Open letter on the Gardiner

At this point, those who want the east section of the Gardiner to be removed and replaced with a ground-level.

At this point, those who want the east section of the Gardiner to be removed and replaced with a ground-level boulevard easily dwarf both in number and collective credibility those who are pushing for it to be rebuilt.

But city council remains split down the middle, and so a group of 80+ “concerned civic leaders” including former mayors David Crombie and John Sewell, former UN ambassador Stephen Lewis, a whole slew of famous architects and planners, and even NOW publisher Michael Hollett have penned an open letter to councillors who remain undecided.

We publish it here in full:

Message to the Undecided on the future of the Gardiner

This decision may be one of the most important you will have to make in this term of City Council. We realize that this is difficult, that it sometimes takes courage to make significant change. The stakes could not be higher.

It is not just about 3 minutes which may be saved for 3% of commuters it is about where our city goes next and what kind of world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

You are being told many things to convince you to spend approximately $1 billion dollars to essentially re-build 1.7 kilometres of a decayed elevated expressway which has reached the end of its lifespan.

Much of this is simply untrue or misleading:

The costs of making the wrong decision are very high and not just in monetary terms:

We would be in excellent company:

We have been there ourselves:

We say that we want to make rational decisions based on the facts and in this case the evidence is overwhelming.

Because so many of us from all walks of life and all parts of our city are so deeply concerned, we have felt compelled to come forward together and make this direct appeal to you.

You hold the future of our city in your hands. We urge you to think this through carefully and help our city take this crucial step to a more sustainable, prosperous, healthy future for all our citizens.

The below list of organizations, groups and individuals have all endorsed the Boulevard Option before you as the right choice for Toronto.


Robert Allsopp

Urban Designer, Landscape Architect, Planner, DTAH

Lloyd Alter

Design Editor, Tree Hugger, Contributor, The Guardian and Corporate Knights Magazine

David Amborski

Co-Director City Building Institute, Ryerson University

George Baird

Former Dean, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, U of T

Vaidila Baneli

Senior Partner, Zeidler Partnership

Paul Bedford

Former Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Matthew Blackett

Publisher, Spacing Magazine

Shirley Blumberg

Founding Partner, KPMB Architects

Alan Broadbent

Chairman and CEO Avana Capital and Corporation Chairman, Maytree

Helen Burstyn

Chair, Evergreen

John Caliendo

Co-President, ABC Residents’ Association

Joanne Campbell

Retired Vice President, Communications and Community Relations, CAMH

Geoff Cape

CEO, Evergreen

Aurele Cardinal

Principal, LeMay + CHA

Howard Cohen

Context Development

Mitchell Cohen

President, The Daniels Corporation

Laura Cooper,

Co-Chair, York Quay Neighbourhood Association

Claude Cormier

Landscape architect and urban designer

Gordon Cressy

Past President, United Way of Greater Toronto

David Crombie

Former Mayor of Toronto

Gene Desfor

Professor Emeritus, York University

Jack Diamond

Diamond Schmidt Architects

Dr. Sara Diamond

President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University

Joyce Drohan

Director of Urban Design, Perks and Will

Tarik El-Khatib

Senior Partner, Zeidler Partnership

Andy Filmore

Board Member, Council for Canadian Urbanism

Robert Freeman

Board Member, Council for Canadian Urbanism

John Gladki

Principal, Gladki Consultants

Anne Golden

Former CEO of the Conference Board of Canada

Karen Goldenberg, C.M.

Principal Consultant, Karen Goldenberg Consulting

Antonio Gomez-Palacio

Principal Dialog

Ruth Grant

Past Vice Chair, Waterfront Regeneration Trust

Doug Grant

Past Chairman and CEO of Sceptre Investment Council Ltd

Ken Greenberg

Greenberg Consultants, Former Director of Architecture and Urban Design

Pat Hanson

gh3 Architects

Mike Harcourt

Former Premier of British Columbia and Former Mayor of Vancouver

Donna Hinde

Partner, The Planning Partnership

Hilary Holden

Associate Principal, Head of Transportation Consulting in Canada, Arup

Michael Hollett

Co-Founder, NOW Magazine/NXNE

Karl Jaffary

Former Toronto City Councillor

Roger Keil

Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Michael Kirkland

Architect, Kirkland Partnership

Bruce Kuwabara

Founding Partner, KPMB Architects

Cheuk Kwan

Executive Director, Harmony Movement

Michele Landsberg

Journalist and Author

Frances Lankin

Former President and CEO, United Way Toronto

John Laschinger

Concerned citizen

Dan Leeming

Board Member, Council for Canadian Urbanism

David Leinster

Partner, The Planning Partnership

Stephen Lewis

Former UN Ambassador and Visiting Professor, Ryerson University

Thom Mahler

Manager Local Area Planning, City of Calgary

David McCamus

Retired Chairman and CEO, Xerox Canada

Marianne McKenna

Founding Partner, KPMB Architects

Tanzeel Merchant

CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow

Rick Merrill

Partner, The Planning Partnership

Dave Meslin

Community Organizer

Alain Miguelez

Board Member, Council for Canadian Urbanism

Mazyar Mortazavi

President and CEO, Tas

Rollo Myers

Founding Member, Friends of Fort York

Adam Nicklin

Partner, Public Work

Patricia O’Connell

Executive Director, Sistering

Ron Palmer

Partner, The Planning Partnership

Sylvia Pellman

West Don Lands Committee

Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa

Founder and Chair of the Board, 8-80 Cities

Susan Pigott

Former Vice President of Communication and Community Engagement, CAMH

Marc Ryan

Partner, Public Work

Donald Schmidt

Diamond Schmidt Architects

John Sewell

Former Mayor of Toronto

Professor Meyer Siemiatycki

Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

Rory ‘Gus’ Sinclair

Activist, Harbord Village

David Sisam

Founding Principal, Montgomery Sisam Architects

Rob Spainer

Partner and Principal, Live Work Learn Play Inc.

Alex Spiegel

Partner, Windmill Development Group

Pierre St-Cyr

Vice-President Development, SNC-Lavalin

Tonya Surman

CEO, Centre for Social Innovation

Alex Taranu

Board Member, Council for Canadian Urbanism

Brent Toderian

Former Chief Planner, City of Vancouver

Eric Turcotte

Board Member, Council for Canadian Urbanism

Jamie Unwin

Chair, CanU’s Committee for Young Urbanists

Cynthia Wilkey

Co-Chair, West Don Lands Committee

Betsy Williamson

Willamson Chong Architects

John P. Wilson


Margie Zeidler

President and Creator, 401 Richmond Limited

ABC Residents’ Association


Council for Canadian Urbanism

Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association


Sistering, A Woman’s Place

West Don Lands Committee

York Quay Neighourhood Association

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