Humber Bay Arch Bridge

Humber Bay Arch Bridge

  • Fred Renna
  • 08/18/22

Humber Bay Arch Bridge


The Grand Attraction Of Humber Bay Shores

In 1994, Toronto saw the construction & birth of one of the city's most iconic symbols (well, aside from CN Tower… ever heard of it?). The Humber Bay Arch Bridge is one of the most beautiful and photographed structures in the entire city. It sits gloriously at the mouth of the Humber River, along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. This double-ribbed arch bridge stretches 130 meters connecting the Waterfront trail on both ends of the Humber River for pedestrians and cyclists. On a bright and sunny day, it's common for first-time visitors to take a long pause on the bridge and take in the spectacular view of the Toronto skyline. The bridge has a fantastic vantage point for photographers and nature seekers alike. Needless to say, it's become a haven for those on social media, both influencers and micro-influencers.

With so many great features to enjoy, Humber Bay Shores is truly a destination for those looking to live in Toronto. And one of the most attractive aspects is its proximity to the leisurely waterfront trail. And the Humber Bay Arch Bridge is like icing on the cake with its beauty and presence. Painted pure white and grand in stature, this iconic structure serves as a connection between the Humber Bay Park E Trail on the west side of the Humber River to the Martin Goodman Trail on the west.




A Symbol of the Humber Bay Lifestyle

The following is a detailed article about everything you need to know about Humber Bay Arch Bridge. Enjoy!


The Humber Bay Arch Bridge is a landmark, a tourist attraction, a bridge and much more… 

Every city has its unique and popular landmarks. That special place where you will take your memorable event photos, like a wedding or graduation. It's that landmark that you always bring visitors to see and enjoy. You take pride in it as a resident of the area because of the joy and utility it brings to the place you call home. 

For anyone that lives in downtown Toronto, Etobicoke or Humber Bay Shores, the Humber Bay Arch Bridge is that well-known and beloved landmark. As much as the Toronto skyline is a revered site for all of those living in the area, the Humber Bay Arch Bridge is well known for its breathtaking design and construction.

The Humber Bay Arch Bridge connects much more than two sides of the river. It continues a more than 1400-kilometre-long path connecting dozens of communities from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie and the St-Lawrence River. It connects Humber Bay Shores and the community of Etobicoke to downtown Toronto. 

Finally, it connects the present to the past by building upon a rich trade history and cooperation among the First Nations and early settlers. Worked into the very structure, First Nations symbolism and art play a prominent role in the masterpiece, the Humber Bay Arch Bridge.


Humber Bay Arch Bridge: The Facts 

There is a reason that the Humber Bay Arch Bridge is the recipient of so many national and international design awards. It is a breathtaking piece of architecture that has enhanced the surrounding area immensely since its construction.

Built from high-strength 1200mm steel pipes bent into giant arches, the bridge spans 139 meters (456 feet) and is a comfortable 6.5 meters (21 feet) across. Sitting 70 feet above the water, it provides fantastic views of Lake Ontario and the Humber River. 2-inch stainless steel hangers, 44 of them, support the 22 deck beams that hold the concrete bridge deck. It is a combination of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge materials and the design that makes it possible to span this great distance without concrete pillions in the waterway.

The Humber Bay Arch Bridge has been in use since 1994 when it was opened to the public. First Nations symbolism can be seen throughout the bridge, including the Thunderbird motif built into the top of the steel arches. You can also find turtles, snakes, canoes and salmon motifs under the bridge, representing the area's Indigenous history.


Humber Bay Arch Bridge: The History

A rich and storied history predates the Humber Bay Arch Bridge. The bridge crosses the mouth of the Humber River, where it empties into Lake Ontario. This area has always been a hub for trade and commerce, as far back as 1000 years ago. 

The Ojibway First Nations regularly hunted and fished these areas, among other tribes. The Humber River was their highway. They would use it to travel upriver, as far as Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe, to do commerce with other First Nations and many of the early settlers that built their homes upriver. 

The Humber Portage, otherwise known as the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, played a pivotal role in the early development of the area. This was a widely used portage route that connected Lake Ontario to the other northern Great Lakes, including Lake Simcoe. 

The name Toronto is originally derived from the Indigenous word "Tkaronto", which means "the place where the trees grow over the water." This is relevant because the First Nations that lived on Lake Simcoe had planted rows of trees as a weir, a dam-like structure that alters the flow of the river, to help with their fishing efforts in the area.

Because of the fishing, hunting, trading and socializing the First Nations and early settlers did together, the Humber Bay Arch Bridge and the surrounding area are culturally significant. This history is on display in the design of the bridge. 


Humber Bay Arch Bridge: The Design

Traditional First Nations motifs weren't the only design elements that were considered when choosing the type of bridge that would cross the Humber River. Due to the size of the span that the bridge needed to cross, special considerations needed to be made about what type of bridge would be best. That is why an arch bridge was chosen. 

Arch bridges have been used for well over 2000 years. The Romans built arch bridges all over their empire for everything from aqueducts to roads. The fact that some of these still stand today, more than 20 centuries later, shows the durability and strength of the arch bridge design.

So, what exactly makes this design better than other bridge designs?  

  • They can span larger distances than regular flat-beam bridges. This is due to how the arch structure handles the dispersion of the weight that crosses it.

  • They can typically be built for less money than flat beam bridges that need to span the same distance.

