Julia Di Giorgio & Peter Bormann
A Bridge to a View:
The Half Mile Branch

Ravines are fundamental to Toronto, constituting 17% of the urban landscape and 95% of its biodiversity. Nestled in the Don River basin, the Lower Don Parklands connects Toronto’s central urban communities to one of the last remaining natural spaces in downtown Toronto. The region touches and connects key features of Toronto’s history such as the 11,000 year-old Anishinaabe Trail, the 4,000 year-old Withrow archaeological site, Todmorden Mills (1794), and Evergreen Brickworks (1889). Meandering through the valley is the now decommissioned Don Branch Railway Line, and at its centre stands the spectacular 335m long and 23m high steel trestle “Half Mile Bridge” (1928).

Anchored at one end by the Evergreen Brickworks, the Half Mile Branch will gracefully circle its predecessor. The old tracks of High Mile Bridge will be reconceived as a greenspace, connecting the ravine trails to the North and South that are currently separated by highway traffic. In between, the Half Mile Branch incorporates dazzling glass observation decks overlooking the Don River and Evergreen Brickworks allowing unique perspectives on Toronto’s urban landscape. The Half Mile Branch’s fully accessible path showcases Toronto’s historical and railway heritage, and will join a small handful of elevated parks around the world becoming a conservation-oriented tourism destination.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.