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The top 10 unbuilt projects in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / November 23, 2010

Unbuilt Projects TorontoThe top 10 unbuilt projects in Toronto is something of a companion to my post about the top 10 buildings lost to demolition. Each offers a glimpse of how Toronto might look if, as the saying goes, things turned out differently. Unlike the prior post, however, not all of these projects are mourned. Perhaps the most notorious entry on this list, the Spadina Expressway, is still generally loathed to this day (as was evidenced by the reaction to Rocco Rossi's proposed Toronto Tunnel). In fact, a list of this type can't but be defined by a certain ambiguity. As fascinating as it is to peruse the proposed developments, even a brief a critical consideration of each reveals that most fizzled for good reason.

Still, it's always intriguing to look back and think about what might have been.

Spadina Expressway
Spadina ExpresswayProposed: 1949
Fizzled: 1971
Why it wasn't meant to be: Although a portion did get built between Wilson Heights and Eglinton Avenue (Allen Road), urban theorists and activists, including Jane Jacobs, fiercely opposed the plan. It initially appeared as though their efforts to kill the expressway were in vain, but with the election of Bill Davis as Ontario Premier in 1971, fate shifted and the project was dead.

Ballet Opera
Toronto Ballet OperaProposed: 1984
Fizzled: 1990
Why it wasn't meant to be: Now the site of condos, Bay and Wellesley was almost home to Toronto's Opera House. Designed, if not built, by Moshe Safdie, the proposed building was would have been iconic, to say the least. But, despite securing both the land and a $65-millon building grant from the province in 1988, when Bob Rae and the New democrats took power in 1990, the funding was cut and the project died when the Ballet-Opera House board balked at building a less expensive structure.

Eaton Centre Towers
Eaton Centre 1965Proposed: 1965
Fizzled: 1967
Why it wasn't meant to be: In 1966 city council had approved Eaton's plans to develop a massive retail centre around Queen and Bay that would see the demolition of all but the clock tower of Old City Hall (later in negotiations that too was slated to go), but the City and Eaton's could never come to terms on the cost/value of the site, which led the latter to pull the plug on the project rather unexpectedly.

Eglinton West Subway Line
Eglinton West Subway LineProposed: 1994
Fizzled: 1995
Why it wasn't meant to be: Although work began on Allen Station (which would have existed below Eglinton West) in 1994, when Mike Harris took over from Bob Rae as premier of Ontario in 1995, the project was terminated. The current plan for public transportation along Eglinton is the Crosstown LRT.

Harbour City
Harbour City TorontoProposed: 1968
Fizzled: 1972
Why it wasn't meant to be: Harbour City would have been just that -- a canal-style city out in the harbour attached to the mainland by ring road with entrance/exits at Bathurst and Strachan. Although the project had its high-profile proponents -- including Jane Jacobs who once said that it was "probably the most important advance in planning for cities that has been made this century" -- ultimately concerns over the the environmental impact of the development led to its demise.

Project Toronto
Project TorontoProposed: 1968
Fizzled: 1968
Why it wasn't meant to be: Project Toronto never really got beyond the theoretical phase, but Buckminster Fuller's plan to build a waterfront university that would feature a 20-storey pyramid and "Pro-To-Cities" built in the inner harbour, would have profoundly changed this city's downtown core and its relationship with the waterfront. With plans for Metro Centre arising at the same time, Project Toronto never really went anywhere.

Metro Centre
Metro Centre TorontoProposed: 1968
Fizzled: 1975
Why it wasn't meant to be: Metro Centre was, bar none, the biggest project that never came to be in Toronto. Had it been completed, Union Station would have been demolished, the CBC would have got a huge broadcasting tower, the YUS Subway line would have been extended to Queen's Quay, and basically very little would look the same in the far downtown core. Although there are a plethora of reasons Metro Centre never came to be, chief among them was the recommendation by a joint committee from the provincial and municipal governments to retain Union Station, which led the railway companies behind the development (CN and CP) to pull out.

Queen Street Subway
Queen Street SubwayProposed: 1942
Fizzled: 1980 (but there's always the DRL)
Why it wasn't meant to be: The Queen Street Subway came very close to happening on more than one occasion, but was eventually killed when it became clear that passenger demand was greater to the north.

Cambrai Avenue and Vimy Circle
Cambrai Avenue TorontoProposed: 1911
Fizzled: 1930
Why it wasn't meant to be: Part of larger plans to ease traffic congestion and alter the street map of Toronto, both Vimy Circle and Cambrai (once set to called Federal) Avenue would have given Toronto two magnificent boulevards, but ultimately Torontonians killed the projects, which were part of a question on the municipal ballot in 1930. Shortly after the stock market crash of 1929, citizens voted narrowly against the City going into debt to finance the road improvements.

Island Tunnel
Toronto Island TunnelProposed: 1935
Fizzled: It hasn't really
Why it wasn't meant to be: Believe it or not, the first plan to build a tunnel to the Island was hatched in 1935 -- not only that, they actually started building the thing. With federal funds secured for the project, it looked like a go, until -- you guessed it -- a changed in power. When William Lyon Mackenzie King took office, the project was almost immediately scrapped. But that hasn't stopped it from hanging around.

Images from the Toronto Archives, York University, Zeidler Partnership Architects, and Duke 360 on Flickr.

Mark Osbaldeston's Unbuilt Toronto was, obviously, very helpful in putting this post together, though credit should also go to David Kopulos and his site Toronto Pending.



Mark / November 23, 2010 at 03:12 pm
I see the Crosstown and Spadina Expressways and I weep for the lost opportunity. Instead of a city that would be liveable and easy to get around, we have persistent gridlock. Thanks NIMBY's your obstinence has pushed this city back 50 years.
alan / November 23, 2010 at 03:22 pm
a bit redundant now, but the gardiner expressway was at one time to be extended to the east but was scuttled by the citizens in the beach area...i think it was ended at carlaw...
Paulo / November 23, 2010 at 03:25 pm
I am thankful the Crosstown and Spadina expressways were canned. There is nothing that destroys a city like separating neighbourhoods and permanently breaking the city into pieces using freeways. People hate the Gardiner now, but imagine if there were 4 more Gardiners in the city?

