Rewilding the Gardiner Expressway

A Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Exhibition 2016

Come for an imaginary walk underneath the Gardiner Expressway and experience the wilderness of Leslie Street Spit

Exhibition venue The Kilns, Evergreen Brick Works550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4W 3XB
Dates and times 1 to 31st May 2016, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 8..,-5pm, Sunday 10am-5pm

(Please bring headphones when visiting the exhibition to experience the soundtracks)

05 yonge st


A multimedia exhibition of video, images and soundtracks to immerse the viewer into the calm and chaos of nature as it takes over the spaces underneath the Gardiner.  From Dan Leckie Way to Cherry Street the Gardiner is left to rewild through the action of the water, bringing a lake experience closer to the city, and a wild aesthetic to the urban realm.  The wilderness of Leslie Street Spit is used as the precedent for rewilding.


Images, videos and sounds are used in conjunction to present an experience of place. The images are compositions of photographs of the Gardiner and the Spit that frame the time and space of the imagined wilderness. They reveal the architecture of the Gardiner and the nature of the Spit in snapshots. The soundtracks of the Spit that accompany the images immerse the viewer into this new landscape. Through sound, the viewer becomes aware of time, of the animals that inhabit those spaces, changes in seasons, or the surfaces and uses of the space. Sound also reveals the unique acoustic quality of the spaces underneath the Gardiner, with the humming of the traffic, and the reverberation of the structure.


Location and site visits: If you would like to keep on reading and know more about the project, locations of the original photographs and soundtracks of the Gardiner and Leslie Street Spit can be found here, and details of the visits to the Spit to those spaces and how they informed the interventions are here.

All photographs and videos were taken with a Fuji x100. Sounds were recorded with a zoom H1 (July visit) and a zoom H5 (August, September and October) visits.


Usue Ruiz Arana, landscape architect, artist and PhD researcher currently based at Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. @UsueRuiz

I moved to Toronto in January 2015 for a year with my family.  We explored the city through walking.  Walking to discover the city, and walking to get away from it.  During the course of the year I tried many different routes from Trinity Bellwoods to the lakeshore. In those walks there was always a constant companion, the Gardiner Expressway.  I discovered many places along the Lake, Leslie Street Spit being the one that I always returned to.  And I came to appreciate the spaces underneath the Gardiner, and imagined what they could become.

Thanks to Liz Lecky (Evergreen Brick Works), Trish Boon, Rebecca Carbin (Waterfront Toronto) and John Carley (Friends of the Spit) for their help in the development of this installation.

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