure connecting the two ribs of the tied arch is patterned as an abstract version of the Thunderbird, an aboriginal icon of the Ojibway who occupied the site for almost two hundred years. References to the natural and local history of the area are also integrated into the design, including snake and turtle motifs.
The elegant physical expression of the bridge reveals the structural forces at work. A post-tensioned concrete deck is supported by steel beams suspended by stainless steel rods from two parabolically curved steel ribs. At either end of the bridge are oversized concrete abutments. Their totemic head like forms are reminiscent in scale and material to some of the monuments associated with the Queen Elizabeth Way which in its original form started westward from the Humber River.
Since its construction, the bridge has become a popular local landmark, featured in numerous films and television commercials, and has received several national and international design awards.