What condition was the railing at the Cherry Street Bridge when a southbound vehicle crashed through it and entered Lake Ontario at Toronto Harbour on December 2, 2023? No one has asked that question yet a similar fatal collision occurred at the same location on October 27, 2016.

No one has noted that there have been two fatal, drowning collisions at the Cherry Street Bridge in the past seven years. When a drowning occurred on December 2, 2023 no one mentioned that this is not the first incident. How quickly we forget.

On October 27, 2016 a northbound Toyota passenger car crashed through the metal railing of the Cherry Street Bridge and the vehicle entered the water. At the time on one questioned whether this was a reasonable occurrence. The 54-year-old female driver could not be retrieved in time and she drowned.

At the time police indicated that they had video of the vehicle just before the crash.

Yet the results of any analysis of the video were never provided. When the vehicle was pulled from the water it could be seen that a moderate amount of frontal crush was visible, certainly not the type of crush that would conclusively indicate a high impact speed.

Fast forward seven years and we have another fatal drowning collision at the same bridge. This time a vehicle was travelling southbound. The vehicle crashed through the railing of the bridge in a similar manner to what occurred seven years earlier. Once again police indicated that the vehicle was travelling at a high rate of speed, even though they had not yet recovered the vehicle which was still at the bottom of the harbour. There was no indication that police obtained video of the vehicle on approach to the crash so how did they know about the vehicle’s speed? Nothing further was mentioned by official news media about the recovery of the vehicle and its drowned driver. And the general public was accepting of this as there were so many other stories, including the search for an escaped kangaroo in the Toronto area, that seemed to be more important.

If photos were allowed to be shown of the status of the bridge railing at the time of both drownings there would have been some concern. A Googlemaps view of the bridge railing (shown above) clearly shows that it was aged, at best, in the preceding months before the last fatality. No one has questioned why, after the first fatality, nothing was done to strengthen the railing so that another drowning would be less likely. And it took seven years of non-action before the second fatality occurred.

The strengthening of the bridge railing was not rocket-science. All it would have required was to attach a horizontal beam running along the railing that could be tied to the length of the railing. This beam could have provided the additional strength to the railing system much like the long lengths of guardrail that gain their strength from their long length. Again, not rocket-science, just apathy.