  • They can be built out of almost any material. Combinations of concrete and steel are the most common today, but stone and wood were once also common materials for arch bridges around the world.

  • They become stronger over time. The settling of the ground at the ends of the bridge serves to make the bridge more robust rather than weaker.

  • They do not distort. If an arch bridge is built correctly, its shape does not distort with time.

  • The Humber Bay Arch Bridge was designed by the esteemed firm of Montgomery Sisam Architects, based in Toronto. Delcan Corporation, as bridge engineers, partnered with them on the design.  

The bridge was constructed off-site by Sonterlan Construction and shipped in pieces, which were then put together in place over the river. Concrete caissons dive over 30 meters into the ground, connecting to bedrock, ensuring the bridge's stability for decades to come. 

In the end, the Humber Bay Arch Bridge costs for the construction and placement of the bridge were slightly over $4,000,000. Considering its iconic status as one of the most beautiful bridges in the GTA, the investment was well worth it. 


Humber Bay Arch Bridge: Which Condos Have a View?

If you are looking for a condo with a view of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, you are in luck. There are plenty of condo complexes in the area that have a direct line of sight to the iconic landmark.

Palace Place is the closest condominium building to the bridge. Any of the east-facing condos would have striking views of the bridge, the lake and the Toronto skyline.

Palace Pier and Grenadier Landing both share views of the bridge as well. While they may not be as close as Palace Place, they also boast beautiful views of the bridge, the skyline and the lake.


Humber Bay Arch Bridge: Photography at its Best 

It can be hard to decide what to photograph when you get to the Humber Bay Arch Bridge. Do you shoot the fantastic view of the Toronto skyline? Or maybe the beautiful water of Lake Ontario? What about the arch bridge itself?

No need to make those tough decisions when you are at the Humber Bay bridge. You can shoot them all! The morning offers a wonderfully mystical view of Lake Ontario, and the afternoon brings with it views of the skyline that you wouldn't think possible. Wedding parties and graduation ceremonies can often be seen here, taking snapshots of their memorable day.

When the arch bridge truly shines is at night… literally. Outside of Humber Bay Park, which is a few minutes down the road, you won't be able to find a better spot to take a shot of the Toronto skyline. The calm water of the lake reflects the lights of the skyline in a way that seems almost like it is from a movie. The Humber Bay Bridge is often lit up at night, making it a popular spot to take photos as well.


Humber Bay Arch Bridge Location: How to Get There 

Now that you know you want to go there, you need to know how. It would help if you had the Humber Bay Arch Bridge directions. So, what is the Humber Bay Arch Bridge address? 

Martin Goodman Trail, Toronto, ON, M8X 3M9.

What happens if you want to get to the bridge but don't have a car? There are many options to get down there. 

  1. Walking: You can take the Martin Goodman Trail from the east end of the Humber Bay Park E trail from the west and walk right up to the bridge.

  2. Bus: You can catch either the 66, the 77 or the 80 bus to make it to areas near the bridge.

  3. Streetcar: If you are trying to get to the Humber Bay Arch Bridge by streetcar, hop on the 501 or the 508, and it will take you to the Humber Bay Loop, which is steps away from the bridge. (Update: the 508 streetcar was temporarily suspended as of March 24, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

  4. Subway: TTC Subway Line #2 has stops along the west side of the route that will connect you to buses that will take you to stops in and around the Humber Bay Shores region, including the Humber Loop at The Queensway.

  5. Train: If you are taking the train, the Go Transit's Lakeshore West line (LW) will bring you the closest to the bridge with a stop at Mimico station, where you can grab a bus or streetcar to bring you to Humber Bay Shores.

If you do happen to be driving your car, the closest major intersection is Park Lawn and Lakeshore. As for Humber Bay Arch Bridge parking, there are many options near the bridge. The Humber Bay Shores parks have ample parking space, although, in the summer, they are very busy, and there is a charge for parking between May and November. If you are looking for a parking garage, companies like Parkvel have all of the available parking garages in the area listed online.


The Bridge Has a Sibling: Smaller But Still Beautiful

What many people aren't aware of is that The Humber Bay Arch Bridge has a sibling. Take a short 5-minute walk west towards Humber Bay Park East, and you will find a single-ribbed arch bridge that sits at the mouth of Mimico Creek. It connects the Humber Bay Park E trail with the Humber Bay Park W trail. On the west side of the bridge, you'll find a parking lot that hosts the Humber Bay Shores Farmers Market, which runs between May and October each year. Unfortunately, this bridge doesn't officially have a name, but it is still a beautiful sight in a not-so-well-known area of the city.


Want to Know More?

Humber Bay Shores Arch Bridge is only one of the many attractive attributes of Humber Bay Shores. It has everything you could want and more in a community. It has the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, the Toronto skyline, beautiful parks and more. The views, the access, the amenities and the lifestyle are all waiting for you in Humber Bay Shores. Reach out today and see how Humber Bay Shores can be the right fit for you.


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Humber Bay Arch Bridge: Photo Gallery

So if you ever have a chance to visit either bridge, be sure to have a camera in hand as both are a real treat for photographers, both professionals and amateurs.


Humber Bay Arch Bridge
Humber Bay Arch Bridge
Humber Bay Arch Bridge
Humber Bay Arch Bridge
Humber Bay Arch Bridge
Humber Bay Arch Bridge

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