1958 Globe: Invade Old Fort—Proposed alignment of Gardiner Expressway

Gardiner Expressway construction
1960 aerial: Gardiner Expressway construction
Courtesy City of Toronto Archives, Ser. 3, File 198, It. 1
Looming large among Toronto’s myths are the tales of two expressways into the heart of the City: the Gardiner’s brush with Fort York, and the southward extension of the Allan Expressway, a.k.a. “Stop Spadina.” It is possible to see them linked not only in their sponsors’ determination to deliver progress at any cost, but also by the earnest opposition of those who fought them with such success.

The Gardiner Expressway was among the first major public works taken on by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto following its founding in 1954. Typical perhaps of the brash style of Frederick G. Gardiner, Metro's chairman for whom it was named, the road was under construction at its western end before its route had been worked out in detail through the heart of the city. Even then, some aspects as they became known excited immediate opposition and necessitated tactical retreats by the politicians in charge. One was the idea unveiled in early 1958 to place piers for the roadway and a connecting ramp from Bathurst Street within the ramparts of Fort York. The solution to this—bending the expressway a bit and eliminating the on-ramp—seems to have done little to increase the officials’ respect for Fort York. This was seen in a truly appalling 1959 scheme to extend Highway 400 to connect with the Gardiner, in interchanges that would have sterilized upwards of 30 acres of land west and south of the fort. It foreshadowed "Stop Spadina" a decade later.

The story of the Battle of Fort York in 1958-59 and its champions is found here.

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Proposed alignment of the Gardiner Expressway at Old Fort York: Jan24, 1958

Invade Old Fort—Proposed alignment of Gardiner Expressway at Old Fort York
The Globe and Mail, January 24, 1958 p4
Image courtesy The Globe and Mail via Toronto Public Library

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Map Shows How Expressway Misses Fort, Toronto Star, January 2, 1959, p25. By Ed Parker.
Image courtesy The Toronto Star via Toronto Public Library

A near miss!

Next map: 2003 Toronto Works & Emergency Services: Fort York National Historic Site
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