(Reminder: this post is being published well after our visit here, we are currently in Portland Oregon until Sept 4th)
In addition to scheduling and planning our upcoming stay before we board ship headed to Japan (we originally looked at doing several days at several places but budget won out so we are going to spend most of August in Portland) we spend one day exploring downtown Calgary.
The photos above and below are of The Peace Bridge, a pedestrian bridge designed by Calatrava. You remember him from other designs I’ve shown you – the City of Art & Science in Valencia, the stiletto bridge in Buenos Aires, the new transit center in New York and many other interesting contemporary bridges and buildings.
The Bridge was actually prefabricated in Spain and shipped in pieces to Canada. Apparently like all his works, while interesting, they have issues. Here those include quality problems with the welds, suggestions that it is similar to another bridge designed by another firm, to its high cost -$25m!
Here is the other bridge-they do look pretty similar!
This bridge is significantly different from most of Calatrava’s other bridges which typically are asymmetric and suspended from a single mast (see the stiletto bridge in Buenos Aires below as an example).
Because of a nearby heliport this bridge couldn’t be very tall. It is also red in honor of Canada’s and Calgary’s flags rather than his usual white. It is based on a double helix. While not as impressive as some of his otherworks, the bridge certainly is popular. Reportedly (Wikipedia) over 6000 people use it everyday-mostly pedestrian and bike commuters headed into downtown from the residential area on the other side of the Bow River.
Based on what we saw on the weekday we were there, it is certainly heavily used as is the wonderful riverfront walk.
We spent a beautiful afternoon having lunch and stroking along the river. The people we met in Calgary were welcoming and friendly. It would be fun to go back for a little longer and see what living there is really like. The folks there said winter “wasn’t that bad”! LOL