Vale of Avoca

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This article is about a valley and viaduct in Toronto. For the river valley in Ireland that the valley and viaduct in Toronto are named after, see River Avoca.
Vale of Avoca
St Clair Bridge, 1924.png
Vale of Avoca nears completion, November 3, 1924
Other name(s) St. Clair Viaduct
Carries 5 lanes of St. Clair Avenue
(originally 4 lanes with 2 streetcar tracks)
Crosses Avoca Ravine
Locale Toronto, Canada
Maintained by Toronto Transportation
Design Truss arch bridge
Total length 155.1 m (509 ft)
Width 19.7 m (65 ft)
Vertical clearance 27 m (89 ft)
Clearance below Yellow Creek
Opened 1924
Toll No
Daily traffic St. Clair Avenue East

The Vale of Avoca is the name of a deep ravine and of a large viaduct which carries St. Clair Avenue East over the ravine, both within the city of Toronto. When built in the early 1920s, the triple arch bridge served to connect the well-established community of Deer Park with the developing community of Moore Park; it replaced an older structure and straightened the alignment of St. Clair Avenue in the process. The bridge and ravine are named after a poem by Thomas Moore. It was built in two years at a cost of C$716,653.58 ($8.9m, adjusted for inflation in 2010). A small channelized tributary of the Don River, known as Yellow Creek, weaves beneath the central span.

History[edit]

Construction across a bare valley; a bridge being built. The ground is covered in snow. In the background, an iron tressel carries cars over the valley.
The Vale of Avoca bridge under construction in the winter of 1923

Prior to the Vale of Avoca, the ravine was crossed by an iron bridge. The bridge was built in 1888 by John Thomas Moore in the hopes of encouraging investment in his new subdivision, Moore Park. Under the condition that he build the bridge, the Township of York purchased a strip of land across the valley and leased it to Moore, who was in return given the St. Clair Avenue right-of-way between Avoca Avenue and Inglewood Drive. Moore Park subsequently developed.[1]

On December 16, 1912, Moore Park was annexed into Toronto at the drive of landowners eager to obtain municipal services. Due to growing safety concerns regarding the old iron bridge, city council authorized construction of a new bridge in 1922. Unlike the old bridge, this one would follow the straight alignment of St. Clair Avenue East (renamed in 1914). Two houses were expropriated and demolished, and the new structure built over two years at the cost of $716,653.58 ($8,914,622.90, adjusted for inflation) It opened to traffic in November or December, 1924.[2] The old bridge remained open and operational throughout, with traffic detouring around construction on the eastern side. After completion of the new structure, the old one was promptly dismantled, and the material used to forge the fence that lines Avoca Avenue. The natural stream at the bottom was subsequently channelized to slow erosion.[3]

The former structure crossed the valley on an angle, beginning at St. Clair in the east and crossing to Pleasant Boulevard; it followed an electric line already in place. The eastern abutment and several concrete footings are still in place near the rim of the ravine as reminders of the old bridge.[3]

In 1973, Toronto officially named the bridge structure and the ravine as The Vale of Avoca,[1] after either the poem by Thomas Moore (after whom John Thomas Moore is named), or the river valley in Ireland.[4]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chartash, David (2001). "Report on the Vale of Avoca - Old History of the Place and Surrounding Area". Deer Park Newsletter. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ Though no exact date is available, two photo from the Toronto Archives taken on November 3 and December 16 show the paving of the completed structure, and the demolition of the old structure, respectively.
  3. ^ a b Bridge over Vale of Avoca. Deer Park Library. Local history reference; 'Bridges' fonds
  4. ^ "St. Clair Viaduct". Lost River Walks Toronto. Retrieved December 27, 2010.