There is a reason why many American cities lament their in-city freeways, and in some cases are dismantling them (San Francisco, Seattle) or burying them (Boston, Seattle). They're neighbourhood lifesuckers, pollution beasts, ugly, benefit only the suburban residents (who are trying to get into the city), and make living in a city terrible. Transit is a better option, as are people+car+bike-friendly boulevards (which unfortunately Toronto doesn't have).
Michael / November 23, 2010 at 03:35 pm
Metro Centre reminds me of the movie Robocop, and the plans to build Delta City.
zoom zoom replying to a comment from Mark / November 23, 2010 at 03:39 pm
You should move to Detroit or Buffalo or any other US city built mainly of freeways. You would be amazed at how fast you can drive through them. Away from the ghettos they create.
Rick / November 23, 2010 at 03:43 pm
I'd never see a picture of the proposed Bay/Wellesley opera house before. I live in the area and it would be great to have that down the street.
Brandon / November 23, 2010 at 03:53 pm
Damn... so many proposed subways and rapid transit lines that could have been so helpful today in relieving commuter congestion.
Your Mother / November 23, 2010 at 04:00 pm
lets face it, the city will never see another highway nor extended subway lines. these projects take a lot of time to plan and to obtain funding. by the time everything is approved our next mayor or premier will be in office and the plans will be scraped just like all of these great plans.
BruceD / November 23, 2010 at 04:02 pm
Glad they didn't go forward with the Eaton Center Towers ... Looks like they would have had to demo Old City-Hall. Its a beautiful EJ Lennox building .. . Same architect that designed Casa Loma and The King Edward Hotel
qwerty replying to a comment from alan / November 23, 2010 at 04:06 pm
The pillars are still there.
Jacob replying to a comment from Mark / November 23, 2010 at 04:09 pm
Because all the great European cities, and Manhattan, are renowned for their many expressways, right?

Because Los Angeles is the model city the world should aspire to, right?
Stefan replying to a comment from Mark / November 23, 2010 at 04:11 pm
I look at your comment and think the exact opposite. If the Spadina Expressway was completed we would not have a livable city but would have a city is dominated by cars, killing the downtown core economically and culturally.
Matt / November 23, 2010 at 04:17 pm
Vimy Circle looks like something out of Fritz Lang. It would have been fantastic and it almost makes me abandon my aversion to architectural historicism (build it now!)

The Bay and Wellesley Opera House look interesting as well.

But as a corollary to the demolished buildings thread, this is interesting, featuring several projects that would have involved terrible demolitions had they gone ahead. It could've been worse.

I love all these old photos of planners standing around tabletop models.
Matt replying to a comment from Mark / November 23, 2010 at 04:21 pm
I know it's the new conventional planning wisdom to say that you're wrong, but, you're wrong.
JR / November 23, 2010 at 04:23 pm
"lets face it, the city will never see another highway nor extended subway lines. "

Never see another highway? Maybe.
Never see another subway line? That's silly.
emily / November 23, 2010 at 04:39 pm
I just wanted to say that I really, really, really enjoy the posts that have become more frequent in recent months that have to do with the history and development of the city of Toronto. I love my city a bizarre amount, it's a huge part of my identity, I read blogTO every day, and so I really love to see posts which help me to know my city better. Thanks blogTO.
W. K. Lis / November 23, 2010 at 04:54 pm
While I agree with stopping the expressway plans being a positive, the killing of rapid transit in any form is a negative for Toronto.
agentsmith / November 23, 2010 at 05:15 pm
Let's get down to brass tacks here... "Buckminster Fuller" is a pretty awesome name.
Sky Captain replying to a comment from Mark / November 23, 2010 at 06:58 pm
Bullshit, both expressways would have seen the destruction of what is great about Toronto (indeed, one neighborhood was completely destroyed due to the Gardiner's being built, and is now a shithole slum full of ex-mental patients and crappy stores.)We didn't need the Gardiner then, and we don't need it now-thanks, Jane Jacobs and Co. for getting rid of it with your protests.

NIMBY? Not hardly, and not at all in my book. More like <i>informed</i> and <i>intelligent</i> citizens being concerned for how their city is-something that we need in the last election, and what we didn't get from the <i>uninformed</i> and <i>unintelligent</i> people who voted in Rob Ford.
Kevo / November 23, 2010 at 07:10 pm
There was an article in either the last issue of Spacing or the issue before that about Vimy Circle. It wasn't long, but it was an interesting read.

As for the killing of the expressways, the city would've been anything but liveable. The Gardiner is a great example of why it doesn't work - it's been at capacity since the 1970s, yet the Yonge line has only begun to reach capacity within the last few years (while the other lines still have a good amount open). A great example of the reversal of the mentality in the States is Portland, Oregon, where they got money to build a freeway but instead built an LRT that has worked wonders for the area. There are other US cities where freeways are being ripped out.
ian rutledge / November 23, 2010 at 07:45 pm
What about the John Maryon Tower proposed at yonge and college. 685.81 m and 140 floors.
gadfly / November 24, 2010 at 07:20 am
BLAH BLAH BLAH = no life/expressways bad/kill cities/have no reason to go beyond St. Clair. BLAH BLAH BLAH = more subways/bicycle lanes.
Yeah, we know, we've heard it before. The argument is tired. Let's just let the city wither until a future government is forced to bulldoze Danforth or Dufferin to finally make room for the million or so cars that will be added in the next 20 years.
Truap replying to a comment from gadfly / November 24, 2010 at 08:18 am
I had no idea that there was internet under the bridge.
Andrew / November 24, 2010 at 08:27 am
Ever since reading Unbuilt Toronto, I've been obsessive over how amazing Cambrai Avenue and Vimy Circle would have been. If I was any more passionate I might even be inclined to just knock everything down and go ahead with it now... but no... no no...
Matt replying to a comment from gadfly / November 24, 2010 at 09:45 am
Sure Gadfly. If there's one thing I see when I look around Toronto, it's a place that's "withering."

iSkyscraper / November 24, 2010 at 10:01 am
Great series. I cry a tear for Vimy Circle every time I look at how University Ave terminates into nothing at its southern end. Toronto has always been a city of inertia, where little actually gets done. Sometimes this helps -- we managed to delay building expressways until we realized they were wrong for urban areas -- and sometimes it kills us, like the Eglinton line (probably the single greatest lost opportunity on this list in terms of economic development and livability).

