Four-lane bridge spanned ravine and river in 1924, replacing old iron structure
Moore Park officially joined Toronto in 1812, but despite the annexation it was still divided from the city by a deep ravine through which ran Yellow Creek, a Don River tributary. The only bridge across was a narrow, iron affair that curved across the ravine from Pleasant Boulevard on the west side to St. Clair Avenue on the east.
That’s the structure being taken down in the archival photo above in December 1924.
At the time of this demolition, a new wider viaduct, triple-arched and built of sturdier cement, had just been built to better connect Moore Park to the new city.
The construction is underway earlier in 1924 in the middle photo. You can still see in the right corner of this shot the old, smaller bridge still in use.
The new viaduct spanned the ravine with a more direct route connecting the city’s St. Clair Avenue to its counterpart on the east side. With both vehicular traffic lanes and streetcar tracks, it opened to traffic in November or December 1924 and then the old bridge was taken down.
By the way, the railings and other materials from the demolished bridge were reused to line Avoca Avenue on the west side of the ravine. You can still see them there.
The new bridge, stretching along St. Clair Avenue East from Avoca Avenue to nearly Inglewood Drive on the east side, made the former Moore Park subdivision easily accessible from Toronto, and vice versa.
In 1973 the ravine carrying Yellow Creek was named the Vale of Avoca, “vale” being an old variation on “valley,” and the bridge was named the Vale of Avoca Viaduct — though it is probably more often referred to as the St. Clair Viaduct.
Margaret Atwood’s novel The Blind Assassin opens with an account of a character being killed in 1945 by driving her car off the St. Clair bridge into the ravine below.
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