Broadview and Castle Frank Subway Stations

Inside Broadview and Castle Frank Stations
Broadview and Castle Frank Stations are on the Bloor-Danforth line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  Both stations were opened in 1966 and are both underground railway structures.  They are connected by the Bloor Viaduct which was constructed as a truss arch bridge, at a cost of $2.5 million (in today's inflation dollar it is equivalent to $36 million) and opened on October 18, 1918 as the Prince Edward Viaduct System.

Today it's more commonly known as the Bloor Viaduct, which covers a span of 1680 feet or 494 metres and connects the City from Bloor street East to Danforth avenue passing over the Don Valley parkway, the Bayview extension and Riverdale Park.

I found this huge air vent on the west
 side of the bridge. What it's for? 
Bloor Viaduct-Built 1918-note the "Luminous Veil"

Suicide Magnet-Long way down
I've crossed over this bridge a hundred times in my life by different modes of transportation.  By car, by bike and by train.  So I decided today since there was such a rich history in the construction to accommodate mass transportation in the City, I would enlist both Broadview and Castle Frank stations together in my research of the transit system here in Toronto.  What a gorgeous day it was to do it too!  I was able to take lots of pictures and spent most of my Saturday reading about the Viaduct.

Like many bridges in large cities, this one isn't any different as far as being a suicide magnet.   Its original design did not include the "luminous veil" which was put up in 2003 at a cost of $5 million dollars to prevent grief-stricken people from ending their lives by jumping over the bridge.  It also was to protect the traffic underneath in danger of being hit by a fallen body.  A sign is erected at the western most part of the bridge, which indicates the phone number to the distress center, standing by 24 hours a day to help listen and hopefully saving a life that day.
Beside it is a Bell public phone which requires no coin if you dial the helpline.

Although statistics have proven that the steel rods which look and behave much the same way as a ships mast, do not prevent suicides.  This is to the dismay of many unsympathetic people who feel that the view has been disturbed and was put up in vain due to the fact that one who is in that frame of mind may find alternative choices out of desperation.  As in the heart breaking story about Martin William Patrick McMullan, who jumped the 'Leaside Bridge' just  minutes away.  H was only 19 years old.  I pass by this whenever I am on the bike trail, and stop to pay my respects for the young man and think of his devastating last minutes.   These are pictures of the unprotected Leaside bridge.

The Bloor Viaduct was designed above all to move mass transit and proved to be a catalyst to Toronto's economic and population growth in the early 1900's.  The upper and lower deck of the bridge accomodated both trams on the upper deck and rail transport on the lower deck.  At that time, the lower deck was a point
of contention due its high additional cost, but luckily R.C. Harris (see "Woodbine Subway"), who was the bridge's designer and Commisioner of Public Works at the time got his own way.  This is a good thing because years later in 1966 when the Bloor-Danforth line was opened, it proved to save millions of dollars due to the fact that no major structural changes were needed to be made to cross the Don River valley.
View from Broadview Street (hence the namesake of
broad view of Toronto)

Underneath the Bloor viaduct today, there is a railway that is owned by the Richmond Hill Go transit system, the Don Valley parkway which carries traffic north and south of the City, Bayview Avenue, the Don river and an awesome bicycle trail which takes you right down to the harbourfront.  A few years ago I used to use this bike trail to go from the Edward Gardens (Leslie and Bayview) all the way down to Lakeshore in about 30 minutes.  The only reason I ever stopped was because they had erected a fence halfway through the path due to some restructuring / rearranging of the railways and that put an end to that almost half a year.  The fence has since been gone, but so is my desire to run the trek again, especially now the cold weather is coming back.  

Toronto marries successfully city and nature beautifully.
Here I took pics which shows views from Viaduct to the
Don Valley parkway below
There is an award winning fictional novel which was written by Canadian author Michael Ontaadje called the "Skin of a Lion".   He despicts the fictional lives of immigrant workers who constructed the Bloor Viaduct and how they lost their identities, and 'skin' blood, and sweat to build the bridge.  I was given the book while working at Penquin Books Canada as a gift by the author who later went on to write his more famous work, the English patient.  The "Skin of a Lion" is a colorfully written book and I highly recommend it for further reading.

Riverdale Park East Wetlands (south of Broadview
Subway Station)
We had a great time exploring into what was all in all a very productive and amazing day!