Exhibition Place Opens New Sky Bridge

Exhibition Place officially opens the new Sky Bridge. The first glass-enclosed walkway of its kind in Exhibition Place, the Sky Bridge connects Beanfield Centre to Hotel X Toronto.

“Today’s opening of the Sky Bridge at Exhibition Place marks a significant milestone as we work towards achieving an exciting vision for the future! We are enhancing access to Exhibition Place’s historic and landmark buildings, landscapes, and features that provide the foundation for meetings, conventions and exhibitions that bring the people of this City together. The ongoing evolution of Exhibition Place will build upon this tradition by showcasing innovation and enhancing spaces for all visitors,” said Exhibition Place President and CEO Don Boyle.

“Exhibition Place plays a critical role in the social, cultural and economic success of our City, and the country. We are Canada’s largest entertainment venue, attracting over 5 million visitors per year, and generating significant economic impact for the City of Toronto,” said Exhibition Place Board Chair and Councillor Mark Grimes.

With the opening of the new Sky Bridge, connectivity between buildings has been improved, and the walkway provides a safer, all-season link with more direct access, enhancing the Exhibition Place experience. The new Sky Bridge runs east-west on a slight angle across Newfoundland Road, linking the conference levels of Beanfield Centre and Hotel X Toronto mid-block between Princes’ Boulevard and Lake Shore Boulevard West.

“The new Sky Bridge now offers our clients and delegates a direct connection between Beanfield Centre’s conference level and the meeting level of Hotel X Toronto, and immediate access to our onsite hotel accommodations.  The Sky Bridge glass design beautifully complements the heritage façade of Beanfield Centre and includes features such as sliding glass entry doors and interior lighting elements,” said Laura Purdy, General Manager, Exhibition Place.

Sustainability plays an important role in the Sky Bridge at Exhibition Place. Designed by NORR Architects, built by EllisDon, the design features a floor-to-ceiling insulated glass panel cladding that encloses the architectural exposed steel structure and a three-colour interlayered film and bird-friendly pattern. The multicolour film decreases the solar heat gain to under 50 per cent of the levels of transparent glazing.

“The Sky Bridge is a connection of three projects over more than a decade, and is a significant link between a historic building and a new building in an unobtrusive, light and transparent design,” said Silvio Baldassarra, Chair, NORR Architects and Engineers. We believe that great buildings and structures are the result of a strong long-term vision by our clients. Today we are realizing the result of their long-term vision – beginning with the revitalization of the 1929 Art Deco automotive building in 2009, now known as Beanfield Centre to the completion of Hotel X in 2018 to the official opening of Sky Bridge.”

This pedestrian connection at Exhibition Place provides an all-season second-level link between the Beanfield Conference Centre and Hotel X Toronto over Newfoundland Road. The pedestrian walkway is 36.3 meters long and 110 meters in area. The connection to the hotel facility provides a convenient and efficient access route to the conference level for guests at the hotel and access to other services offered throughout the site. The bridge incorporates a coloured 5 mm dot pattern that decreases the solar heat gain and mitigates bird collisions with floor-to-ceiling insulated glass. Natural limestone panels laminated to an aluminium honeycomb core are utilized for the exterior cladding and soffit, providing a complementary visual integration between the two existing buildings.

The walkway is supported at two locations: the existing Hotel X Toronto structure and a central pier. The structure at the connection point of Hotel X Toronto had been designed in coordination with structural engineering with additional capacity in anticipation of the connection of the elevated pedestrian walkway. The opposite end of the bridge features a 16.5 m long cantilever towards the existing Beanfield Centre, with no structural connection to the building. This soft connection minimizes the impact on the heritage building and allows the bridge to act as a reversible intervention. Thoughtful design and careful planning to achieve a “touchless” structural solution at the historic building interface was a requirement of Heritage Toronto.

The floor and roof girders, columns, and rod braces function as a vertical truss to resist lateral and gravity loads in the longitudinal direction. In the transverse direction, the columns and transverse roof beams form moment frames to withstand lateral loads. The in-place braces, floor and roof girders, and transverse beams function as horizontal trusses to resist wind loads.

The 3-D structural analysis reviewed deflections and resistance of the structure and the dynamic performance of the design under pedestrian-induced loading. Canadian guidelines, American and European guidelines on structural vibration were consulted when performing the dynamic analysis and determining the acceptability criteria. A custom-designed Mass Tune Damper hidden above the ceiling at the end of the cantilever portion of the truss significantly reduced perceivable rocking vibration that pedestrians may otherwise experience.

Exhibition Place’s award-winning Enercare Centre recently achieved the distinction of North America’s top 30 convention centres for trade shows and events from Exhibitor Magazine’s Centres of Excellence for 2021. In 2020, Enercare Centre won the award for Best Convention Centre (500,000 – 1 million square feet of exhibit space).

Exhibition Place

Exhibition Place is Canada’s largest entertainment and convention site; hosting 1,260 events and attracting 5.5 million visitors a year. The 192-acre site is an integral component of Toronto and Ontario’s economy, particularly with respect to conventions, sport, festivals, recreation, culture and tourism. Exhibition Place boasts the award-winning, LEED Platinum Enercare Centre; Canada’s largest exhibition and convention centre, and the Beanfield Centre LEED Silver conference venue. Since 2004, Exhibition Place has undertaken an environmental stewardship initiative, entitled GREENSmart; which includes the promotion of sustainable development, environmental initiatives and leading-edge green technologies and practices across the site.

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