I always figured that people like Gardiner would be disappointed if they saw 21st century Toronto. He lived through a period of massive building projects and then died in 1983, just before Toronto went through two decades of stagnation where basically nothing got built. He probably figured that by the 21st century Toronto would have elevated expressways criss-crossing the entire city, subway lines stretching in every direction, and that First Canadian Place would be considered an average-sized building.What would Fred Gardiner think if he could take a drive down his highway today. Would probably blow their minds.
The government wasn't that much different from today. There weren't environmental assessments, but there were planners, committees, budgets and the media and electorate to answer to. Many people were saying that money should go into subways and transit. Expressways were not without controversy. They were unproven infrastructure that people had to champion. The province itself built the 400 series highways on the edges of cities and not through the downtown cores. It took people like Fred Gardiner and Robert Moses to get them built through the downtown cores of cities, for better or for worse. What they accomplished in their lives was remarkable.It was a lot easier to get things done in those days especially when you didn't have to cater to public concerns in any way.