The Esplanade and Mill Street are two important streets in the east part of downtown Toronto. They connect people to iconic destinations like the St. Lawrence Market and Distillery District, as well as parks such as Corktown Common, and David Crombie Park. Parliament Square Park is vital pedestrian connection between the two streets. 

Nearly half a million square meters of development are under construction or soon to be. In some of the most historic blocks of Toronto, change is afoot. 

Today, walking, cycling and transit make up nearly three quarter of the trips in the neighbourhood. And yet, there are still many hours throughout the day when the streets are filled with cars, most of them cutting through the neighbourhood. The City of Toronto is recommending changes to the way people move through and experience the Esplanade and Mill Street. 

The project’s goals are to: 

  1. Improve safety for everyone 
  2. Make it more attractive to walk, bike and take transit 
  3. Maintain access to local and citywide destinations

Community residents, businesses and organizations will be invited to a public consultation event in February 2021. The consultation will be an opportunity to learn about the proposed changes, ask questions and provide comments.

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Subscribe to receive updates, reports and information on upcoming meetings related to the proposed cycling infrastructure on The Esplanade and Mill Street.

The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the City of Toronto Act, 2006. The information is used for follow-up communications and future consultation opportunities regarding this project. Questions about this collection can be directed to Tracy Manolakakis, Manager, Public Consultation Unit at 416-392-2990 or

Update #2, January 15, 2021

Stakeholder and public consultation is being planned for February 2021. Please subscribe for our e-updates to stay informed.

North-south bikeways on streets like Cherry, Berkeley, Church, Scott and Yonge Streets are being considered as potential future connections to The Esplanade and Mill Streets. They are not considered as part of the scope for this project.

The ActiveTO Quiet Streets program on The Esplanade and Mill Street is coming to a close. Quiet Streets provided shared space to enable people to maintain physical distancing while walking, running, using wheelchairs and biking. The feedback collected from the survey for The Esplanade and Mill Street will help inform this cycling infrastructure project.

Update #1, November 20, 2019

Project staff were available at the September 26 public consultation for the revitalization of David Crombie Park. Display boards and a feedback form were shared, as well as an online link to the form to circulate. The feedback form was open until October 11, 2019. Please view the summary of all feedback.

City Council Approved Network Plan

The Cycling Network Plan Update was approved by City Council in July 2019. This plan builds on the Ten Year Cycling Network Plan with a strengthened focus on safety and equity, and includes a long-term overall proposed network and three-year Near-Term Implementation Program.

More People Walking and Cycling

The neighbourhoods located near The Esplanade and Mill Street have seen an increase in activity, including new construction and more people walking and biking. These two streets already provide key connections to cycling routes, but need improvement to attract people of all ages and abilities to feel comfortable using them.

In addition to cycling improvements, recent traffic counts and observations have identified the following local concerns that this project will also address:

  1. Motor vehicle congestion – creating pedestrian safety concerns at key intersections
  2. Increasing pedestrian volumes throughout the project area
  3. Cycling and pedestrian safety and access concerns

General Project Process & Public Participation

Options for cycling infrastructure and traffic changes is planned to be developed and presented to the public for feedback and input in late early 2021. Based on feedback received, Staff plan to submit a final recommendation to the Infrastructure & Environment Committee and City Council for approval in 2021. If approved, installation will be scheduled to start in late 2021. The schedule for the installation of cycling infrastructure and associated traffic changes will be dependent on the requirements of the recommendation.

One of the project goals is to complete installation of any improvements prior to construction impacts related to the nearby bridges that cross the Metrolinx Rail Corridor (Lake Shore East line) as part of the Union Station East Corridor Expansion. The other project goals include:

  • Improving safety for people walking, cycling and driving
  • Encouraging cycling by closing gaps in the network
  • Maintaining access to local and citywide destinations for people using all modes, and with varying levels of ability

Community residents, businesses and organizations will be invited to a public consultation event in early 2021 to learn and comment on the proposed options and the criteria that will be used to evaluate the options. Please sign up by email to receive project updates

Cycling Infrastructure & Considerations

The City will be considering the following types of cycling infrastructure:

  • Shared travel lanes for people who cycle and people who drive
  • Dedicated bicycle lanes separated by painted lines only (Bike Lanes)
  • Dedicated bicycle lanes separated by barrier (Cycle Track)
  • Combination of above


The available roadway width may be impacted in order to install cycling infrastructure. The change in width may impact other uses of the road for things such as parking and truck travel. On narrower roads, street parking (On-Street Permit and/or Pay & Display) may need to be removed or relocated in order to accommodate cycling infrastructure.

In conjunction with cycling infrastructure implementation, traffic flow modifications may also be necessary in order to help improve safety for people who walk and cycle.

Motor vehicles changes may include:

  • Turning restrictions (No Left Turns, No Right Turns on Red Light)
  • Access restrictions (No Entry to certain blocks by private vehicles, Trucking restrictions)
  • Two-way/one-way conversions or one-way direction reversals
  • Reducing motor vehicle speed limits
  • Selected traffic calming options such as bump outs

Options will also consider potential impacts to:

  • TTC Bus Route 121
  • Wheel-Trans
  • Deliveries to businesses
  • Emergency Vehicles
  • Parking for Accessibility Permits

Cycling Network & Connections

One project goal is to improve the cycling connection from downtown Toronto to neighbourhoods east of the Don River.

The Esplanade and Mill Street provide a key east-west connection to the following popular bike routes:

  • Yonge Street Bike Lane
  • Sherbourne Street Cycle Track
  • Cherry Street Bike Lane
  • Martin Goodman Trail
  • Lower Don Trail
  • River Street Bike Lane

The Esplanade and Mill Street would also serve as a detour route for people cycling during Metrolinx bridge construction by connecting Sherbourne Street to Yonge Street and Cherry Street Bike Lanes, and the Martin Goodman Trail.

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Legend of map, red line is the study corridor, red box is the area of influence

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