Vintage Photographs of the Construction of the Bloor Street Viaduct

Designed by Edmund W. Burke, the Prince Edward Viaduct, or the Bloor Street Viaduct as you may know it, connects Bloor Street West with Danforth Avenue. The length of it runs 494 metres at 40 metres above the Don Valley below. This year, we will be celebrating its 100th year as it was officially opened on October 18th, 1918.

In 1909, East Toronto, located north of Danforth Avenue, and roughly as far east as Donlands Avenue, was annexed to the city. This began a quest to connect the two sides of the city, split by the Don Valley.

City referendum on the subject began in 1910 but it was not passed at first. It took a referendum every year until 1913 before the voters decided to make it so. Residents voted against its construction in 1912 by 59 votes and in favour in 1913 by 9236 votes. The cost of the construction was supposed to be CDN $759,000 in 1910 but was increased to CDN $2.5 million by the time it won the vote in 1913. The final cost of the build was CDN $2,480,349.05 or roughly $35.8 million today.

Luckily for the Toronto Transit Commission which opened its Bloor–Danforth subway line in 1966, the viaduct was designed to facilitate mass transit; its upper deck accommodated trams, while both the Don Valley phase and the Rosedale Valley phase included a lower deck for rail transport, controversial at the time because of its high additional cost. This saved the TTC millions of dollars in construction of the line.

Here are some photographs I gathered from the build which took almost 4 years to complete.

