Construction of the Eastern Avenue flyover/Richmond Street exit from the Don Valley Parkway, north of the Gardiner Expressway, 1964. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 6467.
What proved to be the final stretch of the Gardiner, running from the Don Valley Parkway to Leslie Street, was opened on July 15, 1966. Plans to extend the expressway further east and build the Scarborough Expressway were scrapped by Metro Council in 1974. Poor maintenance of this section led to crumbling, which resulted in recommendations to tear it down during the 1990s. Opposition to the demolition came from two groups: film studios, which were worried about dust and noise that was carefully factored into the final demo process; and local residents, who worried about traffic spilling onto side streets and into the Beaches, even though drivers would be able to follow essentially the same route into the lakeside community. City councillor Tom Jakobek resisted demolition, devising several compromise plans that would have preserved part of the stump. “Cars are an important necessity in this society,” Jakobek noted in 1999. “Why would anyone want to eliminate road capacity anywhere, when it’s located in the middle of an industrial area and people use it?” But Jakobek proved to be in the minority: most attendees at public deputations wanted it gone, and council approved its demolition in 1999. Only a few pillars remain, while land opened up for a bike path, big box shopping, and the TTC’s Leslie Barns facility.