Remembering when the Garden City Skyway in St. Catharines had toll booths

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Published August 17, 2023 at 3:23 pm

When the Garden City Skyway first opened in 1963, there were toll booths. Going over the bridge cost drivers a dime each way. The toll booths were removed in 1973.

The Garden City Skyway, which connects St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake, had a slightly different look when it opened on October 18, 1963.

There were toll booths on the St. Catharines side. If you want to either go over the bridge towards Niagara Falls or come back in a western direction towards Hamilton, it was going to cost the driver.

How much was the toll? According to those who were around at the time, it was a dime or, if you prefer, 10 shiny pennies. Granted, a round trip would set drivers back 20 cents – highway robbery, no doubt, at the time.

Although the bridge is closing in on 60 years old, the tolls only lasted a fraction of that, being removed in December 1973.


The tolls booths being removed from the Garden City
Skyway in December 1973.

The bridge was built to allow cars to cross the Welland Canal without the interruption of a lift bridge, which had been the case previously.

Running six lanes wide – three per side – the bridge’s length is 2.2 km (1.4 miles) and is 40 metres high at its tallest point.

Little know fact is that it is the tallest and largest single structure along the entire QEW since the Burlington Skyway is actually two separate bridges.

In 2025, another QEW bridge is planned to be built adjacent to the existing Skyway on the Lake Ontario side, twinning it. When the new one is built, the present one will close for repairs. Once the work has been done, both will be open – one running east, the other west.


The toll-booth-free Garden City Skyway as it appears today.

 

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