Derek, you forgot to mention that one specific element of Metro Centre was indeed built -- the broadcast tower!

Mike W replying to a comment from Sky Captain / November 24, 2010 at 10:06 am
What neighbourhood got destroyed?
Peanut Gallery replying to a comment from Mike W / November 24, 2010 at 10:22 am
Parkdale was rocked by the Gardner Expressway - half of it bulldozed, the other half cut off from the lakeshore. Parkdale went from tony suburb to slum in just a few decades, and it still resists gentrification.
The Future / November 24, 2010 at 11:07 am
Hmmmm...does anyone ever think about the future? Why not start grabbing land up north, Major Mack area, and start building a highway there when the city hasn't moved there just yet.

Also, why the hell did the TTC not think about adding a third rail or two lines on each side of the subway line. I understand space issues but anyone ever hear about rapid service? Wouldn't that be great if you had a rapid train from Finch to Union which only stopped at 3-5 stops?

How about forgetting subways because they are too costly. Go with LRT.

I'm getting frustrated.
Dawn Mills replying to a comment from Sky Captain / November 24, 2010 at 11:34 am
I voted for Rob Ford...haha. You are a twit SkyCaptain. I am weeping for I don't have the intelligence and wisdom that you so apparently possess. It is smug self inportant types like you that while riding your bicycles, I hope to cover in slush with a good drive by splashing this winter.
Stu / November 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm
Say what you will about the deleterious effects some of these projects would have had, but man, did they think big back then. Toronto would have been this space-age Logan's Run super-metropolis, with the Allen/Spadina expressways feeding into those giant Metro Centre and Harbourfront mega-communities. Vast tunnels, flyovers, concrete and hard angles, the whole shebang. I love the audacious scale of these projects.

What isn't mentioned here is that the condos in front of the Harbour Castle hotel were really only the first two towers in a complex that would have had something like 20 of them, going from Yonge to Bathurst, complementing Metro Centre and the Safdie project to form a city-within-a-city.
Jake replying to a comment from Stu / November 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm
I would love to live in a space-aged Logans run metropolis!
jennifer replying to a comment from Dawn Mills / November 24, 2010 at 01:08 pm
Wise, intelligent people don't purposefully splash people with their cars.
r replying to a comment from ian rutledge / November 24, 2010 at 02:18 pm
I cam here to mention this project. It would have been amazing!
The Shakes replying to a comment from gadfly / November 24, 2010 at 02:24 pm
Hopefully in the next 20 years, fewer and fewer of us will need to physically commute to work. Much less spend 2 hours a day, burning 1.10/liter gas doing it. Smart spending would involve building out the infrastructure of the future (i.e. broad band and the ability to work from anywhere) not the infrastructure of the 50's (i.e. highways for suburbanites).
T.O. Island / November 24, 2010 at 05:10 pm
Im surprised nobody here has mentioned Harbour City as one of the projects they would have wished to have been completed. Here we have a beautiful city lying on the shores of a fresh water lake with gorgeous islands just offshore. So what do we do? Build and maintain derelict ports that are an eyesore and do nothing to enhance the natural potential of the area. Think South Beach, Miami or a Venice type of canal system that was accessable by boat and kayakers. The tourist appeal of this city in the summer (which are very hot and humid at times) would rise. Mixed use development with some entertainment, shopping and resort would go a long way.

Toronto has one of the best oppourtunities to revitalize our waterfront. I for one would like to see it done right so that we may have something special on, and just off our shores.
bob / November 24, 2010 at 06:27 pm
I know it's an obvious one, but I'm surprised College Park hasn't come up yet.

Also, the John Maryon tower would've been a pretty big deal.

