Roughly six months since the Gardiner Expressway's York-Bay-Yonge ramp's shorter Simcoe Street replacement opened in Downtown Toronto, two associated public realm projects continue to unfold. As news broke recently about a design competition for a park where the former spiral off-ramp was, construction of an improved public realm has been progressing on a stretch of Harbour Street that long stood in the shadow of the elevated Yonge exit ramp.

Harbour Street, Toronto, Simcoe Ramp, Gardiner ExpresswayWest-facing rendering of Harbour Street, image via City of Toronto

The stretch of Harbour between Lower Simcoe Street and Bay Street is getting improved sidewalks, a multi-use trail (mostly for cyclists), and extensive landscaping. The greenery includes 39 new trees, 1,200 shrubs, and 5,000 gallons of groundcover. The re-worked street will also benefit from new lighting, street furniture including bike racks, and granite planters, all of which are either currently being installed or will be installed shortly.

Harbour Street, Toronto, Simcoe Ramp, Gardiner ExpresswayFacing west over Harbour Street, image by Forum contributor wmedia

The multi-use trail on the south side of Harbour Street is now largely installed, with the final asphalt top coat in place for sections, now just awaiting finishing road paint for the trail's lanes and markings. New curbs and granite planters have been put in to divide sections of the trail from traffic on Harbour Street. These planters have been installed along continuous trench and Silva Cell beds that prevent soil compaction and promote root growth in constrained urban settings, and will soon help support a row of trees between the road and trail.

Harbour Street, Toronto, Simcoe Ramp, Gardiner ExpresswayTrail taking shape on the south side of Harbour Street, image by Forum contributor drum118

On the north side of Harbour Street, crews have begun to tear up old asphalt between York Street and Bay Street to make way for the installation of a new curb, sidewalks, and a brick gutter. Renderings also show tree plantings on the north side of Harbour Street, which would involve a similar anti-soil compaction system to promote vigorous tree growth.

Harbour Street, Toronto, Simcoe Ramp, Gardiner ExpresswayWork on the north side of Harbour Street, image by forum contributor Razz

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment using the field provided at the bottom of this page.