Gardiner Expressway Ramp Reconstruction & Improvements


In late July 2016, the City of Toronto started the construction of a new off-ramp from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway to Lower Simcoe Street. In 2017 his project will involve removing the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp and making  improvements to Harbour Street. Work started the week of July 25, 2016 and will continue until January 2018. The York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp will be closed for demolition starting Monday, April 17, 2017.

The new ramp to Lower Simcoe Street and improvements to Harbour Street will:

  • Continue to accommodate high volumes of traffic flow between the Gardiner Expressway, the downtown core and the waterfront.
  • Create an enhanced public realm for the increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists living and working in the area.
  • Improve public safety by including well-signalized, well-lite intersections and better signage for all users
  • Create new park space (within York Street ramp site) to help revitalize waterfront lands

Improvements will help support all modes of travel.

An Environmental Assessment study was completed in 2013 recommending the reconfiguration of the eastbound off-ramp from the F.G. Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay and Yonge Streets.The City is now moving forward with the reconfiguration.

The study recommended the removal of the existing long elevated ramp that leads from the F.G. Gardiner Expressway to Bay Street and removing the ramp at York Street.  They will be replaced with a shorter, wider ramp to Harbour Street at Lower Simcoe Street. A new park will be created at York Street following the looped ramp removal that will further enhance the waterfront area.

Harbour Street will be widened from three to four lanes from Lower Simcoe Street to Bay Street. Streetscape improvements will be made along Harbour Street and will include the addition of sidewalks decorative pavers and planters.

The study was completed in a manner that best addressed the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan, the first principle of which is to remove barriers and reconnect the City with Lake Ontario.  Other policies of the Plan explain that Waterfront streets are to be remade as “places” with high quality amenities for pedestrians and cyclists, and that parks are to be designated to enrich waterfront communities.

Map of Construction Area with Improvements

Construction Phasing

Phase 1: Week of July 25, 2016 to December 2016

  • Foundation and substructure of new ramp at Lower Simcoe started
  • Underground Infrastructure relocated(fiber optic cables, sewers, etc…)
  • No closures required; only temporary lane closures during off-peak hours on eastbound Lake Shore Blvd.


See construction images of Phase 1 below 

Phase 2: April 2017 to January 2018

January – April

  • Complete foundation and substructure for new ramp.
  • Install new catch basins and storm water leads on Harbour Street.

April – July

  • Demolish existing York-Bay-Yonge ramps
  • Relocate hydro vault and install new hydro transformer

July – January 2018

  • Construct new Lower Simcoe ramp
  • Install automated de-icing system on new ramp
  • Construct new traffic lane, sewer and sidewalks on Harbour Street


  • Parkland at York Street to be restored

Information coming soon.

Information coming soon.

City of Toronto

Phone: (416) 338-7797


Frequently asked questions

Why is this work necessary?

An EA was undertaken in 2009 to determine the feasibility of reconfiguring the eastbound off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay, and Yonge Streets and assess potential implications and benefits of closing the on-ramp from Bay Street to eastbound Gardiner Expressway. The purpose of the study was to support and enhance pedestrian and park spaces in the area while maintaining acceptable traffic capacity and operations.

The Environmental Assessment Study (2013) recommended:

•Removing the long elevated ramp to Bay Street and loop ramp at York Street
•Installing a new shorter exit ramp to Harbour Street ending at Lower Simcoe Street
•Widening Harbour Street from 3 to 4 lanes from Lower Simcoe to Bay Street
•Adding streetscaping elements (pavers, trees) along Harbour Street
•Replacing the York ramp loop with redesigned park space

The construction project is part of the Council-approved 2016 Capital Works Program.

Why does the old ramp need to be torn down first?

As much work as possible is being carried out on the new ramp while the existing York-Bay-Yonge exit ramp remains in operation.  For example, the foundations of the new ramp were built in 2016 and sewer work on Harbour Street is commencing in February 2017. Refer to Phase 1 construction pictures here.

