Lake Shore East Bridge Public Realm

This is what the waterfront in Toronto could look like once the Gardiner is partly removed

The fate of Toronto's Gardiner Expressway has been up in the air for years, with some residents calling for parts of it to be torn down, some wanting it buried, some suggesting a park on top of it, and still others hoping the beloved eyesore is restored and maintained.

With the city devoting $2.205 billion towards the Gardiner over 10 years, as per the 2020 budget and construction work on the 62-year-old highway expected to extend into 2027, there seem to be more arguments for one of the former options than the latter.

And though long-term plans for the Gardiner's future have still yet to be determined, at least part of the roadway may be coming down as part of Waterfront Toronto's Port Lands Flood Protection project.

In a new document released on Oct. 23, details of the Lake Shore East Bridge & Public Realm project were shared, which would see the removal of the Gardiner ramps and piers between Cherry Street and Logan Avenue.

Parts of the Gardiner East would be realigned to make way for the widening of the Lake Shore Bridge, which is proposed to receive new pedestrian and bike lanes, as well as a lot more greenery as part of a reconfigured "urban civic boulevard" along Lake Shore Blvd. E.

The result would be much more attractive, and would improve connectivity east-west into and out of the downtown core.

It would also have the added benefit of helping with flood protection for the Don River, portions of which would be widenened and deepened as part of a Don Mouth Naturalization initiative.

gardiner east

The realignment plan for the Gardiner and Lake Shore Blvd. E. Image via Waterfront Toronto.

The idea is just one of the options for the area under review right now, with the design plan and assessment still in the works.

It certainly isn't the only major change that's been put on the table for the crumbling structure, the plans for which have been debated among officials for some time now, and if parts of it are demolished, it wouldn't be the first time.

Lead photo by

Waterfront Toronto


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