A haunted history
1910 Plan to build bridge across Don Valley and "graft Toronto on the American continent" is rejected; editorialists who favour the plan note that the decision was followed "by one of the severest earthquakes to hit Toronto." So begins the viaduct's darkly turbulent history.
1911 Plan for the Bloor Viaduct is revived amid appeals that women and children using congested Broadview streetcar line, the only access to the city's east end, "are crammed in with labourers with liquor on the breaths."
1912 Viaduct rejected for the third time after Rosedale residents raise concerns about "mammoth mile-long bridge... crashing through stately quiet enclave."
1914 Viaduct plan approved; the World newspaper calls the "epoch-making" project "the most important since the electrification of streetcars and building of City Hall."
1919 Viaduct officially completed and named after Edward, Prince of Wales, following his Toronto visit - an inauspicious beginning, for Edward would later abdicate the throne; the viaduct continues to be known as the Bloor Street Viaduct.
1966 Subway, included in original plans for the viaduct amid much controversy, introduced to lower deck.
1987 Michael Ondaatje's In The Skin Of A Lion recalls the travails of those who built the bridge and the one man, R.C. Harris, who had the big-city vision to see it through.
1991 Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn adds to the darker cultural lore of the the viaduct in his 1991 song about the temporariness of life, Anything Can Happen; the decade will be the most deadly for suicides in the bridge's history.
June 1997 East York chapter of Schizophrenia Society of Ontario promotes suicide barrier after deaths of three sons and one daughter of chapter members.
July 1998 A rash of suicides, including that of choirboy Kenneth Au-Yeung, leads to a coroner's inquest recommending the building of aa suicide barrier; 400 deaths since its construction - one every 22 days - makes viaduct number-two "suicide magnet" in the world.
October 1998 City council approves plan for Luminous Veil; proposal calls for 5-metre-tall safety screen of 10,000 thin stainless steel rods placed 5 inches apart.
1999 Works committee votes to cancel barrier.
2001 Tribar Industries offers city $3.5 million for veil in exchange for allowing electronic billboards on DVP; planning committee rejects offer after vocal protests from conservationists and other billboard companies.
2002 Council approves $5.5 million for barrier, $4 million more than original $1.5-million price tag; 42 people jump to their deaths during lengthy delay before the barrier's approval, and another 18 people during construction.Where spirits live