2017-07-10 Mon

More Muddy Thinking in Toronto

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In Toronto, once an idea becomes a meme, it becomes an indisputable fact. Even when the idea is wrong.

Many years ago, a group of Torontonians who disliked the elevated Gardiner Expressway (and I use “Elevated” in two senses of the word), used an illogical argument that “The Gardiner Expressway blocks access to Lake Ontario”.

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Christopher Hume is the latest to trot out this argument.

Just for the record:-

(1) The elevated expressway is a Series of Arches that support a roadbed. The arches are spaced about fifty, or more, yards apart. There is ample space under the arches for People and Vehicles to pass through unobstructed.

The Gardiner Expressway might be made of Concrete, it might be Ugly, it might be Crumbling, it might be home to the Homeless, but it does not Block Access to the lake.

(2) For most tourists on Yonge and Bay Streets who want to “See the Lake”, they can’t see it anyway, because when you walk to the foot of Yonge or Bay Streets you get to view Toronto Harbour. The Lake is the other side of the Toronto Islands.

As an aside, I get a kick out of tourists who ask me “How do we get to Lake Ontario” by saying “I’ll give you a hint: Water runs downhill”. To their credit they always blush and look embarrassed.

(3) The real block to access to Lake Ontario is the Railway Land; the lines of track that carry National, Regional and Suburban Trains in and out and through Union Station. I wrote about this in “ The Gardiner Expressway ” back in June 2015.

The railway lines run on an elevated berm, a solid mass of rock and soil, with, of course, a Barrier to Prevent People running across the tracks.

Only where there is a Subterranean Vehicle Passage can pedestrians or drivers gain access to the lake.

Don’t take my word for it.

Check it out yourself using StreetView in Google Maps.

Whenever and wherever you read ““The Gardiner Expressway blocks access to Lake Ontario””, you can safely assume that the writer is merely quoting a rabid meme from dozens of years ago, and has not bothered to check the facts.