The Ward to Downtown bridge

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The Ward to Downtown bridge will connect people walking and cycling across the Speed River from St. Patrick’s Ward to downtown. Following an open house in spring 2018, the community helped us decide on a preferred bridge design concept and we’re ready to present the refined concept including the trail and plaza to you. This is your opportunity to view project information, including maps and the trail connection, and to ask questions about the proposed concept.

About the concept:

To meet the objective for a new pedestrian bridge and trail connection over the Speed River, PLANT Architect Inc. has worked

The Ward to Downtown bridge will connect people walking and cycling across the Speed River from St. Patrick’s Ward to downtown. Following an open house in spring 2018, the community helped us decide on a preferred bridge design concept and we’re ready to present the refined concept including the trail and plaza to you. This is your opportunity to view project information, including maps and the trail connection, and to ask questions about the proposed concept.

About the concept:

To meet the objective for a new pedestrian bridge and trail connection over the Speed River, PLANT Architect Inc. has worked collaboratively with the City of Guelph. The design is based on the following design principles:

  • Improve pedestrian and cyclist safety
  • Link St. Patrick’s Ward and Downtown
  • Create a new gathering space
  • Emphasize the views southwards from the bridge
  • Celebrate Guelph’s cultural and ecological history
  • Reveal the history of symbiosis of water and industry
  • Protect and enhance sensitive environmental features
  • Evoke and enhance the industrial character of The Ward

The landscape design extends east from the bridge along a trail leading to Arthur Street, and west from the bridge through a Plaza at the intersection of MacDonnell Street and Wellington Street East. The south side of the Plaza will connect to the existing pedestrian sidewalk that runs through Heritage Park to Neeve Street.

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  • Do you have any comments or questions about the overall site plan for the Ward-to-Downtown pedestrian bridge?

    over 2 years ago
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    Plant Architect has worked collaboratively with the City of Guelph to develop a trail and bridge design to provide pedestrian and cyclist access over the Speed River next to the railway tracks adjacent to the new Metalworks development. The proposed design aims to improve pedestrian safety, link the St Patrick Ward and Downtown, create a new gathering space that emphasizes views from the bridge, protect and enhance the environment, and evoke the industrial character of the Ward.

    The landscape design will extend East from the bridge along a shared pedestrian/cyclist trail to Arthur Street, and West from the bridge through a Plaza under the existing raised railway viaduct and to the intersection at MacDonnell and Wellington East. The South end of the Plaza will connect to the existing pedestrian sidewalk that runs South through Heritage Park to Neeve Street.


  • Do you have any comments or questions about the bridge design for the Ward-to-Downtown pedestrian bridge?

    over 2 years ago
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    The selected bridge is a cantilever bridge structure made of weathering steel with a lookout area and bench on the southern side. The north bridge railing is a solid structural beam while the south side is a light cable mesh railing that allows for open views to the river and adjacent heritage assets. Materials selected are industrial in character - weathering steel, concrete, and stainless steel. The cable mesh railing is extended into the landscape area west of the bridge to mark an entry gateway area. The unique design of this bridge comes from the cantilever structure, which can accommodate a wider area in the middle of the bridge open to the south, and requires a solid north side.


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    Bridge lighting, planting, and paving help to orient cyclists and pedestrians safely across the bridge and through a new Plaza. The Plaza, which is designed as the West entry gateway to the bridge and trail network, starts at the intersection of MacDonnell and Wellington streets and extends under the existing raised railway viaduct to the new bridge and to the existing pedestrian sidewalk running South along Wellington. Planting species are selected to enhance biodiversity, wildlife habit and the natural heritage system while also addressing safety and maintenance concerns. A meeting place with benches is provided under the viaduct where pedestrians and cyclists can safely stop while not blocking the trail.

    The Eastern trail extension is located on a narrow strip of land between the Grand Junction Railway tracks to the North and the new Metalworks development to the South. This section of trail connects South to the Riverwalk Trail.