Over seven years after Toronto City Council's July 2008 authorization of an environmental assessment to study the replacement of the York/Bay/Yonge off-ramps from the Gardiner Expressway, the City can now move forward with the expropriation, if required, of two narrow strips of land it needs for the replacement ramp at Lower Simcoe Street.

Plans for new ramp, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The two pieces of property include approximately 600 square metres on the north side of the Riviera condos at 228-230 Queens Quay West, and another strip of approximately 177 square metres on the north side of rental apartment towers at 250-270 Queens Quay West. Those pieces of property plus a sliver of public land between the two developments make up all the new right of way required to build the replacement ramp.

Properties subject to expropriation, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

No structures exist on these strips on land; they both have some greenery on them now. At 228-230 Queens Quay, the space is a common element under ownership of the condominium corporation, where any sale must be approved in writing by a minimum 80% of unit owners and 80% of those persons with a registered claim against the property.

Treed space (left) between 228-230 Queens Quay West and the Gardiner, image retrieved from Google Street View

Due to the large number of owners, it has become apparent to City staff that securing the sale approvals in a timely fashion is unlikely, therefore the ability to expropriate was deemed necessary to adhere to the planned late-2016 start of construction. The project is being funded in part through a $10,000,000 Section 37 contribution secured in July 2014 and tied to the development known as the Sun Life Financial Tower and Harbour Plaza Residences.

Diagram showing lands north of 228-230 Queens Quay West, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Diagram showing lands north of 250-270 Queens Quay West, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The removal of the spiral ramp to York and Bay Streets and the ramp to Yonge Street is expected to significantly improve the pedestrian environment in Toronto's burgeoning South Core area, as well as improving traffic conditions. Once the current ramp is removed, the partially obstructed tract of green space below and around the ramp will be freed up, allowing the creation of a much more inviting park space for the neighbourhood's rapidly growing population.

York-Bay-Yonge offramp, image by ashtontekno

We will be sure to return with updates as more information about the planned replacement becomes available. In the meantime, you can leave a comment using the space provided at the bottom of this page.

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