future gardiner

Phase 1 of The Bentway opened in 2018, demonstrating how the Gardiner Expressway can support civic life alongside mobility needs, and the imagination that Toronto is capable of. What comes next for the Gardiner?

In partnership with the City of Toronto, The Bentway is developing the Under Gardiner Public Realm Plan (PRP) to outline how the Expressway – from Dufferin to the DVP – can evolve to better serve our city.

The Expressway runs elevated for 6.5km and past 17 downtown neighbourhoods, moving more than 140,000 vehicles every day. A defining feature of Toronto’s landscape, the Gardiner corridor links major civic priorities present and future – including planned Ontario Line stations at Exhibition Place and East Harbour; attractions like BMO Field, Rogers Centre, and Scotiabank Arena; as well as the Waterfront, Quayside, and the Port Lands. As the City of Toronto works to rehabilitate the roadway, and bring new life to surrounding communities, there is an opportunity to reimagine how this infrastructure can connect, perform, and inspire. 

testing creative strategies

The Bentway believes that testing innovative thinking can help prove out new possibilities for the Gardiner.

We’re using demonstration projects to test recommendations of the Under Gardiner Public Realm Plan through real-time prototypes, which offer touchpoints and opportunities for public feedback and engagement.

Read more about our under-Gardiner pilot projects here:

Waterfront ReConnect: Boom Town

On view through 2025

Winnipeg-based firm 5468796 Architecture and Toronto’s Office In Search Of employ vibrant colour, playful characters, and environmental lighting to enliven the York Street intersection, improving safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

Pedestrians explore a colourful wall under an expressway.
Waterfront ReConnect: Pixel Story

On view through 2025

O2 and ENTUITIVE address the many vantages, scales, and speeds from which we experience the Gardiner, using colour, iconography, and storytelling to draw attention to the Simcoe Street intersection, and the entire under-Gardiner corridor, as a cultural connector.

Bentway Staging Grounds

On view through 2025

Bentway Staging Grounds is a site of active, environmental learning that continues The Bentway’s creative work along the Gardiner Expressway. Visitors are invited into a living laboratory for urban ecology, with experimental gardens that use rainwater run-off from the highway above to support the growth of flowering plant species.

Wooden picnic tables reassembled into a large overarching structure inside an open space room.

October 1 – 30, 2022

In 2022, The Bentway teamed up with our neighbours at Exhibition Place to demonstrate the benefits of connectivity between our sites and to showcase new ways to enliven under-Gardiner spaces. Striped Canary created a large-scale art project that invited visitors to discover a massive, hidden storage chamber under the Expressway.