What started as a vision to create an engaging, interpretive barrier free National Park experience is nearly a reality in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.The Glacier Skywalk has reached a key milestone in the construction process, and is on schedule to welcome visitors starting May 2014.
The Glacier Skywalk, located just minutes from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre on the Icefields Parkway, will be Canada's newest iconic attraction. Visitors will participate in an interpretive experience along a fully-accessible cliff-edge walkway that leads to a glass-floored observation platform 280 metres (918 ft) above the Sunwapta Valley. This spectacular location has been noted as one of the most unique ecosystems in the world, and offers an ideal venue for learning about the ecology, geology, glaciology and natural history of the Columbia Icefield region.
The glass-floored walkway, or Discovery Vista, was successfully installed on July 26, 2013 and essentially completes the structure. The installation itself was an incredible feat of Canadian engineering design and construction. Numerous Canadian and international partners worked together on this project to ensure a seamless and environmentally sensitive installation process of the unique walkway structure. Designed by Sturgess Architecture and RJC Engineering, the structure was assembled and erected by Gartner Steel & Glass and Bova Steel with scaffolding by Brand Engineering. It was swung into place by an impressive Mammoet crane, and tensioned by DSI Canada. PCL Construction coordinated the lift and installation and managed the project to ensure quality and safety.
“We are delighted to have reached this landmark event in the construction process”, said Michael Hannan, President, Brewster Travel Canada. “This will be a fantastic experience and I cannot wait to have Canadians and visitors from overseas standing right here, learning through our Glacier Skywalk interpretive experiences and connecting in a powerful, meaningful way with the incredible peaks and glaciers that surround us”.
Built in the late 1930s to provide opportunities for visitor use and enjoyment, the Icefields Parkway is one of the most spectacular scenic drives in the world. The Glacier Skywalk project supports Parks Canada's ongoing work in forging meaningful connections between people and the environment.
“Canada's iconic national parks are cornerstones of Canadian tourism. Parks Canada believes in offering Canadians a wide variety of ways to experience their national parks, strengthening their personal connections to our heritage places,” said Greg Fenton, Field Unit Superintendent, Jasper National Park. “The Glacier Skywalk will be an innovative and accessible way for visitors of all ages and abilities to experience a special part of the Icefields Parkway.” The Glacier Skywalk will be completed in the fall of 2013, and will invite visitors to discover the spectacular landscapes it is integrated with in May of 2014.
For more information, please visit www.glacierskywalk.ca.