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LOOK: What the Gardiner Could Look Like in the Future
City of Toronto presents design ideas, opens the floor with a public forum

One of the design renderings depicts a park landscape overlooking the Gardiner (Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg + Bjarke Ingels Group). Photo via Waterfront Toronto.

Six architectural firms have presented drawings to stimulate conversation regarding future plans for the crumbling Gardiner Expressway, a project that’s been much anticipated by GTA commuters and residents. The city is ready to hear our suggestions to transform Waterfront Toronto at a public meeting tonight at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Deputy city manager John Livey looks to the blueprints as a “mind-expanding look at some of the possibilities” serving to spark ideas within the community. Ideas pitched so far range in price and magnitude: one firm suggests demolishing the portion of the Gardiner east of Jarvis and replacing it with a street-level highway, while another envisions an 8-lane boulevard in the highway’s place. Diller Scofido + Renfro brings experience applying aesthetically pleasing design to urban spaces after helping to develop NYC’s High Line, suggesting that Lake Shore Boulevard be moved to the other side, taking advantage of the space below and lining it with trees.

Waterfront Toronto and city staff hope to have selected and presented a primary idea by next spring. On this timeline the construction will overlap with the next municipal election. 

The enormous project will be key to Toronto’s advancements towards efficient transportation and infrastructure development. While the city is optimistic that the sky is the limit, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong [Chairman of the public works and infrastructure committee] urges us to move forward with an option that’s both creative and realistic. We’re going to make a decision that most certainly will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Likely billions of dollars,” he said. “Some of the diagrams appear quite fanciful. Once again, whatever we build we have to pay for, and at some point in time we have to get real.”

Check out the proposed blueprints below:

1. Build a new expressway up against the rail corridor (West 8 + DTAH + Cecil Beaumond AGU):

2. Improve the existing structure by adding cultural pavilions below the expressway (Alliance and diller Scofidio + Retro):

3. Construct an 8-lane Lake Shore Boulevard (Office of Metropolitan Architecture): 


4. Incorporate a “seasonally changing” path running through the urban streets (James Corner Field Operation):

5. At-grade, build a 7-lane Lake Shore Boulevard and streetcar right-of-way with express tunnel below (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

Photos courtesy of Waterfront Toronto.

Correction: The article previously stated that the council had approved a 10 year time period and $500-million budget for the project, but that budget and timeline is for the rehabilitation of the existing structure.

[via National Post]


Farrah Khaled is an intern at the Toronto Standard. Follow her on twitter at @farkhaly.

For more, follow us on Twitter at @torontostandard and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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