The goal of the Cayuga Grand Vista Trail is to connect people with the Cayuga community, highlighting the uniqueness of the natural landscape and the area’s heritage. The 1.2km trail connects the east and west sides of Cayuga, forming a scenic loop from the courthouse to King George St. and Maple Rd. and back to the courthouse via Talbot St. E. and Munsee St. N. The heart of the trail is the reclaimed CN rail bridge, a 300m span over the Grand River that offers sweeping views of the water, woodlands and cultural landmarks like the old Cayuga water tower.
Cayuga is the seat of the municipal offices of Haldimand County, a region located on the north shore of Lake Erie. The new Cayuga Grand Vista Trail is one of the first pieces of Haldimand-wide long term vision for cycling and pedestrian connectivity in the region. The trail will ultimately connect to the River Road multi-use trail, which links Port Maitland in the south to Caledonia in the north, and which connects in turn to Hamilton’s Red Hill Valley Trail and then the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail.
The trail is not only a connection for active transportation, however. It has also been designed as a place to stop and rest, experience the Grand River, and learn about Cayuga’s history. Two cantilevered viewing platforms have been constructed along the bridge’s length, oriented to the curve of the river and supplied with surface-mounted benches that invite rest and relaxation. These have been placed outside of the path of travel, which not only ensures safe circulation for cyclists and pedestrians passing by, but also creates a sense of discovery, as neither lookout is immediately visible from the ends of bridge.
The 8.5m by 8.5m viewing platforms have been named after local individuals that have noted accomplishments regionally, provincially and federally. The eastern lookout recognizes The Honourable Madame Justice Helen Kinnear, the first federally appointed female judge in Canada, and the western lookout is named for the Honourable Dr. Justice T. David Marshall, who was not only an influential judge, but also a doctor, pilot and provincial coroner.
The Cayuga Bridge builds on its social value through unique design excellence. It is designed to meet CSA S6-14, the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code, and is fully accessible. Unlike many other reclaimed rail overpasses, the pedestrian surface is wide enough to cover existing structural features, like re-used railway ties and steel framing. The views to the Grand River are unimpeded, even for a viewer peering directly over the edge. The width was also designed to be spanned by a single deck board, with no seams or fasteners to interrupt the visual rhythm down the length. Finally, sustainable recycled composite decking was used to ensure colour retention and reduce maintenance for decades to come. The clean, modern look of the bridge places users’ focus where it belongs – on the natural and cultural splendor of Cayuga and Haldimand County.
Team: Brad Smith, Sarah Lynn Saari (Landscape Architect), Witzel Dyce Engineering (Structural Engineering), Environmental Design Group (Contractor)
Project location: 55 Munsee St. N. Cayuga, ON
Design year: May 2018
Year Built: October 2018