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Petition launched to preserve Gardiner Expressway ramp pillars at York Street

A petition has been launched to keep the York Street pillars that once held up part of the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp.
A petition has been launched to keep the York Street pillars that once held up part of the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp. Daniel Rotsztain / Change.org

A petition to preserve the pillars that once held up the Gardiner Expressway’s York Street off-ramp has been launched online.

The York-Bay-Yonge Gardiner off-ramp was closed in 2017 and replaced with a new, shorter ramp which opened at the beginning of this year.

The pillars which held up the York Street portion of the former ramp are still up, but are currently slated to be demolished as part of a new construction project.

READ MORE: New York-Bay-Yonge Exit off eastbound Gardiner opens Sunday

“The circular formation of pillars left over from the removal of the York Street off-ramp are enchanting modern ruins that connect Toronto to its past,” said Daniel Rotsztain, who started the petition.

“It is imperative to not sanitize and erase the past — even the recent past — as a reminder of how far we’ve come to reclaim our waterfront.”

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A winning design for a park in the area that was once used for the York ramp was announced by the city in early October.

The plan, called Love Park, includes removing the pillars.

“The jury appreciated the simple and timeless nature of the design,” Waterfront Toronto said at the time of the announcement.

A rendering of the winning design for York Street Park.
A rendering of the winning design for York Street Park. Claude Cormier et Associés / Handout

Public consultations did occur prior to the design selection and the Love Park design received the most positive votes.

Rotsztain, however, said the winning design, “Fails to take advantage of an obvious opportunity to create a unique design that anchors the park in time and place.”

“We believe our desire to keep the pillars was not heard.”

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WATCH: Gardiner Expressway closed for much-needed maintenance

Gardiner closed for much needed maintenance
Gardiner closed for much needed maintenance

The petition has received a few hundred signatures since it was launched about two weeks ago along with the hashtag #keepthepillarsTO.

Since then, a counter-petition was also started.

READ MORE: Proposed Toronto development from Google’s Sidewalk Labs sparks concerns over data

That petition has since received just over 50 signatures as of Sunday afternoon, and uses the hashtag #removethepillarsTO.

“The pillars are not beautiful, not important, and not worth preserving,” the petition says.

“The public voiced their opinion, the judges’ decision was unanimous.”

Construction of York Street Park is expected to begin in 2019 and has a budget of approximately $7 million.

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