Skip to main content

To: Mayor Tory & Councillor Grimes

Save the Van Dusen pedestrian bridge

Contact Campaign Creator
Campaign created by
A Fraser & A Mak
Save the Van Dusen pedestrian bridge

Councillor Grimes and Mayor Tory,

We are reaching out to you in hopes you might be able to help. We live in the Norsemen Heights, Sunnylea, Kingsway, and Thompson Orchard areas and recently we have found out the pedestrian bridge over Mimico creek at Van Dusen has been closed in indefinitely. This bridge is always very very busy with pedestrians and cyclists at all times of the year, but particularly since the pandemic has begun. This bridge connects our community and gives everyone, particularity, families and elderly an alternative to walking or biking along the busy Bloor road Bridge or Royal York bridge.

Since the closure there has been little to no communication as to the reason for the closure or the timing or next steps for the repair, in fact at first the bridge was closed with a piece of caution tape which has now been replaced with a fence. The community has now heard from our local parent group that the bridge has been condemned and maybe closed for a year to two years but we have heard nothing from the city nor has any signage been erected.

As the city focuses on initiatives to create shared streets and has developed ActiveTO as part of the pandemic response, we would like to draw your attention to this piece of valued pedestrian infrastructure.

Our ask with this petition is threefold:
1) provide communication (public notice and signage “upstream” of and at the bridge) to the community with regards to the issue with the bridge and the timing for repair. By doing this your will at the very least note that this is important infrastructure to the community.
2) Expedite the repair. If this was a vehicle bridge a year to two years would not be acceptable and it also should not be for pedestrian infrastructure.
3) the last is more of a question, what is the proactive asset assessment and maintenance program for pedestrian infrastructure? Is it run to fail as it seems? Is there a proactive condition assessment program that would allow planning and repairs to occur prior to failure in order to minimize the time required to get a bridge like this back into service in the future? Are we investing in the long term care of pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure so that we can ensure it is continually maintained?

There has already been much interest from the community regarding this closure and we would really appreciate your attention and follow up in this matter.

Kind regards,
Active community members

Why is this important?

- No public notification, information, or consultation about the closure, duration or reopening
- Impacts (reduced routes) to cyclists, pedestrians, and families during this time of social distancing / pandemic
- Impacts to kids (increased distance / increased risk on high traffic routes) walking to local public schools including Norseman, Our Lady of Sorrows, Bishop Allen, and ECI
- Impacts to traffic to local businesses on Bloor street


Reasons for signing

  • This bridge is a main artery for our neighborhood. I can see a case where folks will try and jump into the creek to get to the other side. There is no indication or information as to why the bridge was closed. Two years is an insane time to get this done.
  • My family and I use that bridge often.
  • Many families spend time viewing the beautiful water in the creek and the ducks Swimming by with their ducklings. The bridge has been a main focal point of getting to the shops at RoyalYork and Bloor.


2020-08-04 19:18:22 -0400

Email from the city about the construction notices being posted as of Friday July 31

2020-07-28 11:21:12 -0400

Response from a city representative, Karolina Kluska, Communications Coordinator Capital Construction, Engineering & Construction Services.

The response covers the safety issue and the safety inspection program of bridges and culverts.

Of note, the bridge replacement project will be tendered late this year and _scheduled_ to start after July 1, 2021. Not sure what the city's record is on sticking to published schedules.

Read the full response below

2020-07-24 19:34:09 -0400

500 signatures reached

2020-07-24 18:23:18 -0400

Published through Councillor Mark Grimes web site. This bridge has been closed for public safety. Note the emergency Construction notice Is dated July 24, and indicates a closure date of July 10 with “the bridge replacement work [is] completed in the Fall of 2021.”

Short excerpt follows

... The closure was necessary because of undermining and settlement of the west abutment, and the result of significant erosion issues believed to be exacerbated by the recent storm in the area, and a leaking storm sewer under the abutment. As soon as the issues were identified, the City's Engineers closed the bridge for public safety.

2020-07-23 06:37:51 -0400

Print and post the petition in your neighborhood!

2020-07-22 21:04:54 -0400

From the Office of Councillor Grimes 7/22/20
Thank you for your note and for taking the time to reach out to Councillor Grimes with your question.

The Councillor has a call scheduled today with the staff responsible for the closure, during which he will request measures be taken to inform the community about this important pedestrian bridge. We have been in constant contact with staff since the closure and, like the community, have been eagerly awaiting details (scope, timeline, rationale etc.)

With regards to your asks, they are aligned with Councillor Grimes' asks of staff.

As soon as we receive information from staff I will be sure to circle back with you and provide you with their response.

2020-07-22 10:26:29 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-07-22 09:45:06 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-07-22 09:24:05 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-07-22 09:07:59 -0400

10 signatures reached