There's also the Sapphire Tower condo, 45 Bay St (which I really really hope happens someday), (another) BCE Place III/Bay-Wellington tower, the old 1 Bloor East, Metro Centre/the original plans for CN & Union Station (that called for it's construction), Ripley's Aqaurium (who knows if that is still happenning..), Calatrava's original plan for Ryerson's George Vari Centre for Computing and Engineering building, another Calatrava design for a Toronto Island Airport bridge, Spadina Hotel (maybe just a myth?), World Trade Centre Toronto (I don't knowe if this one is real), Weston Hotel, beautiful CN Royel Trust headquarters, University Ave Theatre & Hotel, and I think there's some more that I can't remember.
wetgaerg / November 24, 2010 at 06:27 pm
Also we may have to add all the waterfront development now that Ford is in power.
Sky Captain replying to a comment from Dawn Mills / November 24, 2010 at 08:40 pm
Lady, when Toronto is a shithole in the next four years, it will be because of people like you, and you will get the blame. Nobody else. What will people from other cities say when your lord and master Ford's 'projects' become reality-I promise you, it won't be laudatory.
e replying to a comment from Dawn Mills / November 24, 2010 at 09:36 pm
It's arrogant people like you that just confirm that drivers are the scum of Toronto.
jamesmallon replying to a comment from Jake / November 24, 2010 at 10:18 pm
"I would love to live in a space-aged Logans run metropolis!" As I am forty-one, not so sure I would have wanted to commit suicide eleven years ago.
nn replying to a comment from Dawn Mills / November 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm
Dawn Mills, i think i love you
Larry / November 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm
The real irony about some of these kinds of projects, especially roads, is that whether built or unbuilt, in attempting to create connections within the city, they often end up disconnecting other parts. The price of building the DVP was that St Clair was permanently broken into two pieces; Mt Pleasant severed Roxborough and Summerhill and created several pseudo-dead ends (early instances of traffic calming/woonerf planning), while relegating the splendidly named Park Drive Reservation to parkland; the Yonge line became a barrier between uptown and south Rosedale; and the railway connecting the city to elsewhere famously disconnected Queen and Dufferin for over 120 years.
gadfly / November 25, 2010 at 07:26 am
@ sky captain: No, when Toronto has become a sh#thole in the next 4 years it will be because another 10,000 condo units have come onstream between Cityplace and Liberty Village, with absolutely nowhere for the several thousand additional cars to go or capacity capable of being added to the streetcars, which are already slower than hell.
@ Larry: really, the DVP permanently broke up St. Clair? I don't suppose it actually had anything to do with THE DON VALLEY itself? But, yes, you have highlighted one of the biggest issues with the city and that is the fact that there was zero planning at the turn of the last century, so many streets do wild gyrations or just end. To name a few: Davenport, Dundas in any direction, Kingston Rd., Avenue Rd., King St at River and Ronscesvales... the list is endless. Even Carlton/College never joined and it was only the clout of the Eaton family that got that disaster-in-waiting repaired.
@ The Shakes - so, who do you think is jamming up the DVP and Gardiner on a Saturday, both directions? If you actually went anywhere out of the core, you'd know that both those routes are jammed ALL DAY on the weekends. Hell, Christmas day I get stuck in traffic coming back from my sister's in Pickering. Based on the buildings I manage, cars are not going away and many monied folk are seriously worried about where the hell things will be in another 5,10 years.
@ Peanut Gallery. Sorry, I just couldn't stop laughing when I read your post. The Gardiner was built to get traffic OUT of Parkdale. Citizens were growing increasingly concerned that traffic was choking their streets and they demanded action. Which route do you think I take now because the Jameson on-ramp is closed? King St to Queensway. It's marginally better than Lakeshore Blvd at this juncture. My alternate route to my previous job at Pharmacy/Eglinton when the DVP was useless? Glenn Rd to Bayview, or O'Connor.
These are the options that have been forced upon us because of shi$tty planning 100 years ago.
[Beating a dead horse] Toronto is the only sizable city of the dozens I have travelled to that is WITHOUT a network of 6 or 8 lane arterial roads. Vancouver has them. Calgary has them. SF has them. Paris and London have them.
Until the peanut gallery accepts that FACT, this city is circling the drain. The 'build more highways and they will use them' mantra is total BS: just another lame slogan from the tree huggers or the unemployed to justify letting arteriosclerosis bring this city to its knees.
The Shakes replying to a comment from gadfly / November 25, 2010 at 09:51 am
Great friggin' question, who the hell are all those people jamming up the DVP on the weekends? Have none of you suburbanites heard of internet shopping? Seriously though, i live in the core, and i only drive my car when i need to. I TTC to work and walk to do most of my shopping Frankly i find driving in the core is mostly not bad. It's the mega lane highways that connect the core to the suburbs (DVP, Gardiner and 427) that seriously suck. And from a Torontonian perspective, there's VERY little sympathy for those who've decided to live 30km away from their office and 20km away from non-big box shopping. Perhaps instead of new highways (which ultimately will just fuel farther subdivisions and become just as packed), maybe people who find themselves jammed on the highways, need to reassess why they've chosen to be stuck there?

And i just wanted to correct one of your points, with only a few exceptions, the monied folk actually live in the core (i.e. proximity to where the subway lines run).
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 25, 2010 at 10:47 am
Seriously? You think if the DVP dissapeared can you guess where all that traffic would actually go? The streets you think are "mostly not bad".

From a Torontonian perspective I'm not uprooting my entire [family's] life because <i>I</i> change jobs. Not everyone lives in a tiny apartment by themselves.
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 25, 2010 at 10:56 am

Not everyone works in an office and not everyone who drives lives in the suburbs.
Your "infrastructure of the future" won't change shit.

Also, if you think broadbrand is going to improve and be affordable you obviously haven't been keeping up with any of the recent news involving the CRTC (civilian regulatory board almost exclusively staffed by ex-telcom-execs)
The Shakes replying to a comment from Mike W / November 25, 2010 at 11:43 am
"From a Torontonian perspective I'm not uprooting my entire [family's] life because I change jobs." Newsflash - where YOU live and where YOU work are choices that YOU control. Traffic hasn't magically appeared overnight, so maybe you should factor that consideration into your life choices. If you think spending 20% of your waking hours on a highway is un-fucking-bearable, then maybe you ought to ask yourself why exactly are you doing it?

Also, I'm not talking about tearing down the DVP, i'm saying lets not build new ones. If DVP, Gardiner and 427 never existed to begin with, we wouldn't have the sprawl and traffic problems that exist today.

Yes i know not everyone works in an office and not everyone who drives lives in the suburbs. Just like not everyone who lives downtown lives alone in an apartment. What i'm talking about is percentages, if 20-30% of people could stop commuting, or only had to commute 3 days instead of 5, you seriously don't think that would make a difference? Are you fucking serious?

And regarding broadband prices, i bet you my internet costs are lower than your car costs. And i bet you it would be a lot cheaper to make internet free for the 80% of the population that works in service industries than it is to build a brand new 8 lane highway through Canada's largest city.
Larry replying to a comment from gadfly / November 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm
Well, gadfly, I'm not sure it was the DVP per se that did it. But a hundred years ago, St Clair extended across (down into?) the valley, intersecting with Bayview and Leslie (now Donlands) before reaching Woodbine. That all changed with the reconfiguration of Don Mills Rd (Broadview/O'Connor) but it may have predated DVP construction.

You mentioned Avenue, which is a similar situation: it now ends just north of the 401, but it previously connected with Yonge in that area. The alignment was erased by the 401.

Davenport follows an old trail that isn't related to the later grid.

What's interesting, though, is that a lot of discontinuous streets were built that way to begin with, presumably with the idea of joining them up some time in the future: streets like Markham Rd and Huron St used to have discrete sections north of St Clair, but instead of finally being connected they were simply renamed.
Larry replying to a comment from gadfly / November 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm
Sorry, Markham St, not Rd.
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 25, 2010 at 02:10 pm
Yeah I control those choices. I don't settle for a shitty job close to a good house or a good house close to a shitty job. I don't sell a perfect good house so I can move closer to work.
I don't move my family cause I found a nice job in the suburbs, not to mention if my wife has a job and my kids go to school in completely different districts.

Traffic is the last thing I base my life, family and career on.

My commute is just fine btw.

I don't know any corporate office type employer who would allow all their employees to work from home more than they do now. And it's not because the connection sucks. Are <i>you</i> fucking joking?

