Calgary: The Peace Bridge


It really annoys me when my local politicians blow a whole lot of money on some over-hyped, unnecessary project. But when another city — heck, another country — does it, I’m totally okay with it.  Calgary’s “Peace Bridge” is one such project.

When I arrived in Calgary at the beginning of my trip, this pedestrian bridge over the Bow River was the most popular topic of conversation on the radio and local TV news.  I had arrived on March 23, and the Peace Bridge was being dedicated the following day, on March 24, 2012.

The Peace Bridge cost $25 Million (Canadian dollars) to build.  That’s one reason a lot of people didn’t approve of the project.  Some also complained that it wasn’t needed — there are several other bridges nearby.  And some didn’t like its bold design.

But me?  I love it.  It was a lot of fun to photograph, thanks to its bright red color and repetitive geometry.

The Peace Bridge stretches across the Bow River, in between 7th Street SW (in downtown) and 8th Street NW at Memorial Drive (in the Sunnyside neighborhood).  I found plenty of on-street parking near the bridge.

As you can see, the bridge spans the river, 130 meters (428 feet), without any support from below.

Inside, there are lanes for pedestrians on either side, and a bicycle path down the middle.  And, at every bend in the funky double-helix structure, you get a nicely-framed view of Calgary’s downtown.

During construction, segments that were built in Spain were assembled.  Inspectors found problems with some of the joints that were welded in Spain — and the resulting repairs delayed the bridge’s opening by a year.

On the south end of the bridge, you’re in downtown Calgary!  The popular Stephen Avenue shopping district is only 8 blocks away, and the city’s commuter rail line is just seven blocks south.

I spent an afternoon exploring downtown Calgary during my 2009 visit to Alberta and British Columbia.  You can check out my visit to Stephen Avenue and Calgary Tower.

There are plenty of places to get a good view of the bridge.  Once you’ve crossed to the city side, you can walk around to Prince’s Island, for a good viewpoint.  On a warmer day, Prince’s Island Park would have been worth a couple of hours of exploring, but I had a plane to catch.

So, I left the Peace Bridge behind, said goodbye to Calgary, and drove out to YYC. The final total for this trip…

… was 3,387.3 kilometers, or 2,105 miles.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive into Calgary, to the Peace Bridge, then on to the airport:

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