Save the Cloverdale Footbridge

If there’s one theme that keeps repeating itself, both here and in my head, it’s change. Keeping with this theme, I visited a part of Edmonton that might not be around much longer: the Cloverdale Footbridge.

The Cloverdale Footbridge, sometimes referred to as the “Downtown Footbridge”, connects Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir-Edwards Parks in central Edmonton (between Cloverdale and Riverdale). Despite its popularity, the City of Edmonton has plans to replace it with a new bridge as part of a new LRT route.

There is a campaign to Save Edmonton’s Downtown Footbridge (sign the petition! check the news!) that is advocating an alternate LRT route. I suspect part of the reason that the campaign hasn’t gotten off the ground is because people generally support LRT expansion. So do I, rest assured, but the proposed route is not anti-LRT. It’s actually smarter and more user-friendly.

Yesterday, I went down to the Cloverdale Footbridge on a gorgeous spring afternoon. I hung out on the bridge for a while, looked at the view, and enjoyed not having to wear a jacket. It’s still the early days of warm Edmonton weather, after all.

I approached from the west.

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The Edmonton Queen on your right.

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Memorial plaques on benches and picnic tables always catch my eye. What a lovely way to be remembered. I always wonder what the people were like.

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The Cloverdale Footbridge is part of the Trans-Canada Trail, which is commemorated on the north end of the bridge.

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Then there’s the bridge itself.

It was very busy – full of joggers and cyclists – although my photos might imply otherwise. It was great to see young families on bike rides together.¬†One kid remarked as he passed, that he “hates bridges because it feels like they’re going to collapse”. Elderly couples ambled along, enjoying the view. There were a couple of people camped out on the benches in the centre of the bridge. Two people enthusiastically discussed which building was which in the view. There were joggers, and more cyclists. You could tell who was on a date. This bridge is loved.

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North entrance.

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South entrance.

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View from the east side.

View from the northeast.

The scene from the centre of the bridge is stunning:

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One of the best views of the city. I even used it as the preview image for my introductory post, not thinking at the time that I would be back so soon.

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I love you, North Saskatchewan River.

Two geniuses using the river wisely on a beautiful day.

Two geniuses using the river wisely on a beautiful day.

Something I really enjoyed about my trip to the Cloverdale Footbridge was looking at all the bridge graffiti. It’s a piece of our intangible cultural heritage that may soon be lost.

Note: Pardon the shifting colours in the following photos. I edited them so you could see the text as best as possible. Turns out carving your initials into a bridge is not the best for photography on a bright, sunny day.

Some of the graffiti had dates:

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Some of the graffiti was mysterious:

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So mysterious. Do you see it?

So mysterious. See it?

Ah, there it is. Possibly etched decades prior by the rumoured witches of the Dogpath (or, a kid having fun).

Ah, there it is. Possibly etched decades prior by the rumoured witches of the Dogpath (or, a kid having fun).

Some of the graffiti simply made me smile. I hope things worked out for them:

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Infinity is a long time.

Infinity is a long time.

At one point, I saw this guy’s relatively unique full name and might have found him on Facebook. Bet you, or he, didn’t see that one coming.

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Overall, the bridge is covered in graffiti. I wish I knew the stories behind all of it.

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And finally, hidding oh so humbly on a pole…

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Saving the footbridge makes sense to me. Please consider lending your voice, and pay the footbridge a visit while you can.

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