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January 2023

The Gardiner is a defining feature of Toronto’s landscape. While the City works to rehabilitate the highway and bring new life to surrounding communities, we have an opportunity to reimagine how this infrastructure can connect, perform, and inspire

The elevated Gardiner Expressway stretches 6.5km through the heart of Toronto. The Under Gardiner PRP focuses on a primary study area between Dufferin Street to Yonge Street. Within this area the five districts emerge, each bounded by distinct neighbourhoods , civic assets, existing public realm networks, trails, landmarks, and unique relationships to the Gardiner. A secondary study area covers the portion from Yonge Street to the Don Valley Parkway.

Take a look at the map on this to help orient yourself! 

In addition to unifying recommendations for the whole corridor, the Plan will take a focused look at five districts.

Check out the slideshow below and click on each image to review the emerging opportunities.

  • Exhibition Place West Anchor (Dufferin to Strachan)

Two Complimentary Approaches

The preliminary recommendations and emerging opportunities we have identified are the product of two distinct, but complementary approaches to the research and analysis of this study.

The first approach starts with corridor systems thinking and aims to address the Under Gardiner corridor as infrastructure for safety and connectivity with a cohesive identity and predictable features.

At the same time, a complimentary approach was required to speak to the distinct conditions of the districts and neighbourhoods that the Under Gardiner passes through. This district-specific approach allowed for a more bespoke reflection of local priorities, ongoing projects, and driving factors identified through consultation and engagement.

Corridor-wide Systems

United through a suite of corridor-wide “systems” or “design lenses”, and informed by what we heard during the first consultation phase, the public realm recommendations are grounded in a landscape-first approach and aim for a new balance between commuters and residents; wind and rain; plants and trees; animals, birds and insects; concrete and nature.

Please review the slideshow below for more information on our systems!

  • Regrounding Landscape – Immersive Water Landscapes:
    In the decades since the highway’s construction, not only has the physical context changed dramatically, shifting from an industrial waterfront and rail yards to vibrant, mixed-use high-density communities, our understanding of human impacts on the natural environment has advanced as well. The Under Gardiner PRP recommends reframing the highway’s relationship with local hydrology, including the way landscape retains, filters, and distributes water as part of a renewed blue-green infrastructure system.