toronto construction

Toronto neighbourhood furious that street could be dug up for second time in less than 5 years

Toronto residents living along one of the city's most popular thoroughfares are facing the prospect of their neighbourhood being torn up for the second time in just a few years.

Forthcoming gas pipeline work along Queen's Quay means that the downtown portion of the lakefront street could turn into a construction zone for at least a year.

Enbridge Gas is proposing to replace and potentially relocate a 66-year-old pipeline under the street, with work stretching for 4.5 km between Cherry Beach and Bathurst. The Martin Goodman Trail bike path would be completely ripped up for the project.

The issue is one that affects not only local residents and businesses in the neighbourhood — which is home to the Harbourfront Centre and a number of bars, restaurants and highrise condos — but also the city at large due to the fact that the Harbourfront area is usually a hub of activity.

With spring and summer just around the corner, a massive construction project like the one planned would completely debilitate what is a busy destination for tourists and locals alike. 

The numerous events and festivals held in the neighbourhood would be impacted, as would the bustling foot traffic Queen's Quay and the Harbourfront are known for.

The public is particularly angry given that the street was already levelled for a $100 million revitalization initiative in 2015 that left the area under construction for months on end.

Many are wondering why the pipeline work couldn't have been completed back then while the quay was already dug up. City representatives told City News that stakeholders weren't aware of the need to replace the natural gas line at the time.

Some unrelated maintenance was apparently completed on the pipe in 2016 following the street's revamp, but the need to remediate it completely wasn't recognized until just two years ago, according to the news outlet.

Spadina-Fort York MP Adam Vaughan is among those calling for the proposal to be rejected to prevent further disruption to the neighbourhood.

The Waterfront BIA and York Quay Neighbourhood Association have also spoken out against the pending project.

If approved, construction would commence in spring 2021 and wouldn't be over until spring 2022 at the earliest. Enbridge has been holding public consultations on the matter.

Queen's Quay is just one of a few sites that are being considered as routes for the pipeline replacement — the others being Lake Shore Boulevard and Harbour Street — so there is still a chance that the work will not go forward.

Lead photo by

George Hornaday


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