I'm leaving with a better feeling of Toronto. I have always enjoyed my time here, but I have seen the lush green side of Toronto this time. I have also experienced the beautiful neighbourhood of Old Cabbagetown. It is so well cared for and there are so many trees and flowers. We saw many young families walking dogs and taking their kids to the park. Toronto wouldn't have seemed like a good place to raise a family had I not seen this little snippet of Toronto life. There are many other areas that are similar; Riverside, Leaside, Rosedale, etc. From my bed I can see the Don Valley which is full of trees and parks and the bridge that connects Bloor and Danforth and the skyline of the downtown. It is an interesting combination of what Toronto has to offer.
"The bridge", as I call it, that connects Bloor and Danforth is actually called The Prince Edward Viaduct. A viaduct is a series of arched bridges that go over a valley or water. In this case it does both. The interesting thing about this viaduct is that it has had a transformation as of late. They have added a light show. I got a sneak peek of a couple of nights ago as they were trying it out before the big revel on July 4th. This is not any light show; it will change within every minute, every gust of wind and every change of season. The cost of 2.6 million dollars has had politicians fighting about it since its inception. It is a lot of money to spend on lights, but from my vantage point, it is an amazingly unique addition to this city. Here are some facts about the bridge;
16.5 million Colour possibilities
35,000 LED lights
45,000 feet of cable
2008 The year plans began to illuminate the bridge
3 Large computerized lighting controllers
It has given me pause for the spending of public money. When you visit a city and see these things they tend to stay with you. Toronto has had the CN Tower lit since 2007. It has an eight minute light show at the top of every hour. The colours are chosen by the public and charities for the most part. There are obvious colours such as red and white on July 1st for Canada Day and on the day of the Pride parade, June 28th, the colours of the rainbow will be glowing from the tower. As frequent visitors to Toronto it has always been of interest to us to see the tower lit up. I remember vividly bringing Taka, our Japanese son, to Toronto for the first time. We had gotten an amazing deal on a downtown hotel room that faced the CN Tower. Taka had a roll-out cot in the room right next to the window. He was in awe. He asked if we could leave the curtains open so he could see the colours of the Tower as he fell asleep. He told us he woke several times to see it that night . What has become commonplace to many, I am sure, is a treasured memory for those who see it for the first time in person. So it brings me to the cost of the Prince Edward Viaduct. It may seem like a lot of money for lights, but it is what defines a city; the modern artistic expressions that leave us with vivid memories.
While I have been here they opened a revitalized Queens Quay (a 1.7 km stretch along the lakeshore right downtown), completed numerous buildings and venues for the upcoming PanAm games (including 6 new buildings for the Athlete's Village which will be re-purposed after the games, creating a new, re-vitalized neighbourhood near downtown), and put some new modern street cars and subway cars into service. Barry has commented many times as he walks back and forth from the Hospital to Jerri's, that Toronto has become a different place in the last little while. It actually feels like you are "somewhere", like Toronto has finally grown-up and fits as a modern, vibrant city in our ultra-modern world.
I wish I had a picture to show you the Viaduct lights, but it was lit long after I was tucked in for the night and my family had gone home and thankfully, I won't be here for the grand reveal on July 4th. So it is just a memory in my head for now; that is until I visit Toronto again and drive down the Don Valley at night and see the most unique light show.
Here is an article from the Toronto Star regarding the viaduct lighting