Toronto Terrace
Spadina to Lower Simcoe
Bents 133-170

This district is marked by a cultural and tourist plateau to the north of the Gardiner Expressway, and a low-elevation waterfront neighbourhood to the south. Here, improvements to underutilized spaces along Lake Shore Boulevard, including traffic medians and Under-Gardiner intersections, will grant more people safe, comfortable, and inspiring access points to one of the City’s greatest assets, Lake Ontario.

The Possibility

While iconic Toronto landmarks like the CN tower, the Rogers Center, and Ripley’s Aquarium are located within metres of Lake Ontario, it is incredibly difficult to actually get to the waterfront from any of these major attractions. An improved public realm along, and under, the Gardiner Expressway could mitigate the existing barriers, and re-connect these iconic landmarks. 

Key Insights from the Outreach Process

Stormwater management was highlighted by multiple stakeholders within the Toronto Terrace District. There are plans to integrate stormwater mitigation measures with work already being done on the new Rees Street Park, and the underused median spaces could be a site for blue/green infrastructure. Concerns around upkeep and maintenance to (planned/existing) Under Gardiner improvements were also raised.

Participants said they like: 

  • The pedestrian crossing at Spadina and Lake Shore because there is a rapid movement for pedestrians, bikes, and cars without having to wait compared to Jarvis.

Participants said they dislike: 

  • The walkway in Southern Linear Park is not well maintained and should have better lighting.
  • Disconnected pathway at the south side of Roundhouse Park. 
  • The pedestrian crossing at Spadina and Lake Shore is difficult, feels unsafe, and the timer is too short. They would like to see better markings, signage, and lights installed.

Ideas and suggestions shared by participants: 

  • Widen the sidewalk on the north side of Lake Shore, west of Lower Simcoe, to open up access for wheelchairs and motorized wheelchairs. 
  • Connect the sidewalk on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard West between Rees Street and Spadina Avenue to the walkway in Southern Linear Park.
  • Replant the trees that were at the northwest corner of Lower Simcoe Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West.
  • Add traffic lights at Rees and Bremner for pedestrian safety.

Emerging Opportunities

PLEASE NOTE: The ideas represented in the diagram presented are subject to further study

Bioswale Medians

There are large transportation medians present throughout the Under Gardiner. Between Spadina and Rees Street there is an opportunity to explore regenerative, biodiverse, and performative blue-green infrastructure for non-public use. Through strategic planting, the City may be able to harness the runoff water from the highway deck and use natural processes to take pressure off our sewer system. 

The design of these areas must allow access to the Gardiner Expressway deck and bents for maintenance and upkeep.

Enhanced South Trail

The Southern Trail extends from Spadina to Yonge Street, and is a critical link for pedestrians and cyclists within the overall Gardiner corridor. 

The Wall of Toronto

The major destinations and attractions located at Roundhouse Park are separated from the waterfront by a significant grade differential. Despite investments in the public realm, such as the Highline Parkette at the northeast corner of Rees Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, the sidewalks on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard are very narrow.  

An enhanced trail and potential stair connection, between the elevations of Roundhouse Park and Lake Shore Boulevard, will support pedestrian connectivity. The retaining wall on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard is a prime opportunity for murals or artistic programming.