Bridge to the Future

Celebrating the construction of St. Patrick's Bridge

Flag-waving school children, brilliant sunshine and a traditional Blackfoot blessing marked the official opening of St. Patrick’s Bridge this autumn. The long-awaited day was cause for big celebration, and not just because of the unseasonably fine weather. The ribbon cutting ceremony for East Village’s pedestrian and cycling bridge across the Bow River commemorated yet another milestone in a year full of milestones for Calgary’s newest, oldest, coolest, warmest neighbourhood. If you missed out on the fun, or just feel like revisiting that warm sunshiny day, step back a couple of months with this video.

 St. Patrick’s Bridge is the final piece in the connectivity puzzle that links East Village to the rest of the city. By way of the 4th Street underpass to the south, along RiverWalk™ and the Elbow River Traverse to the east, through the New Central Library to the west, and over the graceful arches of the St. Patrick’s “skipping stone” bridge to the north, East Village is now fully connected in all directions. It’s never been easier to come home.

 Thanks to the connectivity that St. Patrick’s Bridge has added to Calgary’s river pathway system, the once largely recreational trails are now a functional commuter system. More than just a pretty face, the new river crossing is bridging the sustainability gap by letting more Calgarians live well without having to get into their cars to do so. This video shows just how St. Patrick’s Bridge is helping make Calgary a more sustainable, more liveable city.

 But more than just a river crossing, St. Patrick’s Bridge is a destination in itself. Sure, it helps cyclists and pedestrians get to work with ease, but it is also a great place to play. Boasting some of the best views of the city, the spacious bridge deck has become quickly become a cherished public space right on the river. When St. Patrick’s Island opens in the summer of 2015, island programs will combine with bridge programs to create a whole lot of fun that is much larger than the sum of its parts. That’s pretty heavy lifting for such a delicate looking bridge.

 The slender arches of the skipping stone bridge have been lauded for their elegant simplicity, but the actual building of the bridge was anything but simple. And that’s not even counting the little matter of the 2013 flood. Check out this video for a bridge-building primer. It was trickier than you’d think.

 2014 has been a great year for East Village, marked by the completion of significant projects from the Fort Calgary Sentinels, the Elbow River Traverse, 5th Street Square and St. Patrick’s Bridge. 2015 promises to be even more exciting. With the opening of St. Patrick’s Island as a backyard playground, the re-opening of the beloved Simmons building as a culinary destination, and the handing over of the keys to the first new EV residents, it’s going to be a very happy new year.

The team at Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) wishes all Calgarians the happiest of holidays and best wishes for 2015.