Wandering around the Flats — LRT beside aqueduct

There is a somewhat scenic aqueduct that runs through the low point of the LeBreton Flats.

It has a lot of potential for creative place making.

Here’s a pic of an uncovered / recovered Cheonggyecheon creek in Korea, famous for being an improvement over the former elevated freeway that ran here. Alas, the water was so polluted the creek is now filled with tap water. But it still looks nice. Better for locals than a freeway.

sunken aqueduct in soeul s.k. similar to our aqueduct

(notice the high side walls)

Here’s a view from the [temporary] Preston Street Extension where it crosses the former transitway and the LeBreton aqueduct. In the distance is the new Booth Street Freeway overpass.


Notice that the new LRT alignment is considerably south (ie, to the right in the picture) of the old transitway alignment on the left. This allows some potentially useful development space and access to the side of the waterway. The aqueduct is further off to the left.


Notice also how high the bridge is at Booth. The bridge for the future Preston Street extension (ETA of 2021) will be similarly high.

The row of buildings proposed for the space between the two bridges will necessarily be similarly greatly elevated above the aqueduct and several feet above the existing Albert street grade.

Yet somehow I cannot find my way to put that together with the glorious photoshopped future we were shown in January. Charlotte Whitton once said planners can do such wonderful things with thin pencil lines. [I paraphrase as I could not find the actual quote on google] What would she think of planners and developers with photoshop?


Canada Drive, aqueduct, LRT line as seen from Preston Extension overpass, roughly the same view as the construction photo two pic above.

The promenade (Canada Drive) on the roof of the LRT train tracks is amidst the trees to the right. That decking extends out closer to the aqueduct to become the roof of shops that back onto the tracks and open out onto the aqueduct walkway.

So, one walkway above the train, another at track level, and somewhere lower than that, the walkway along the aqueduct. That middle pathway is at the same height as the historic stone bridges that cross the canal, so the lower pathway won’t function as a canal-side walk so much as a series of short platforms along the water’s wall:


Here’s a photoshop view from the other direction, looking from Booth Street overpass towards the west, towards the Arena and a pencil-thin condo tower:


Somehow, Canada Drive walkway seems to now be at least one storey below Booth Street. Photoshop is amazing.

And off in the distance, just before the Arena, the Preston Street overpass over the tracks and aqueduct will be just as high as the Booth Street overpass, but somehow it just seems to have faded out of sight.

And I sure don’t see how the aqueduct is wide enough for all that skating. On top of giant city waterpipe lurking just under the ice, no less. Mind they have managed to remove the stone walls from the south (right) side of the aqueduct, despite their heritage designation, and everything to the right of the thin brownish line in the centre of the pic is really a walkway and not the skateway. And notice the ghostly person walking along the top of the wall on the right, no railing required.


I like to think I have some pre- and post-construction visioning ability, but I must confess that walking around the Flats with the Sens picture set requires a leap of imagination larger than mine.


One thought on “Wandering around the Flats — LRT beside aqueduct

  1. OMG! I remember Charlotte Whitton too. Now… Living across from the Flats, I’ve often marvelled at he old stone work along the aqueduct. I would support it being left as is. Skating rink? I don’t think so.

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