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Bloor St. viaduct viewer has seen better days: The Fixer

Looking through the magnification viewer on the Bloor St. viaduct is like getting lost in space, since that’s where it is pointed.

But try finding someone within the city bureaucracy who has any idea which department is responsible for it, never mind actually fixing it.

Most visitors to Niagara Falls have probably seen the telescopic viewers along the railings at the edge of the river that are used to observe the magnificent waterfall, or even taken a look through one.

There’s a similar one in the middle of the Bloor St. viaduct, on the south side, which is supposed to offer pedestrians an up-close look at the Don Valley and the ever-changing downtown skyline.

But it hasn’t worked in years and is aimlessly pointed skyward, where there’s not much to see except puffy clouds and a few treetops.

Henry Buchert sent us a note saying he strolls across the viaduct regularly and has “always been intrigued by the viewer in the middle of the bridge.

“It seems to be frozen in place and non-functional. There is a date of 1996 on it, and it seems to have not worked for years. It seems like such a nice way to look at the Toronto skyline.”

We went there and found that you can still look through the viewer, but it provides only an unfocused view of the sky and is locked in place and can’t be rotated.

There’s a button beneath it, in the middle of a small plaque that says, “Press to listen.” Above the button, it says, “Point of View. Voices of the Don Valley,” along with the name of artist Francis LeBouthillier.

We jabbed the button several times but didn’t hear any voices.

It also says “this project was made possible by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Public Art Commission and the Task Force to Bring Back the Don,” but there’s nothing to identify which department is responsible for the viewer itself.

STATUS: Last Tuesday, we asked Wynna Brown, a spokesperson for the city, if she could track down someone to fix it. She later passed it off to Steve Johnston in transportation services. He couldn’t find anyone by Friday, and suggested that former roads manager Rob Burlie has been around for so long that he might know somebody who knows something about it. Burlie is investigating and says he should know more in a few days.

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