That your internet costs less than a car is great, and a useless fact. They're not, or will ever be, mutually exclusive.
Bobby / November 25, 2010 at 02:24 pm
This city has too many whiners. I want a Queen Street or Eglinton Subway so badly that i would do die for it! Ok maybe not die but i would vote for the Mayoral Candidate that proposed them.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Mike W / November 25, 2010 at 02:33 pm
OK, now you're talking out of both sides of your asshole. you're the one saying connections will not be good enough or affordable enough for working from home to work:
<I>"Also, if you think broadbrand is going to improve and be affordable you obviously haven't been keeping up with any of the recent news involving the CRTC (civilian regulatory board almost exclusively staffed by ex-telcom-execs)"<I/>

And now you're saying it isn't:
<I>"And it's not because the connection sucks. Are you fucking joking?"<I?>

Anyhow, if you're happy with your commute and life that's fan-fucking-tastic for you. For the others who rot on highways day in and day out, the answer is not another fucking freeway through our city, the answer is elsewhere. Look at your life choices and alternatives first.
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 25, 2010 at 03:52 pm
lol that statement in no way implies the connection is good, only that the reason is not because it is bad.
Nice comprehension skills.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Mike W / November 25, 2010 at 04:21 pm
You are like the horse and buggy guy that says, "Forget spending money on the Bloor viaduct, a bridge that can carry a subway is too expensive. We should instead spend money on putting planks of wood on all the dirt roads so my buggy tires don't get stuck."

You keep enjoying your commute, OK?
Matt replying to a comment from gadfly / November 25, 2010 at 04:34 pm
Gadfly, you constantly ignorant half-wit, I'm from Calgary,and as much affection as I have for that city, it's not a place we should seek to emulate vis-a-vis traffic. (It takes forever to get anywhere due to the vast sprawl, it's ugly because of all the enormous roadways looping and intersecting through said sprawl, and even with a smaller population than Toronto, and virtually no heavy industry, it's got increasing congestion and smog problems thanks to all the traffic.)

London and Paris and SF all have 6-8 lane arterials, but they are few and far between, and they function as highways. And guess what? Toronto has the 400-series highways, all of which are 6-8 lane (or more) arterials.

You are wrong so thoroughly and consistently it's incredible.
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 25, 2010 at 05:24 pm
I guess you're confusing my comments with someone else because I didn't comment at all about the viability of another expressway. Wrong again.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Mike W / November 25, 2010 at 06:59 pm
Oh that's right, that wasn't your point, because looking back you never actually ever had a point. In fact looking back at all you've wrote, you're actually incapable of arguing a point, instead you choose to focus on arguing the irrelevant minutiae, like word choices and semantics. Quite weakly i might add. Well as i said before you keep enjoying YOUR life which YOU apparently have no control over, and you keep enjoying that fine commute of yours. And let those intelligent enough to grasp actual points, ideas and concepts to continue discussing. Every once in a while maybe someone will use a less than perfect choice of words, so that you can flare up like herpes again and irritate that person, to make yourself feel better.
bob / November 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm
Also Giraffe condo, and I forget what else I was going to say. Damn.
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 26, 2010 at 10:20 am
You're really not reading my comments at all now, are you?

This is how you're going out? A 30 second read of my comments above would show your full of shit.
The Shakes / November 26, 2010 at 11:23 am
Yeah i have read all your posts and frankly it's a chore, cause they're really boring, unintelligent and witless. And their so chock-a-block full of stupidity that pointing out your retardation is becoming a full time job. But let me point out your utter stupidity in a matter simple enough that even you can get:

The main point which you TOTALLY FUCKING COMPLETELY MISSED is, that it is better to spend money over the next 20 years to improve telecommuting vs physically commuting and to look for alternatives:

I say we all make choices about where we live work and shop. You say some patently stupid shit about why YOU'VE CHOSEN to commute, and then act like YOU had no control in those CHOICES.

You say internet will alwys be too expensive and shitty (which you later retracted) for telecommuting to ever progress beyond where it is now, becaus eof some stupid CRTC shit that pulled out of your ass. I say bullshit telecommuting costs less than physically commuting hands down. This clearly went over your head, instead you dismissed it as useless and wanted to argue some patently stupid shit about mutual exclusivity. Guess what shit-tard no one is saying you must give up your car to have internet, or you must give up your internet to have a car. We're talking about in the context of telecommuting vs physically commuting, you know the main point which again YOU TOTALLY COMPLETELY FUCKING MISSED.

Anyhow i'm done owning you, cause the 30 second read of your posts reveals how utterly hopeless it is to make you any less stupid.
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm
Alright you have missed the point then. You think the circumstances I described are limited to me or even a small handful of commuters or residents? Sorry but wrong again.

Telecommuting is not going to be an option, developed infrastructure or not; you can ask any CEO or HR specialist why since I could say the earth is round and you wouldn't believe it.

You need to calm down and untwist your panties princess as your anger is obviously getting to you.

I didn't even make any semantic arguments aside from the fact you misinterpreted my statements about the current state of internet infrastructure (my bad, I don't write in a way that panders to the simple).

I can only imagine you frothing at the mouth typing, and it makes me chuckle to see how much you refuse to accept you're wrong.
JB replying to a comment from gadfly / November 26, 2010 at 01:43 pm
Following up the brilliant observation, that everyone in Toronto got along before Multiculturalism saw non-white people getting into the city (Christie Pits Riots, What? Swatsik Club, who?) we get this gem, from someone who's seeming more troll-like every time I read their postings:

"Toronto is the only sizable city of the dozens I have travelled to that is WITHOUT a network of 6 or 8 lane arterial roads. Vancouver has them. Calgary has them. SF has them. Paris and London have them.

Until the peanut gallery accepts that FACT, this city is circling the drain. The 'build more highways and they will use them' mantra is total BS: just another lame slogan from the tree huggers or the unemployed to justify letting arteriosclerosis bring this city to its knees."

Here's the problem - you can't build a highway network now: the city is too developed. The cost of building one is prohibitively expensive because any route would require acquiring private property and demolishing buildings - which is expensive anywhere, but downtown would be astronomical.

This is another pipe-dream of yours, that will never see the light of day, primarily because it's based in fantasy.