1913 - January 28 - Perspective view of proposed Bloor Street Viaduct
1913 – January 28 – Perspective view of proposed Bloor Street Viaduct
1914 - October 17the - Bloor Street Viaduct drawing.
1914 – October 17the – Bloor Street Viaduct drawing.
1915 - January 16 - Bloor Viaduct construction staff
1915 – January 16 – Bloor Viaduct construction staff
1915 - January 16 - Temporary bridge over Don River used for Bloor Street Viaduct construction
1915 – January 16 – Temporary bridge over Don River used for Bloor Street Viaduct construction
1915 - January 16 - Turning sod, Pier D, Mayor Church, (Bloor Viaduct Construction)
1915 – January 16 – Turning sod, Pier D, Mayor Church, (Bloor Viaduct Construction)
1915 - February 8 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Pier D
1915 – February 8 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Pier D
1915 - February 27 - Bloor Street Viaduct construction looking east
1915 – February 27 – Bloor Street Viaduct construction looking east
1915 - March 5 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, showing East Cable Anchor
1915 – March 5 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, showing East Cable Anchor
1915 - April 17 - Bloor Viaduct under construction, showing pier D
1915 – April 17 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, showing pier D
1915 - June 7 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, panorama
1915 – June 7 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, panorama
1915 - June 21 - Bloor Viaduct construction looking east (Don Section)
1915 – June 21 – Bloor Viaduct construction looking east (Don Section)
1915 - June 25 - Construction workers on the Bloor Street Viaduct
1915 – June 25 – Construction workers on the Bloor Street Viaduct
1915 - July 12 - Construction workers on the Bloor Street Viaduct, July 12
1915 – July 12 – Construction workers on the Bloor Street Viaduct, July 12
1915 - July 20 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, laying foundation for Pier A
1915 – July 20 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, laying foundation for Pier A
1915 - August 16 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, looking west
1915 – August 16 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, looking west
1915 - August 25 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, showing pier D
1915 – August 25 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, showing pier D
1915 - August 25 - Construction workers, Bloor Street Viaduct, Pier G
1915 – August 25 – Construction workers, Bloor Viaduct, Pier G
1915 - September 21 - Construction work on Bloor Street Viaduct, Pier E
1915 – September 21 – Construction work on Bloor Viaduct, Pier E
1915 - September 2 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, showing pier B
1915 – September 2 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, showing pier B
1915 - September 2 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, showing west approach
1915 – September 2 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, showing west approach
1915 - October 1 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, piers B & C looking west
1915 – October 1 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, piers B & C looking west
1915 - November 12 - Bloor Viaduct, Don Section
1915 – November 12 – Bloor Viaduct, Don Section
1915 - November 12 - Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pan
1915 – November 12 – Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pan
1915 - November 12 - Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pier A
1915 – November 12 – Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pier A
1915 - December 2 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, east approach
1915 – December 2 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, east approach
1915 - Construction workers digging out bank for pier G
1915 – Construction workers digging out bank for pier G
1916 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Arch from D. to E.
1916 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, Arch from D. to E.
1916 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, west from Pier A
1916 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, west from Pier A
1916 - June 26 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Oxy-acetyline cutting shoes
1916 – June 26 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, Oxy-acetyline cutting shoes
1916 - July 11 - Bloor Viaduct construction, Don Section
1916 – July 11 – Bloor Viaduct construction, Don Section
1916 - July 11 - Bloor Viaduct, Don Section
1916 – July 11 – Bloor Viaduct, Don Section
1916 - July 11 - Bloor Viaduct, Don section copy
1916 – July 11 – Bloor Viaduct, Don section copy
1916 - September 25 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Arch from B to C
1916 – September 25 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Arch from B to C
1916 - September 25 - Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pan
1916 – September 25 – Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pan
1916 - September 25 - Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pan copy
1916 – September 25 – Bloor Viaduct, Don Section, Pan copy
1916 - September 25 - Bloor Viaduct, Don section, Pan copy 2
1916 – September 25 – Bloor Viaduct, Don section, Pan copy 2
1916 - December 31 - Bloor Street Viaduct, complete view
1916 – December 31 – Bloor Street Viaduct, complete view
1916 - December 31 - Bloor Street Viaduct, east end
1916 – December 31 – Bloor Street Viaduct, east end
1916 - December 31 - Bloor Street Viaduct, west pier
1916 – December 31 – Bloor Street Viaduct, west pier
1917 - January 26 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, panorama looking south
1917 – January 26 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, panorama looking south
1917 - February 22 - Bloor Viaduct construction looking west, panorama from C.P.R.
1917 – February 22 – Bloor Viaduct construction looking west, panorama from C.P.R.
1917 - March 10 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Apron wall forms
1917 – March 10 – Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Apron wall forms
1917 - March 16 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Deck forms
1917 – March 16 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, Deck forms
1917 - April 12 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, General view of 281' span
1917 – April 12 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, General view of 281′ span
1917 - May 4 - Bloor Street Viaduct, upper deck looking west
1917 – May 4 – Bloor Viaduct, upper deck looking west
1917 - June 25 - Construction workers on Bloor Street Viaduct, Deck looking east
1917 – June 25 – Construction workers on Bloor Viaduct, Deck looking east
1917 - October 27 - Rosedale end of Bloor Viaduct - wood block parts
1917 – October 27 – Rosedale end of Bloor Viaduct – wood block parts
1917 - December 7 - Bloor Street Viaduct under construction, Approach to bridge looking east
1917 – December 7 – Bloor Viaduct under construction, Approach to bridge looking east
1917 - December 7 - Bloor Viaduct looking southwest to Howard Street
1917 – December 7 – Bloor Viaduct looking southwest to Howard Street
1917 - December 7 - Bloor Viaduct looking west to Parliament Street, panorama and deck
1917 – December 7 – Bloor Viaduct looking west to Parliament Street, panorama and deck
1918 - July 23 - Bloor Viaduct - track construction
1918 – July 23 – Bloor Viaduct – track construction
1918 - July 31 - Bloor Viaduct - Don section track
1918 – July 31 – Bloor Viaduct – Don section track
1918 - August 29 - Bloor Viaduct
1918 – August 29 – Bloor Viaduct
1918 - September 10 - Bloor Viaduct Roadway
1918 – September 10 – Bloor Viaduct Roadway
1918 - September 10 - Bloor Viaduct Roadway
1918 – September 10 – Bloor Viaduct Roadway
1918 - September 10 - Bloor Viaduct Roadway
1918 – September 10 – Bloor Viaduct Roadway
1918 - October 18 - Opening of Bloor Viaduct
1918 – October 18 – Opening of Bloor Viaduct
1918 - October 18 - Opening of Bloor Viaduct - Don section
1918 – October 18 – Opening of Bloor Viaduct – Don section
1918 - October 18 - Opening of Bloor Viaduct copy
1918 – October 18 – Opening of Bloor Viaduct
1918 - October 18 - Opening of Bloor Viaduct copy 2
1918 – October 18 – Opening of Bloor Viaduct
1918 - October 18 - Traffic on Bloor Viaduct - opening
1918 – October 18 – Traffic on Bloor Viaduct – opening
1919 - Looking towards Bloor Viaduct
1919 – Looking towards Bloor Viaduct
1920 - Bloor Viaduct, looking east to Broadview Avenue
1920 – Bloor Viaduct, looking east to Broadview Avenue
1922 - Prince Edward Viaduct, looking north
1922 – Prince Edward Viaduct, looking north – M.O. Hammond

 

For an extended look at the story behind the Bloor viaduct, check out this great City of Toronto post.

For more vintage photographs from around Toronto, visit the Toronto Archives or the Toronto Public Library archives.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1100 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography