After 5 years of construction the St. Patrick's Bridge finally opened on Monday. This footbridge serves as a connection between East Village and the Memorial Drive pathway and St. Patrick's Island. It's a $25 million bridge and according to the City of Calgary, 4,000 people are expected to cross it daily.
The construction process was delayed for a year when the deck was washed away by the flood last summer. This made the grand opening even more spectacular and there were circus performers and dignitaries on hand to celebrate its opening. A prayer and a tobacco smudge blessing were offered by Blackfoot Nation's elder Clarence Wolf Leg. After this blessing, the mayor officially opened the bridge to the public and led a procession across it.
The bridge is part of a master plan for Calgary's East Village. The community is destined to become a vibrant mixed neighbourhood with more amenities and family friendly parks available to the residents. Next summer, a series of pubs, bakeries and restaurants are scheduled to open in East Village.
This bridge is also part of a project worth $45 million that will restore St. Patrick's Island Park. Currently, the park is under construction and is scheduled to open once again next summer.
Most of the people that made their way out to the ribbon cutting ceremony were residents that had been looking forward to the bridge opening for a number of years. This bridge will be connecting communities and people together, which will add to the livelihood of the East Village neighbourhood and to the city of Calgary. As with any major project, this bridge has seen its ups and downs during the years but in the end it pulled through and will become an important part of the city's infrastructure.