On the other hand, a combination Transit City-Downtown relief line-Go Transit improvements would do the job, and is entirely feasible.

And here's a key difference between highway networks vs. transit networks: transit networks always end up spurring investment (and thus, enlarging the property tax base) whereas highway networks always depress local property values, thus decreasing property tax bases. ie - the Bronx-Queens Expressway in NYC turned one of the more vibrant areas in the city outside Manhattan into one of it's poorest . . . But it did help rich folks in Connecticut get home from the office quicker without having to ride a train . . .

But I digress - enlighten me as to where you'd put this highway network, because you can talk about it all you want, but it's pretty clear you don't have any idea on how to implement it.

Oh, and nice touch on the name-calling, that's always classy and makes you seem incredibly intelligent.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Mike W / November 26, 2010 at 02:48 pm
I'll accept that i'm wrong when you have to prove me to be wrong. Question for you - Have you accepted that you are stupid now that i have proven you to be stupid?
Mike W replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 26, 2010 at 05:25 pm
lol great reply. I think we're done here.
bob / November 27, 2010 at 08:02 pm

That is, suburbaners need a subway expansion to their area, be cause lets face it - a majority of the cars is from them.

But the fact that downtowners still rely on cars so much is unacceptable.

They should'nt have it easy - they are getting a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card by Ford's election.

Our money needs to stop being spent on roads and highways, and instead we need Road Tolls, improved subways, and more bike lanes.

Development needs to happen on more empty lots to discourage downtown parking, except in densely populated areas.

Instead of a Queen St. subway, we need a King or even more southern subway - why don't we put it on the Gardiner, even?

Cars are not benefitting the city in any way, let's make our air clean and lessen the car count.
bob / November 27, 2010 at 08:02 pm
Our roads are TOO NARROW for cars.
gadfly replying to a comment from JB / November 28, 2010 at 10:29 am
You are so far all over the map, I don't know where to start. Tell me, are you 12, or 13? I have press clippings from the Star that show what Regent Park was like when it opened and the poor (white) trash got along just fine. No drugs, no hookers, just working class women with their prams, sitting on their stoop, yakking amongst themselves.
Christy Pitts riots? You are so far off topic, you should join Edwin in the Drive section of the G&M. Nobody said Toronto was a paradise in the '50s, but my mother went to Rexdale High and there were no police or patt downs. We had no head lice or bed bugs when I went to public school in Vancouver and Toronto, so yes - this city is circling the drain.
As usual, the internet is pandering to polarized opposites who are shouting at one and other and clearly not even reading the other's posts.
Toronto is 2.5 MILLION people. NYC and London, to name 2 cities that the usual suspects love to throw up every time their favorite commuter story is to be bandied around, passed that population over 100 years ago. If we have L.A.'s traffic problems NOW (Google the 401: it's the busiest hwy in North America, then ask yourself WHY), WTF will we be doing in 20 years when the 416 hits 3.5 million and the GTA is 6 or 7 million?
The earlier remarks about Calgary are just silly. As a city hits 1 million, it must begin asking itself where it wants to put its first subway. Before that, there is no density and no tax base to even consider it. Vancouver has 7 arterial roads out of the core that are 6 or 8 lanes. Toronto has 3 - 4 if you count Avenue Rd. which is actually a mess north of St. Clair anyway.
People who hate cars will see a boogey man under every chassis. Look at how property values shot up along the 404 as it extended north. Who is buying up all the land in north Brampton and north of Newmarket now, betting on where the 404 and 410 will end up?
I am not anti-transit, but the TTC is a sinkhole: the city loses money on every ticket it sells. The Province makes $600M on gasoline tax, and while the city pays only $300M to maintain our crappy roads, it collects more than that in green P parking and traffic tickets, for those literate enough to read a F/S.
SHAKES: you must be in grade 8, or work for a union if you think we actually make choices where we live. I could recount a thousand stories where people's lives have been uprooted, either by a job closing, career change, marriage ending, marriage beginning. From the time you collect your first student welfare check, to the day the city pays to bury you in a plot, there are 70 years of possibilities. I suppose the guy on here from Calgary PLANNED his move here...?

My major point is, for those who even give a sh$t about this city, is that if we are having these epic troubles now, at a piddly 2.5M, we are absolutely doomed. Most cities passed that point a century ago and were able to bulldoze and plan when labour was cheap and safety laws non-existent. To get any major project done today, whether highway expansion (the Gardiner: inevitable) to the Eglinton subway (also inevitable), costs 5Xs as much as it once did. Opportunities lost.
JB, you're just another sphincter with an opinion. Lots of cities have faced these choices and bulldozed away. Sao Paulo is one of my favorites (I visit there often) and when they were faced with an epic traffic nightmare in the '50s, they bulldozed an entire 15 km stretch of the core (Avenida Paulista), mowing down gorgeous coffee baron mansions in the process, to make room for a massive subway project and 8 lane avenue. Without it, the city would have become, well, Mexico City.
The Shakes replying to a comment from gadfly / November 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm
When you've looked up the definition of "choice" and "plan" and figured out the difference, come back and talk to me.
bob replying to a comment from gadfly / November 28, 2010 at 02:23 pm
There is a population of 7 million that access the highway to get to the city or around it.
gadfly replying to a comment from bob / November 29, 2010 at 07:57 am
Oh, shove off! Why don't we just include the 40M that live within a few hours drive? That's like NYC including the Boston/Camden/Arlington corridor as part of 'their' population base.
Toronto is 2.5 million. Period. Even generously including the Oshawa to Hamilton corridor, you'd optimistically climb to 4.5 million, maybe 5. Including Windsor, Buffalo to Kingston is disingenous, at best.
gadfly replying to a comment from The Shakes / November 29, 2010 at 08:01 am
I don't need a lecture in semantics from you. The average person will have 3 or 4 major career moves in their lives, not including where their educational 'choices' will take them. Then there's the wonderful cocktail of your spouse and where they will end up working throughout their career.
I worked in Scarborough for a decade, and was contentedly planning on buying a condo at Scarborough Town Center, when afer 55 years the company I worked for suddenly closed their doors. To my surprise, I found myself working at Islington/Bloor.
How does one put down roots and plan for that?
Choices? Planning? Not since our grandparents time, my friend.
The Shakes replying to a comment from gadfly / November 29, 2010 at 03:43 pm
It's very simple - there are things one can control and things one can't. Regardless of what happens in life, we all have choices to make (take that job, don't take that job, sell the house, or rent it out, break up, marry, etc). And more often then not those choices involve trading one thing off against another. No one said choices are always easy to make.

