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Boom Town Buddies Extend the Spirit of the Bentway East

Boom Town Buddies

The quirky project draws inspiration from the ongoing transformation of the Gardiner and the familiar presence of equipment deployed to inspect and maintain the structure

By Designlines
Photography by Remi Carreiro

If you’ve visited the York Street intersection under the Gardiner Expressway this summer, you’ve likely noticed a few quirky companions stationed along Lakeshore Boulevard. These bug-eyed creatures are the essence of an installation by 5468796 Architecture and Office In Search Of  – dubbed Boom Town – in response to the Waterfront Reconnect competition. One of two competition winners, Boom Town answers a call for temporary artistic initiatives that draw the spirit of the Bentway eastward, transforming more decaying spaces under the Gardiner into delightful urban experiences.

Boom Town Buddies

Boom Town will remain in place until 2025, when the section of the Gardiner Expressway overhead undergoes repairs. Until then, these playful additions to an otherwise drab neck of the woods will provide transformative vibrancy, playful character and environmental lighting to enliven the York Street intersection, improving safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. As some may have noticed with the Boom Town buddies timely rainbow looks for Pride, the cast of characters will rotate to help the city celebrate the changing of the seasons.

Previously overlooked as a utilitarian structure, the overpass now beckons both residents and visitors to engage with its playful design, making it an essential stop for anyone exploring the city. Boom Town’s infusion of urbanism and creativity has not only enhanced the aesthetics of the overpass but has also fostered a renewed sense of community pride, as the site has quickly become an emblem of the city’s spirit and imagination.

Gardiner Expressway

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