In late April 2018 a horrific event took place in Toronto, Canada. Dubbed the “Toronto Van attack” a man drove a van on a sidewalk in downtown Toronto targeting pedestrians. 11 people lost theirs lives and an additional 15 injured with some critically injured. As a result of this event our client Niagara Parks Commission began a search for a solution to “dress up” the newly installed concrete pedestrian protection jersey barriers which spans roughly 2 Kilometers in length protecting the public from any potential terrorist attack along the main sidewalk leading to Niagara Falls.
Air Strength Canada was contacted to come up with a design and product for them to have installed by their local contractor team. The planters required many details to pull off a look to make the protection barriers a more blended addition to the walkway leading up to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side.
Niagara Falls Canada, known as one of the wonders of the world. An estimated 13 million people visit the falls each year. As you can see large crowds walk along the sidewalk that runs parallel to Niagara Parkway. This is the main attraction area on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. As you can see tourists and visitors could be exposed to a potential horrific attack in this photo prior to installation of the protection barriers. Because of this, two kilometers of jersey barriers were installed beside the sidewalk to protect the people. As you can imagine the jersey barriers are only so nice to look at. Niagara Parks commission wanted to make them beautiful!
A saddle style concept developed in partnership with a custom exterior planter builder. These planters required to be heavy in case of a vehicle accident, have lifting supports for installation in spring and removal for winter storage. Each planter was to have an irrigation line drain hole which would be tied into a main irrigation line that could hook up to tanker truck so that multiple planters could be watered at once to help with maintenance efficiency.
An above view shows a small section of the planters located roughly every 25 feet apart for 2 kilometers to create uniformity with the newly added saddle planters.
After the initial prototype saddle planter had been shipped, tested and approved the installation took place over several days in July 2019. A certified operator driving a tractor with a fork attachment using chains was required to lift each planter into place. This required great care to place these on each jersey barrier as each planter was roughly 800 lbs empty. Once installed it was almost a perfect fit on the top of the jersey barrier!
Installation continues of the custom saddle planters along Niagara Parkway. Each planter measured 70 7/8″ wide x 25″ deep x 46″ high and custom fit to the exact jersey barrier dimensions. The planters are made of a product mix called GFRC – or fiberglass reinforced concrete. These are built to withstand Canada’s cold climate. Each planter was painted in a semi-gloss black as per the client’s request.
A night shot showing the planters showcasing their summer look for 2019. As you can see this really “dressed up” the jersey barriers which is exactly what the client was looking for. Protecting the public can look good too!
Another closeup daytime photo showing the fitment of the saddle planter. The planters performed very well and helped sustain great growth with its built-in irrigation lines.
A photo a few weeks after planting. You can see the line of greenery heading northward. This addition helped create a safe and aesthetically pleasing pedestrian protection system to protect the millions of people that visit Niagara Falls each and every year. The client Niagara Parks Commission was very pleased with how this went from an idea to a concept to reality. The entire process took approximately 6 months from start to finish.
One last photo of the finished product. As you can see these planters really help “green” up the area and helps create a sense of wellness and calm with the inclusion of the biophilic design attributes.