My point is this. The vast majority of people who live in 905 own their home and commute to work by car. Living in 905 was a conscious decision that they had full control over. Maybe they couldn't live without an ensuite, maybe they had a hard on for a family room, maybe they think their kid needs a yard or maybe Greenpark's pictures were too hard to resist. Whatever their reasons, this was a CHOICE they made. If they don't like the downside of it (i.e. long commutes), then they should start thinking about what they'd be willing to give up to improve it.
JB replying to a comment from gadfly / November 29, 2010 at 09:26 pm
"Tell me, are you 12, or 13?"

Grow up and stop the name-calling.

"Nobody said Toronto was a paradise in the '50s, but my mother went to Rexdale High and there were no police or patt downs. We had no head lice or bed bugs when I went to public school in Vancouver and Toronto, so yes - this city is circling the drain."

Circling the drain? We consistently rank in the top 20 in most major studies on livability, we're a top 10 financial centre, and we're circling the drain?

If immigration=a deteriorating city, than surely the Canadian cities with the lowest immigration rates, wouldn't also rank the lowest within Canada for livability, right?

We've got issues that need to be dealt with, but this "Toronto is Detroit!" narrative is completely irrational.

Please point to a city of similar size that's doing better than us, given this financial crisis.

And once again - you dodged the question:


"People who hate cars will see a boogey man under every chassis. Look at how property values shot up along the 404 as it extended north. Who is buying up all the land in north Brampton and north of Newmarket now, betting on where the 404 and 410 will end up?"

And yet, tearing up established neighourhoods in dense urban areas and placing highway road networks in middle of them always has a negative effect on property values. You're essentially asking folks living in Toronto to destroy their neighbourhoods so that people in the 905 can get to work quicker. That's why most of us scoff at building highway networks, that and there's no place to put them, and we can't afford them.

"I am not anti-transit, but the TTC is a sinkhole: the city loses money on every ticket it sells."

Most transit system loose money, but it's a city-wide, economy-wide investment to build transit. You're probably completely unfamiliar with the fact that well-planned transit investment is one of the sure-fire ways to stimulate the economy. Build a subway where there is demand for it - and you'll get 3 times the cost of the line in private investment around the subway stations.

Portland found this with their LRT network.

I just don't see any practical alternative to a Transit City/DRL/Go Expansion
bob replying to a comment from gadfly / November 29, 2010 at 09:53 pm
No... actually the GTA is a population of 6.5 million people.

Maybe I'll 'shove off' later.
Waseem / November 29, 2010 at 10:14 pm
What about 1 Bloor East? I feel that should've made the list.
John replying to a comment from JB / December 6, 2010 at 09:38 am
The parlous state of the economy has some relevance to our traffic problems, too. Most of us know about "creative" financing by banks and real estate speculators, from credit/default swaps to "ninja" mortgages, but we tend to forget what tipped the school bus over the cliff. A jump in the price of oil made many of the suburbs nonviable. Since where home buyers had taken out risky mortgages for overpriced houses in those suburbs, that had dire effects. House prices crashed, collateral evaporated, and gravity took care of the rest. A car dependent city in a world of increasing demand for oil and diminishing supply will find itself more and more at risk for economic disaster. An set of expressways may well turn into an investment in chronic instability.
Drew / December 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm
At great risk, I want to say that it's age-guessing, not name calling. I would also, *really* like to know where we could build more highways inside Toronto. I think the 407 should be (free) accessible to those who are merely trying to get 'through' Toronto.

Second, as an obsessee, and resident of St. Clair West, I am definitely looking into an 'original through-Valley routing'

Finally, the original topic of conversation has largely been ignored in the later posts, so as a return-to-form:

The Bay/Wellesley opera house would have been astounding, as would Vimy Circle. Despite the inferred name change to Yonge-Vimy/Federal-Spadina/Allen-University Heights-Jane line.

Much *more* love.
Justin / December 15, 2010 at 11:25 am
Szigeti Design-Build presented the concept for "Palms Casino" located in Toronto's Exhibition Place. This concept is based on the "Unbuilt Toronto Project".

Check out their 3-D walkthrough rendering at:

If only Toronto had this!
Larry replying to a comment from Drew / December 15, 2010 at 11:27 pm
There's a 1908 map by the city engineer showing St Clair extending across the valley through what is now Thorncliffe Park. It could have been wishful thinking to draw it that way but since it goes to the trouble of indicating the different types of road surface (including brick and cedar block), I assume the map reflects the actual road network.
david / January 2, 2011 at 07:54 pm
We have a 12 lane highway between the waterfront and high park (queensway, rail tracks, Gardiner and lakeshore + parking lot on the lake.

Rob Ford believes that trees belong in parks not streets. He would also love to triple car use by the end of his term. Inspiring leader indeed, I wish he would run for PM!!!
Dealh Ray / January 20, 2011 at 06:54 pm
thanks god they didn't tear down old city hall for that Eaton's project.
JLankford / February 7, 2011 at 11:37 am
Indeed, if Old City Hall was gone, it would be an incredible shame. The same goes for what would have happened to Cedarvale ravine if the Spadina Expressway had made it through.
ochocinco / February 24, 2011 at 03:29 pm
It would be cool if Toronto modeled itself after Delta City with Robocops running around on every block.
Sky Captain replying to a comment from ochocinco / February 24, 2011 at 10:38 pm
According to <i>you</i>, yes. To the rest of us-<i><b>,u>NO!</i></b></u>

