toronto open streets

Massive open streets festival planned for Toronto

A large stretch of Bloor Street, Yonge Street, and Danforth Avenue could be transformed into a massive 11 km car-free plaza for a series of community events this summer, organizers of a Toronto "Open Streets" event say.

The event, championed by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, regionalArchitects and 8-80 Cities, would (tentatively) see Bloor St. and Danforth Ave. closed from High Park to Greenwood on consecutive Sundays for events based around physical activity and community building. Yonge Street would also be closed south of Bloor to Lake Shore.

In cities such as Ottawa, New York City, and Guadalajara (pictured) that already do a similar thing during the summer, Open Streets festivals - sometimes called ciclovias - have seen cycling, picnics, storytelling, games, yoga and dance classes.

Intersecting streets would remain open and traffic would be allowed to cross Bloor, Yonge, and the Danforth. In September last year, Paul Kulig from regionalArchitects said Bloor-Danforth and Yonge make good candidates because of the subway and their "iconic" status within Toronto.

The group also considered Yonge Street and Lake Shore Blvd.

The organizers received $180,000 of provincial funding in 2013 but are still seeking a big-name sponsor to cover the cost of policing the event. 8-80 Cities and Wong-Tam are also working on approval from city council for a pilot event this summer, possibly over three weekends in late July and early August.

What do you think of a Bloor, Danforth and Yonge open streets fest?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: 8-80 Cities


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