The deck of the new ramp can only be built once the existing ramp has been removed.  The new ramp will feed onto a widened Harbour Street, and Harbour Street can only be widened once the existing ramp has been removed.

So, we have to remove the existing ramp in order to make space for the new ramp and a wider Harbour Street.  This will require closing the existing York-Bay-Yonge ramp in mid-April 2017 for the new ramp and street widening to be complete by January 2018.

Which contractor has been awarded this work?

Grascan Construction Ltd. has been awarded the project.

When will construction begin and how long will it take?

Construction will be completed in two (2) phases:

Phase 1 (Rees Street to Lower Simcoe) – early August 2016 to December 2016

Phase 2 – Mid April 2017 to January 2018

What road closures/lane restrictions can be expected?

York/Bay/Yonge Ramp will be CLOSED
starting Monday, April 17 to January 2018

Efforts have been made to manage traffic in the area for the safety of works, road users and residents.

•Motorists will still have full access to downtown by exiting the EB Gardiner Expressway at:

–  Jameson Avenue

–  Spadina Avenue

–  Jarvis Street

•EB off ramp at Spadina will be adjusted to allow for movement onto EB Lake Shore Boulevard (NB/Left turn at Spadina will remain)
•Traffic signal times will be adjusted to reduce congestion
•Full access to all westbound Gardiner ramps from Lake Shore Blvd West will be maintained

During Phase 1, no long-term closures of the Gardiner Expressway or Lake Shore Boulevard are expected. Temporary lane closures during off-peak hours of the eastbound curb lane of Lake Shore Blvd may be required.

The York/Bay/Yonge off-ramp will close mid-April 2017. Lane reductions on Harbour Street will occur throughout Phase 2 work.

Advanced notice about major road closures or restrictions will be communicated to stakeholders, the surrounding community and other road user groups.

During Demolition: April to July

•EB on-ramp at Rees Street will be:

–   closed during off-peak hours (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

–   open during peak hours to allow demolition during the day   and reduce overnight work

•Intersections along Harbour Street at Lower Simcoe, York & Bay Streets will be closed for select weekends to safely remove the overhead spans of the York/Bay/Yonge ramps

(dates to be confirmed)

Throughout Construction: April to January

•EB Lake Shore Boulevard/Harbour Street will be reduced to two lanes from Lower Simcoe Street to Bay Street
•Motorists can use parallel east/west streets south of Queen St
Will any trees be affected by this work?

Some tree removal will be required in order to accommodate the new off-ramp at Lower Simcoe. Our team has worked closely with Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division, and a project arborist to develop a replanting strategy.

How will you manage dust and noise?

With any construction project, dust and noise is inevitable. The contractor will be responsible for ensuring the work area is kept cleaned  Every effort will be made to reduce inconveniences to the community.


•Demolition work & concrete removal will be loud and disruptive at times
•Work may take place around the clock in some instances, but the noisiest work will cease by 11:00 p.m.


•Contractor must control dust
•Work surfaces to be wetted down to avoid spreading dust
Will the work generate vibrations?

A vibration assessment has been undertaken for this project. Vibrations may be felt during the demolition work of the YBY ramp, but will not achieve levels that would potentially have an impact on the surrounding community.

Will there be overnight work?

Work Hours:

•7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday to Saturday
•Periods of 24/7 and overnight work may be used to help minimize traffic congestion and shorten overall project duration
Will the existing bike network be maintained during construction?

The multi-use trail will be closed from Rees Street to Lower Simcoe Street for the duration of construction. Signs for pedestrians and cyclists will be posted directing them to the Martin Goodman Trail on Queens Quay West.

How can I stay informed about progress of construction?

To sign up to receive notices electronically please sign up to our email update list

Information on the project can also be accessed through the City’s website at which will be updated regularly.

What will be done to the park space where the York Street off-ramp is now located?

Once the York Street off-ramp is demolished, the surrounding green space will be fully converted to parkland.  After the construction work is complete, new sod will be laid down as a temporary measure. A redesign of the park space will take place in 2018.