Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Tear it down or fix it: What do you think Toronto should do with the Gardiner?

Crews were up looking at the underside of the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto on July 18, 2012, after another chunk of concrete fell onto the roadway below.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Here are some of the responses we've recevied. Scroll to the bottom to add your views.

Drivers who use Gardiner every day

How can you tear down the highway when there are condos located within inches of the structure? Tunneling it would be expensive, just ask Boston, but it may be the only solution. Unless we want to play with a floating bridge concept on Lake Ontario.

Story continues below advertisement

Nicholas Pescod, Toronto

Build a Lake-bridge highway from Browne's Line to Scarborough.

- minimizes current traffic flow disruption while being built

- wave dispersion prevents further Toronto Island erosion

- tolls will be a cash cow much as the Ambassador Bridge is currently

- cargo access to island airport will maximize airport potential

- allows future removal of Gardiner and reconfiguration of Lakeshore with view for downtown commuter relief and maximizing park, bike and pedestrian usage

Story continues below advertisement

Gary Yim, Toronto

Drivers who use Gardiner a few times a week

Bring it down. We need to make sure that we build or establish a system where we can move traffic in and out of the city effectively. For one thing, we have to stop overspending on elaborate construction. Restrict traffic to either in or out of the city on designated lanes.

Rom Martinez, York

Do minimum required repairs to keep it running while they build a toll tunnel through the heart of the city.  Then tear it down and build parks over top of it, like the Big Dig in Boston.

Kamal Gautam, Toronto

Story continues below advertisement

Fix it. Now. We need it. Getting across the bottom of the city is horrendous now; without the Gardiner, it would be even worse. Lakeshore Blvd can't handle all that traffic.

Julia Stratta, Toronto

The Gardiner needs to be rebuilt. It is no longer the impediment to development on the waterfront - just look at the community that is growing there.

Kevin O'Neill, Toronto

Drivers who use Gardiner a few times a month

Tear it down and improve/enlarge the Lakeshore Blvd. Mid-term I would support a tunnel under the lake, running parallel with the shore.

George Caliman, Mississauga

The facts clearly show that it is time to tear it down. It is a scar that tears right through the heart of downtown and it's time we found better use of that space. Be it an expanded Lakeshore Blvd. or simply rerouting traffic via Richmond, Jameson/Spadina or Lakeshore.

Craig Clemens, Toronto

Look at what Seattle is currently doing with their elevated highway and copy that. Congestion tax, or extra gas tax to pay for it.

Jessica Squires, Toronto

The Gardner should be offered on a lease basis to private firms willing to invest in installing toll hardware and operating and maintaining the Gardner as a toll highway.  The city's maintenance allocation for the gardner should be set aside in a decommissioning fund to decommission the Gardner in the event that private sector operation fails.  In the event that the Gardner is decommissioned, property sales can be used to fund enhancements to GO trains for lakeshore commuters.

Roger Loundsbury, Deep River, Ont.

Replace the concrete with prefabricated steel sections. Steel doesn't have nearly the problems in this climate as concrete. Being prefabricated means that the expressway can be replaced as it is being demolished. The Bloor viaduct is steel and still working after many decades.

Eric Dempster, Markham

Tear it down and build a rapid monorail from Waterloo to Toronto with stations in Milton, Mississauga, etc. Leapfrog stations with a method to get between missed stations so you can get from Waterloo to Toronto in 30 minutes. Each town will funnel people to each station reducing the need for cars. When the Monorail gets close to Toronto, it goes underground to Union Station. This frees up land for development that could go towards the cost of the monorail.

Charles Dawson, Waterloo

The cost of building and maintaining a raised highway is far, far greater than one on the ground. Despite the land required and the still significant costs, we should convert the raised 90 km/h Gardiner into a grade-level street at 60 or 70 km/hr. Sure more lanes would be required, but it will be more economical.

Joe Murray, Toronto

We need the Gardiner as a quick and effective access to the downtown. The elevated drive provides a nice view of the city skyline and an occasional view of the lake. Those that believe a tunnel may be an effective alternative should take a close look at the huge cost overruns with Boston's big dig. We can't even put subway lines down in a timely fashion. Let's get this thing repaired and move on to other matters.

Joe Schouten, Toronto

Build a permanent steel raised road above it, and then repair the Gardiner below it. The city badly needs extra road access. At the same time, improve the GO system and look for ways to promote car pooling.

Brian Truscott, Toronto

Drivers who use Gardiner rarely if ever

Gardiner Expressway is essential to healthy transportation network in Toronto. It should be rebuilt/maintained but not expanded. Focus should be placed on creating a multimodal transportation network across the city that uses both car and transit networks. Not just relying on highways or transit.

Jordan Wyatt, Waterloo

Under the federal infrastructure deal, and I'm sure the province would kick in some money, Toronto should get a really low interest loan and over the next 10 years rebuild the whole line. To completely take the Gardner out would create traffic chaos.

Angelo Marano, Calgary

Tear it down, redesign transport in the region to permit access to the waterfront.

Neal Putt, Toronto

It is cheaper in the long run to decommission and demolish the Gardiner, opting for a new roadway: same location or an alternate route.

David Organ, North York

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to