The Cloverdale Footbridge

The Cloverdale footbridge connects Louise McKinney Park and the Henrietta Muir-Edwards Park, over the North Saskatchewan River, in central Edmonton.  The Cloverdale footbridge is part of the Trans Canada Trail, the world’s longest recreational trail.  Within the main river valley the Trans Canada Trail is a combination of existing paved and granular multi-use trail surfaces, with some sections linked to city roadways and sidewalks. The Cloverdale Footbridge is an integral part of the Trans Canada Trail crossing the North Saskatchewan River allowing for a recreation trail experience with no vehicle interaction.  This area of Edmonton’s river valley forms a "Ribbon of Green" that winds its way along the North Saskatchewan River, featuring natural wooded areas, paved and natural trails.

On April 26, 1974, Premier Peter Lougheed and the sixteen Edmonton Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Alberta announced the approval of the “Capital City Recreation Park” for the City of Edmonton. This unique urban park plan, estimated to cost in excess of 35 million dollars, was initiated and developed by the Government of Alberta with input from the City of Edmonton. The Cloverdale Footbridge was one of the features of this unique Park.

This Cloverdale footbridge is heavily used, on a daily basis, by bicycle commuters, hikers and joggers.

In addition the Cloverdale footbridge is a major tourist attraction highlighted in both the City of Edmonton and Alberta Government tourist information packages.

Photographers from all over the world use the bridge for wedding, family photography and tourist photography centering on the Edmonton cityscape and the scenic river valley.

“More than a bridge, it is a neighbourly promenade enjoyed by runners, walkers, cyclists, lunching urbanites, surrounding Cloverdale Bridge eggscommunities, musicians, dogs, photographers, painters, and a goose who lays her eggs year after year on a pillar below the north end of the bridge.” Donna's River Valley A Walker's Observations 

Originally named Grierson footbridge and unofficially renamed "Leilani Muir” footbridge, most people refer to this footbridge as the Cloverdale footbridge. A brass placard attached to the north side of the bridge honours Leilani Muir (who you can read more about here: Leilani Muir). Since the footbridge was constructed, there have been minimal changes made to it. There have been improvements to the surrounding area, i.e. the completion of Louise McKinney Park, the addition of the Chinese Gardens, the Rose Gardens Trans Canada Pavilion and the EHS Centennial Garden.

Demolition of the Cloverdale footbridge is scheduled for 2016. It will take four years to replace the footbridge with the Tawatina Bridge, a concrete LRT bridge with an underslung pedestrian platform. This new bridge will eventually replace the footbridge functionally, but will represent a major loss in terms of a popular public space and a peaceful, natural area of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. The Cloverdale footbridge is the only place in the downtown river valley where one can stand over the river without the noise of vehicle traffic.

*This Leilani Muir Footbridge video is a segment of a larger film produced by the 2012 Living Archives on Eugenics In Western Canada, Department of Philosophy at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB