High Level Bridge – Edmonton, Alberta - Atlas Obscura

High Level Bridge

This unique bridge has been a staple across the Saskatchewan River Valley for more than 100 years.  


The High Level Bridge opened in 1913 and was originally designed to connect the communities of Edmonton and Strathcona. However, the two communities became one shortly before the bridge was completed. It was constructed to accommodate rail, streetcar, two-way automobile, and pedestrian traffic.

The bridge was designed by Phillips B. Motley of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The steel trusses on the concrete piers of the bridge is a design feature rarely seen today. The bridge spans across the Saskatchewan River, hovering around 157 feet (48 meters) above the river and valley below. 

Several structures have been added to the bridge over the years. The most celebrated of these was the Great Divide Waterfall by artist Peter Lewis. Constructed in 1980 for the 75th birthday of Alberta, the man-made waterfall dropped around 50,000 liters of water per minute into the river during holiday weekends and summer months. The falls were shut down by the organization Environment Canada in 2009 due to rising concerns over its effect on the river environment. Attempts have been made to reopen the installation, but none have been cost-effective enough for the city to consider.

In 2013, a campaign called “Light the Bridge” was launched. It resulted in 60,000 LED lights being installed along the bridge for special occasions. The High Level Bridge is also where the city of Edmonton launches fireworks for major events. 

Know Before You Go

The bridge is not far from the Alberta Legislature Grounds. 

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