Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chinatown arch

click to enlarge to see gold detailing

Construction of the Chinatown Royal Arch begins in April. The whole structure will be precast concrete. The precasting of features may be done in a tented workshop behind Yangtze Restaurant using handcarved wooden molds, then put on the concrete main frame. It will take two months to cast, then painting will take two months, altogether five to six months.

The lowest point of the arch will be 16’ above the street; the top point will be about 33’ above the street. The arch spanning the street will weigh 100 tons, when the decorative elements are added, 130 tons altogether. In preparation for the project, a gas main has to be moved; hydro lines on the south side must be relocated or buried. The photoshop arch picture is not totally correct, as the piers supporting the arch will be located on bulb outs that will replace 2 parking spaces.

The arch will be completed for unveiling on October 13, the 40th anniversary of the modern Canada-China relationship so it is a tight deadline.   The construction process should itself be a tourist attraction of considerable interest and well worth documenting.

The CBIA has hired a lighting consultant. Current plans are to add floodlights to the existing Chinatown light fixtures and two more light poles using the existing design. There is also a move to upgrade the block from Cambridge to Bronson (perhaps as part of the Bronson reconstruction process) to the new Chinatown streetscaping design being developed this spring as part of the Somerset reconstruction process underway from Preston up to Booth.

The CBIA is also heading up a search process for the teams of workers from China who will build the arch. They are looking for accommodation for 16 to 46 workers at a time.


  1. Hi Eric,

    Just wanted to say that I love catching up with your blog once or twice a week, please keep up the good work.

    I really enjoy the update


  2. Are they allowing for the option of Toronto-style streetcars in the design, I wonder?