aerial view looking east over the Gardiner

Gardiner East Environmental Assessment

Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto are working to determine the future of the easternmost section of the Gardiner Expressway. This is the section of the elevated highway that runs from Jarvis Street to east of the Don Valley Parkway and that runs next to or through the new waterfront communities that are under construction or being planned.


We have undertaken a multi-year comprehensive environmental assessment (EA) and integrated urban design study to examine the feasibility, impacts and costs of potential options for the elevated roadway including its removal, replacement, enhancement, or maintaining the status quo. The EA and integrated urban design study process, which also includes the adjacent Lake Shore Boulevard, will guide what action is taken on the Gardiner.

Quick Facts


Project Consultants: Dillon Consulting Limited, Perkins+ Will, Morrison Hershfield

Size of the Gardiner Studied:

2.4 km


West of Jarvis Street to Logan Avenue

Key Dates:

July 15, 2008 Toronto City Council approves the undertaking of individual environmental assessment on the eastern Gardiner
August 6, 2009 Toronto City Council approves the Gardiner EA Terms of Reference

More Information:

For details on the Lake Shore Boulevard East Project - including the Construction Schedule, Road Closures and Detours - please visit the project website -

While the EA includes a comprehensive study of both regional and local traffic impacts, the overall approach of the study is to assess the future of the Gardiner in the overall context of creating a better city. The urban design study is a central guiding component of the environmental assessment and is to ensure that the review process places an emphasis on quality of place.


The environmental assessment and integrated urban design study is a highly consultative process. Our goal is to engage the widest possible audience and insure that all views and concerns are included. Public suggestions, comments and concerns were solicited throughout the review process. Public meetings were held and a dedicated consultation website was built to enable online public involvement and input.


gardiner EA terms of reference


The terms of reference for the EA and integrated urban design study defines the scope of the review process.

Read more about the terms of reference development process.


notice of submission of gardiner east environmental assessment


The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto have completed the environmental assessment for the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard East Reconfiguration Environmental Assessment and Integrated Urban Design Study (Gardiner EA). As required under section 6.2(1) of the Environmental Assessment Act (Act) and according to the Terms of Reference approved by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change on November 30, 2009, the Gardiner EA has been submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) for review and approval.

The proposed Gardiner EA project involves changes to the existing Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard from approximately Lower Jarvis Street to just east of the Don Valley Parkway at Logan Avenue. The City of Toronto Council endorsed the ‘Hybrid Alternative Design Three’ option as the preferred alternative design for the project. It includes the removal of the existing Gardiner-DVP connection and rebuilding of the connection along an alignment closer to the rail corridor. The preferred alternative design also requires the lengthening of the Metrolinx Don River/DVP rail bridge, removal of the Logan Street ramps and the addition of two ramps in Keating Channel Precinct.

As required under the Act, the Gardiner EA was available for public review and comment from January 27, 2017 to March 17, 2017. 


Second Comment Period on Gardiner East EA 


The second public comment period on the Gardiner East EA closed on Friday, July 28, 2017. Submissions were to be made directly to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, who was managing the public review of the EA.


updated gardiner east EA files

In response to the feedback received from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, stakeholders and agencies on the release of the Gardiner East EA Report, the EA document package has been updated.  

Please visit our Document Library's 'Environmental Assessment Materials' section to view the updated EA documents. These updated documents have been released for stakeholder information.


Lake Shore Boulevard East Public Realm Vision, Phasing and Implementation Plan

City Council directed completion of a public realm improvement plan for the Lake Shore Boulevard East corridor in 2015 and 2016 as part of deliberations on the future of the Gardiner Expressway. Council's objectives are to rebalance the modes of travel through the corridor, and to improve connectivity between the city and Lake Ontario. In approving the Gardiner East Environmental Assessment (Gardiner EA) in 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks also underscored the need for a Public Realm Plan. This Public Realm Plan [PDF] and its posting on City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto websites satisfy Conditions #3 and #8 of the Ministry's November 2017 Notice of Approval to Proceed with the undertaking of the Gardiner East Environmental Assessment. 


Please visit the project website for details on the Lake Shore Boulevard East Project - including the Construction Schedule, Road Closures and Detours [LINK]


the study process


The EA and integrated urban design study process started in early 2009 with the development of the study’s Terms of Reference (ToR). The Terms of Reference (ToR) are the blue prints for the examination process and define critical elements of the study including its goals, alternatives for consideration, evaluation process and consultation plan.


The Terms of Reference (ToR) were informed by valuable input provided by stakeholders and members of the public through various consultation channels. Consultation included two rounds of four public meetings held in locations across the City plus two workshops with a broad range of stakeholder groups. The public was also able to participate through a dedicated consultation website.  


Toronto City Council approved the Terms of Reference (ToR) on May 6th 2009, and they were submitted to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for approval in September 2009. After a 12-week review period, which included a period for public comments, the Minister of the Environment approved the study Terms of Reference (ToR) on November 30th 2009.


The actual EA and integrated urban design study itself officially launched in April 2010. 


history of the gardiner expressway


The Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway was constructed at a time when Toronto’s downtown waterfront was still considered a heavy industrial area, providing the city with goods and materials but not a civic waterfront destination. In 1955, after more than a decade of planning, construction began on the at-grade segments west of the city. In 1958, construction began on the elevated segments from Dufferin Street through the central downtown area, reaching York Street by 1962, the Don Valley Parkway by 1964, and finally Leslie Street by 1966.


Almost from the start of construction, critics began calling for the highway’s elimination. Its controversial route required the taking of substantial amounts of park land, demolition of the popular Sunnyside Amusement Park, destruction of the Jameson Avenue portion of the Parkdale residential neighbourhood, and the elimination of many local access routes to the waterfront from upland areas. It also necessitated the complete reconfiguration of Lake Shore Boulevard through the central downtown to allow the Gardiner Expressway to be built above it. In the process, Lake Shore Boulevard went from a grand, tree-lined avenue to little more than a highway collector route, cast in constant shadow from the overhead structure and interrupted by the changing grid of structural concrete columns.


Efforts to remove portions of the elevated Gardiner Expressway have surfaced since its completion in 1966. In 2001, the eastern-most segment of the Gardiner Expressway from the Don Valley Parkway to Leslie Street was demolished at the urging of urban planners and local constituents. The removal of the segment between Bouchette Street to Leslie Street, was completed in 2003.


gardiner expressway facts


  • The Gardiner Expressway was named after the first chair of the former Metro Council, Frederick G. Gardiner who was a strong advocate for the project.
  • Construction on the Gardiner began in 1956. It was built in segments and completed in 1965 at a cost of approximately $103 million.
  • Designed to provide the city with goods and materials, it was built when Toronto’s downtown waterfront was largely a heavy industrial area.
  • The expressway route necessitated the complete reconfiguration of Lake Shore Boulevard through the central downtown to allow the elevated eight lanes to be built above it.
  • The Gardiner runs for about 20 kilometres from the foot of Highway 427 and the Queen Elizabeth Way in the west to the Don Valley Parkway in the east.
  • The east end of the Gardiner, from Jarvis Street to the Don Valley Parkway, is the least congested stretch of the expressway.
  • The Gardiner carries approximately 200,000 vehicles per day west of the downtown core, and approximately 120,000 vehicles per day east of Jarvis Street.
  • It costs the City $6-10 million annually for repairs to the Gardiner.