Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Toronto street closure ushers in ‘Carmageddon TO’

Commuters slowly make their way out of Toronto as they drive north on the Don Valley Parkway

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Downtown Toronto commuters are anticipating two chaotic weeks of slowdowns that some observers have already dubbed "Carmageddon TO," as the city shuts the busy intersection at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue for transit maintenance early Monday morning.

Though pedestrians won't be impeded, Twitter users have been circulating warnings with hashtags like #trafficjamz in anticipation of the blockage, which lasts until July 23 and which the TTC says is necessary to allow streetcar tracks, platforms and overhead wires to be rebuilt and replaced. Crosstown traffic is being shifted to Dundas, Richmond, King and Adelaide streets, though the last is already routinely backed up due to separate construction. Northbound and southbound traffic will be pushed to Bathurst Street and University Avenue.

But the corridor is a major pathway to the Gardiner Expressway, and many TTC vehicles are rerouting on those same roads, adding to the congestion that a Toronto Police Traffic Services spokesperson said is likely to "be awful" until late July.

Story continues below advertisement

"Obviously traffic's going to be screwed," the spokesperson said. "It's a huge intersection."

Many shop owners on the bustling, trendy strip of Queen Street West are expecting their business to slow as the closing drives a slice of their clientele elsewhere.

Le Gourmand, a café on the intersection's southwest side, was surprised to see nearly two thirds of its business disappear this past weekend, even before the full closing took effect – as of Sunday, only the north-south streetcar tracks had been blocked off.

"It's been way slower than [usual]," said barista Ada DeSastris. "A lot of people pass through this neighbourhood and they're finding alternate routes."

It's a busy time for the café, which lures overheated customers to its patio for summer drinks.

And while Mr. DeSastris declined to discuss Le Gourmand's finances in detail, he indicated a dip in business of that magnitude could cost the owners thousands of dollars each week if it continues.

Matt Stokes, who manages the clothing store G-Star Raw just east of Spadina, thinks some hardship is unavoidable while such a major artery is closed.

Story continues below advertisement

"That traffic that's coming from the west is pretty much going to be nil," he said. "You take [public] transportation out of the equation, you're going to see a huge dip."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.