Turning the Gardiner into a park: an idea becomes safe for Toronto when New York does it first

Turning the Gardiner into a park: an idea becomes safe for Toronto when New York does it first

(Image: Quadrangle Architects) 

The Gardiner Expressway is many things: choked at rush hour, the Great Wall on the waterfront and, in many respects, ugly as sin. Last year, Toronto-based Quadrangle Architects proposed doing something about the last part: put a roof on the Gardiner, and then put a park on the roof. The idea, called the Green Ribbon by supporters, has a lot going for it. Boosters say it would cost less than tearing down the expressway, covering the road would keep the city from having to clear it of snow, and the city would have a new, seven-kilometre-long park running from Dufferin to the DVP. All that probably wouldn’t be enough to get an idea like this taken seriously, but supporters have an ace up their sleeve.

Reports the Star:

There’s a precedent of sorts. In New York, the High Line, an abandoned elevated rail line built in the 1930s to separate dangerous train traffic from pedestrians, has been turned into an urban garden. The initial section, running north about 10 blocks from the Meatpacking District on the west side, drew two million visitors in its first 10 months.

New York did it? What are we waiting for? Anything that keeps Toronto in the business of being a cheap alternative locale for movies set in the Big Apple is fine by us (plus, it would give the city a handy spot to attach those toll cameras). Judging by how long it took T.O. to get its version of Times Square, look for the Green Ribbon to be up and running by 2065.

Transforming the Gardiner into a garden [Toronto Star]
Quadrangle Architects: The Green Ribbon [PDF]