Illuminating a Toronto Neighbourhood Landmark


The Riverside Gateway Project
Riverside Bridge Illumination, Riverside BIA, Toronto

DPM Energy is proud to have participated in this BIA beautification project, which required state-of-the-art lighting design and technical know-how to do justice to the beloved and historic Queen Street Bridge. Originally known as the Queen Street Viaduct, the bridge was built over the Don River in 1911 to link downtown Toronto to the east side of the city.

With the City of Toronto hosting the Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games in 2015, the Riverside District BIA was keen to see their iconic bridge tastefully illuminated as a welcoming gesture to the world, since the Pan Am Athletes Village would be located close by, in the West Don Lands.

But how to illuminate hundred-year-old truss-style steel bridge?

A Public-Private Partnership

The Riverside Gateway Project was conceived. The project was a private-public partnership comprised of several key sponsors, including Riverside BIA, City of Toronto and Streetcar Developments Inc. Because Nick Iozzo, President of DPM Energy, has worked with many major City of Toronto Business Improvement Area (BIA) lighting projects in the past, DPM Energy was approached to provide the Illumination Engineering and technical design expertise and recommendations for the featured lighting system that Lighting Architects Mulvey & Banani ultimately provided.

DPM’s roles and responsibilities in the project included:

  • The installation of custom lighting on bridge.

  • The design and fabrication specifications for new artistic gateway pole.

  • The design of control cabinet, and providing the power supply to the metered control cabinet.

  • The utility coordination.

  • Assistance with permitting.

The goal was to install dynamic lighting that would accentuate the bridge’s open structure yet never overpower the inscription, the elegantly scrolling banner or the delicate clockface.

Modern Energy Efficient Lights for a Century Old Structure

To achieve the desired effect, Mulvey & Banani used linear LED lights to accent the truss work of the original bridge structure and energy-efficient LED lights to subtly outline artist Eldon Garnet’s now famous text, which was added in 1996 and which reads, “This river I step in is not the river I stand in.”

The RGBA LED lights we used are able to change colour, so the overall bridge illumination could be adapted to various symbolic themes.

First up, the Pan Am Games colours, of course.

On June 6, 2015, at a special ceremony and after three years of planning and 250 hours of engineering, the Riverside Bridge illuminated the night sky with 78 lights and 2000 individual LEDs, much to the delight of onlookers.

Bringing People Together

One thing that makes us especially proud of the part we played in this BIA project is how so many diverse groups came together to create something truly special for a community. Today, the Riverside Bridge unites the community around a landmark that really had been part of its visual identity for decades, yet perhaps not considered as such. The illuminated Riverside Bridge is not only beautiful; it is a gateway, branding the Riverside BIA as a unique, proud, welcoming community.