The Luminous Veil

In light of the losing streak and especially the reaction to Ford's election to Mayor of Toronto, I thought I'd share with you a project that has always fascinated me:  The Luminous Veil on the Bloor Viaduct.  For those of you not familiar with Toronto, the Bloor Viaduct is a truss arch bridge that crosses the Don River Valley, including the Don Valley Parkway, so that Bloor Street connects to the Danforth.  It has five lanes for vehicles, two lanes for bikes, and on the lower deck runs the subway.  None of this is really all that extraordinary (though the Danforth is very awesome) but the Viaduct is more infamous than famous.  According to Wikipedia it peaked in 1997 with a rate of one suicide every 22 days.  Since the bridge was originally built in 1918, they didn't exactly have the same safety standards as we do today, and the short railings on the Viaduct meant they were really easy to climb on your way down.

This eventually became such a problem that there was finally a decision to create a suicide barrier.  But what's interesting about this is that rather than just install the ugly, high fence as is typically done, the city wanted to maintain the "aesthetic appeal and historic heritage" of the original viaduct.  Eventually a design was selected which met the criteria of not adding too much additional weight to the bridge while being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  This project was being built when I was in university studying architecture and it was one I found really interesting.  I love it when good design and functionality are married, and can personally say that while your experience as a pedestrian on the Viaduct is different now, the Veil is an interesting addition to the bridge.  It actually does seem rather light and serves as an effective suicide barrier and while its design is very modern it integrates well into the historic bridge.

With Toronto seemingly entering a dark time, the name Luminous Veil seems more appropriate now than ever.  And while I'm sure there's no risk of actual suicide right now, it sure feels like there are some irrational leaps being made.  Maybe we need some sort of virtual luminous veil... something lightweight and pleasant that fits so well on top of the historical failures of the Leafs to prevent people from jumping to bad places.  Is there something that pulls you back from the edge of irrationality when the Leafs face difficult times?  For me it's faith.  Faith in the youth we have right now, faith in the management team that's been put together, and faith that maybe these guys we have wearing the blue and white actually appreciate wearing that Leaf on their jersey.  Last year seems to have shaken us all up quite a bit, as if we're scarred from the terribleness of the team.  We shouldn't be going this crazy only 7 games in the season, yet here we are.  Share what keeps you sane in the comments.

Links after the jump.

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