A patch of dirt and gravel that has spent over half a century in the shadow of the Gardiner Expressway's York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp is now seeing its first sunlight since the mid-1960s. The spiral ramp has been permanently closed as of April 17th, and in the few short weeks since the last car exited from the expressway here, a large section of the ramp's western trunk has been taken down.

Facing west towards the former start of the ramp, image by Greg Lipinski

Construction activity began months before the ramp's closure, with the start of forming on a new series of concrete supports, or 'bents,' that will provide structural support for the replacement ramp. Within a day of the April 17th closure, the first photos of demolition appeared on our Forum thread, showing the start of removal of a section of the elevated ramp. In the weeks since, much of the old ramp has been reduced to rubble.

Construction of new supports for the replacement ramp, image by Greg Lipinski

A closure of Lower Simcoe Street from Harbour Street to Queens Quay Boulevard—between the evening of May 5th to the morning of May 8th—allowed the speed of work to increase considerably. Recent views from surrounding high-rises reveal that the section of ramp above Simcoe has been taken down, and work has since moved on to the section east of Simcoe.

Overview of the demolished section of road above Simcoe Street, image by Forum contributor Razz

Another anticipated closure—this time of the York and Harbour intersection—between May 19th and May 22nd will advance the demolition project again, creating a safe environment for the removal of the ramp section above. The view below faces east towards the fork in the ramp, which branches off into two termini; one at Bay and Harbour, and the spiral ramp at York Street.

The ramp's current state above the York and Harbour intersection, image by Greg Lipinski

A wider view from the nearby Sun Life Financial Tower shows that demolition now stretches east of the Harbourfront parking garage. To minimize the impact of dust and noise on the abutting parking garage, tarpaulins cover the lower levels of the garage's north facade. While measures have been taken to mitigate impacts on the parking structure, residents in other neighbouring buildings have been subjected to after-hours noise and vibrations, the focus of recent media reports on the project.

Current state of the ramp's demolition, image by Forum contributor Razz

Though residents may be frustrated by the noise associated with the project's aggressive timeline, the creation of an expanded park on the current site of the spiral ramp will certainly be appreciated once work wraps up in 2018. At a cost of $30 million, the project is being funded in part by Section 37 funds secured from the nearby Sun Life Financial and Harbour Plaza Residences complex.

Existing (top) and future conditions (bottom, by DTAH), southeast from York & Lake Shore, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

We will keep you updated as the teardown process continues, and a new urban environment takes shape. In the meantime, you can learn more by checking out our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or add your voice to the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.

Related Companies:  City of Toronto, DTAH