The detour on Mississagua Street (or should it be Mississauga?) near Queen is certainly welcome news.
But I was shocked, shocked to read the project would not be finished until the end of April. Four months to replace a culvert? With the heavy equipment and talented workers working full-time on this site?
My goodness, am I that out of touch? I jumped on my laptop and did a few searches to see how long it had taken to complete some historically significant projects.
Yikes! In downtown Toronto, the Taj Mahockey, the Carlton Street Cashbox, a.k.a. Maple Leaf Gardens, was built in five months and two weeks. That's a huge building, put up during the Great Depression, but it was ready for the first faceoff and the Highlanders Pipe Band in October 1931. Maj. Conn Smythe must have had the whip out. No long lunches or cigarette breaks on that job site.
In California, the Golden Gate Bridge, spanning one mile across the Golden Gate strait, was built in only four years. Johann Strauss, the proponent and project engineer, wouldn't be stopped by currents or public opposition. This suspension bridge overcame all challenges, and in spite of the naysayers, in 1937 became an iconic view. Ah, when men were men, eh?
After laying over 5,000 kilometres of steel rail across Canada's vast Prairies, finding a way through our mighty Rocky Mountains, and bridging over a thousand streams and rivers, the Canadian Pacific Railway drove The Last Spike in Craigellachie, B.C., on Nov. 7, 1885. Just four years and a few months! As Gordon Lightfoot sings, “an iron road stretching from the sea to the sea.”
Maintenant, a quick trip to romantic Paris. Back in the 1880s Gustav Eiffel, an engineer with a dream, touted a large tower on the Champs de Mars to anchor the 1889 World Fair. Parisians fought this concept, led by the “Artists against Monsieur Eiffel's Tower.” This would be a threat against the aesthetic nature of Paris.
The Eiffel Tower was built in 26 months – and 132 years later, is still serving beignets at selfie central.
So, back to our Mississauga Street culvert replacement. As we dream of great hordes of visitors arriving this summer, let us determine to light a fire under this project, get it done and take down the “Welcome to all detourists” signs.
We are so fortunate to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake … in 2021.