toronto gardiner demolition

That time when Toronto demolished the Gardiner

It has been nearly two decades since Toronto decided to knock down the Eastern Gardiner.

No, this isn't some alternate future in which city council voted to reject the $919 million "hybrid" option. I'm talking about the other Eastern Gardiner, an under-used section of the crosstown arterial that used to run east from the Don River to Leslie St.

Built in the 1960s in an era when highways were being planned throughout the city, what then became known as the Eastern Gardiner was meant to connect to another waterfront highway that would have cut northeast through Scarborough to the 401.

As it happened, the route was never built, and the elevated spur proved to be little more than a money-hungry, crumbling ramp to the Don Valley Parkway.

After years of study and several false starts, city council voted in 44-8 to tear down the 1.5-kilometre structure on June 10, 1999. 

Here's what the demolition of the Gardiner looked like.toronto gardiner demolition

The work begins. 

toronto gardiner demolition

The underside of the Eastern Gardiner looking east toward Carlaw Ave. in August, 2000.

toronto gardiner demolition

Demolition of the off-ramps at Leslie St. in January, 2001.

toronto gardiner demolition

Lake Shore between Booth and Logan in March, 2001.

toronto gardiner demolition

Pylons are pummelled into dust on Lake Shore between Carlaw and Leslie. March, 2001.

toronto gardiner demolition

The last concrete pylon is wrecked at Booth Ave.

toronto gardiner demolition

Nineteen pylons were left standing along the side of Lake Shore as a memorial to the overhead expressway. May, 2001.

Photos by

The Toronto Archives, photographer Peter MacCallum. With files from Chris Bateman.


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