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Gardiner debate highlights from Day 1

TORONTO – The debate over whether or not to keep the Gardiner east up had lots of ups and downs on Day 1.

Toronto Sun June 11, 2015 Don Peat

Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday’s council meeting:


Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon — who supports knocking down the Gardiner east — asked city staff what happened back in 1998 when council voted to remove the original eastern section of the expressway.

“The sky did not fall?” McMahon asked acting city manager John Livey.

“No, the structure came down,” Livey replied.



Mayor John Tory had some amusing exchanges with a few councillors as he defended his push for the hybrid.

Councillor Janet Davis accused Tory of putting forward two “fake” motions ahead of his “real” motion that, if approved, would see council endorsing his preferred choice.

“That’s very generous of you, Mr. Mayor,” Davis told Tory on moving two other motions — one for removing the Gardiner and one for maintaining it as is.

“It’s generous of you to say I’m being generous,” Tory told Davis.

Moments later, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti became exasperated with Tory’s lengthy responses to his questions.

“You talk a lot,” Mammoliti told the mayor.

“I know,” Tory said succinctly.



Councillor Stephen Holyday brought several visual aides for his pro-hybrid speech to council.

Holyday urged councillors not to be swayed by the artist renderings of the remove/boulevard option and provided new images where he had added the cars along an image of Lake Shore Blvd. if the Gardiner was removed.

“We’ll be the laughingstock if we succumb to the allure of these glossy renderings,” Holyday said.

He also showed council a graphic showing a missing piece of Toronto’s highway network with the words “mind the gap.”



Councillor Jim Karygiannis seemed poised to at least get another look at a Gardiner tunnel by city staff if council approves Mayor John Tory’s Gardiner Hybrid.

Tory added a clause to his hybrid push that would have staff investigate the feasibility of a tunnel and Karygiannis has pledged to support the hybrid option.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Karygiannis said if a tunnel is “viable” and could be done as a public-private partnership, he would push for it.

Asked what “viable” means to him, he said it would have to fit two criteria.

“One, that it make sense. Two, if it doesn’t cost the city anything and people are there willing to do it, that’s a viable option,” he said.



Mayor John Tory repeated Wednesday that win or lose on the Gardiner east issue, he’ll be back in the mayor’s office at 6:30 a.m. the day after the vote.