Delta City was meant to be a neocon nightmare of a completely privatized city, with no mayor or elected council, but a CEO/manager in charge; with no voting, but stock options ('Anybody can buy a piece of OCP stock'-The Old Man) as if that will solve problems or stand in for the democracy that's lost; sterile, soulless towers that serve as housing; crappy shopping malls and chain stores in place of independent businesses, multiplexes in place of movie theaters, and worst of all, no local culture (no theaters or theater companies, just musicals, dance and art-all sponsored by the corporation in charge [OCP or whatever big company that built Delta City/Gamma City/Whatever City.]) Worst of all, corporate education/schools most likely consisting of a system of TV sets similar to the infamous <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_One_News";>Channel One</a> network that's sadly a part of so many American schools. Even worse than that would be the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RoboCop_3";>relocation of all of the city's poor or homeless by force just to house those who the corporation in question deems 'worthy'</a> to live in the new city. Is that what you want? A future where cyborg police patrol the streets crushing all resistance and throwing out the homeless/'unworthy'? Well, I don't, and I don't want Toronto to be another Delta City (even though with all of the condos going up it sure feels like it's becoming Delta City!)
ONEWEIRDWORD / June 28, 2011 at 09:52 am
@gadfly Re: "million or so cars that will be added to the city"... *cough* *cough* *cough*
Blahpop / December 1, 2011 at 12:44 am
Damn! Cambrai Avenue and Vimy Circle would've looked fine! Also, I'm extremely pleased to learn that others share my thoughts on the Delta City that could've been.
Diego / December 4, 2011 at 11:25 am
The Billy Bishop pedestrian tunnel is definitely a go. The project was out for tender and closed about 1 month ago. I think a P3 led by Forum and PCL is set to start in 2012 with a proposed completion date of 2014.
Dee Dee / December 6, 2011 at 08:21 am
Massive expansion of high rise condos downtown [ with no end in sight ] is putting population density through the roof. Time to revive the Queen St. Subway.
gricer1326 replying to a comment from Mark / December 7, 2011 at 06:30 pm
Ever been to Detroit?
LakeshoreWest replying to a comment from Your Mother / October 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm
Then how come we are building a Spadina subway expansion right now and you actually think the subway map will look exactly same for the rest of time? You must be a dumb 10 year old.
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Mr. Motorist / August 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm
Sadly... the BIGGEST mistake the Province ever made was cancelling the Spadina Expressway. It's the reason we are all wasting so many hours of our precious lives each and every day - just because "Jane" didn't like freeways. Hope she suffers in the afterlife as much as we suffer in this life - all because of her. A prominent government official who was in power at the time the Spadina was cancelled recently admitted it was probably the biggest mistake of his political life. Yep - some hippies are happy but in the real world, the rest of us working stiffs suffer needlessly on a daily basis. I hope Rocco gets elected some day and builds the tunnel to complete that much needed expressway.
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Dan replying to a comment from Mr. Motorist / October 10, 2013 at 10:31 am
Actually, the reason you're "wasting so many hours" of your "precious" life every day is because you're dumb enough to live so far from your job that you need to drive hours to get there. Pitiful trolling, try harder.
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What Toronto needs its too move foreword , we are at the maximum capacity on transit and highways, we need to fight a solution to the problems for these city, not only will help people moving around the city, or else we are going to bee phasing major problems. Toronto its a major city now let's act like one.
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Shaun / May 6, 2014 at 12:46 am
comments on Blog T.O make me lose faith in humanity. Do the vast majority of Torontonians not understand the need for people to get around the city quickly and easily? Bitch and moan all you want about the mega-city sucking and welcome to the reality where people from the "suburbs" of Etobicoke, sometimes need to get to places like Scarborough with relative ease, and sometimes, oh wait its a shocker, WITH THEIR CARS! Why does it seem these people think that biking and walking, and the bloor subway suffice? My guess is most people who comment on Blog T.O never really venture too far out from their own neighbourhoods or downtown, which is actually quite sad thinking about how small their world must be.
Shaun / May 6, 2014 at 12:56 am
Stop hating on "bikers" or "motorists" or "suburbanites"
We live in a large, multi cultural, multi neighbourhood city and people need to get the fuck around. Sometimes it's via car. Some people commute. Everyones needs are different. Some can bike and be healthy and don't need to go far. Other's TTC. And others need to drive. It's about being reasonable and understanding that everyone's situation is different and that we should all be able to get around with RELATIVE ease. Some of these projects that were cancelled just make it a shit tonne harder for people to get around. Grid lock is a huge issue that drains a tonne from our economy due to lost time. Lack of subways and the pain in the ass it is to take the bus places is another example of that as well.
Lose your holier than thou bullshit attitudes and realize that city belongs to everyone, and we all have different needs. And whatever those needs are, be it car, bike, train, subway, bus, We should be able to move around the city in a reasonable amount of time.
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jay / July 23, 2015 at 12:25 am
I live in the west end and love driving it to work in the core but even though I love driving I would never support the expansion of highways anywhere in this city. I'd love all my gas tax dollars or tolls going towards massive transit expansion. Highways are a disease and have proven to be extremely harmful for livable cities. I take local roads and never have traffic issues and I stay off highways to avoid being surrounded by ignorant suburbanites like others posting here. Instead of bitching for more highways, maybe you should pressure your elected officials to build a viable cross town transit network. Educated commuters realize that we need better transit options other than going downtown and building roads isn't the answer. Eventually when automated vehicles become the norm, every little road in this city is going to become an incredibly efficient transit network.
Vilpet / December 26, 2015 at 12:13 pm
The key to a successful transportation network is balance. A city, especially, the size of Toronto requires such a system. Public transit has its place, so does an efficient road system consisting both of arterial roads with coordinated traffic lights and expressways. Bike lanes also have their place in the transportation equation; however, cycles and autos should not be mixed for safety and other reasons. Despite paying lip service to an expanded public transit system there has been considerable foot-dragging by all levels of government. Perhaps now, at least some of the plans will be implemented. About time!

Just a note: If a comparison is made on the expressway networks of North American cities, then, Toronto is lagging significantly. It is true, that ground level routes separate neighbourhoods, but so do railways, other man-made objects and natural obstacles. It is the duty of the planning process to create a livable, efficient environment.
barry replying to a comment from Paulo / January 22, 2016 at 08:11 pm
people do not dislike the gardiner....people dislike that it is the only one......if they had built the expressways as planned, gridlock would be much less....
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