Saturday, April 19, 2008


Fallen, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I've been fascinated by the Bloor Viaduct since I first read Michael Ondaatje's novel, In the Skin of a Lion. Today I was wandering underneath the bridge taking shots of the structure when I suddenly remembered the bridge's darker history as a suicide magnet. At one time, an average of one person jumped from the bridge every 22 days according to the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. I grimly realized that someone may have fallen near where I stood when I noticed this abandoned doll lying in the weeds. I wondered if the doll was lost along the Don Valley recreational trail or whether she fell from the bridge above. It gave me a chill regardless.

Today, a suicide barrier known as The Luminous Veil has been installed on the sides of the viaduct and so far there have been no more suicides from this bridge. Some argue that rather than preventing suicides, The Luminous Veil merely causes those seeking an end to shift to other bridges in the area.

Near where I live there's a viaduct
Where people jump when they're out of luck
The Barenaked Ladies, "War on Drugs"