car free toronto

Car free streets and events in Toronto this summer

Cars may dominate most streets in Toronto, but there are still plenty of places for pedestrians to roam free. Last year's TIFF showed us what King West would be like without traffic and the recently revitalized Queens Quay and Union Station plaza now provide ample space for those on foot. And, don't forget to take advantage of the opportunity to party on the street at one of the city's various outdoor festivals.

Here are a few more ways to go car free in Toronto this summer.

Open Streets TO
On August 16 and September 6, large stretches of Bloor and Yonge streets will be closed to cars, becoming the city's biggest "paved park." Modeled after the Ciclovia open streets program native to Medellin, Colombia, Open Streets TO is unlike other street fairs that focus on entertainment; it's about encouraging Torontonians to get active while building a sense of community.

Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market
On the last Sunday of every month until October, pedestrians rule in Kensington Market. This 12-year-old initiative has even led some to question whether Kensington should go car-free permanently. For now though, you can enjoy these monthly events that fill the market with performers and an art fair, which premiered last year.

John Street
The city is planning to transform John Street, between Front and Stephanie streets, into a "cultural corridor" that'll hopefully prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars. Currently however, planters stationed from Adelaide to Queen cut motorists off from much of the road. This open space features bright yellow Muskoka chairs for you to relax in.

Toronto Islands
Hop on a ferryboat and spend a day walking, biking or just lounging around on the entirely car-free islands. While you're there, take a stroll through the William Meany Maze, the restored labyrinth that's finally back on Centre Island.

Distillery District
As a pedestrian-only area, the Distillery District's cobblestone streets, lined with Victorian-era industrial architecture, are charming and vaguely European. With a number of free and ticketed events and concerts planned for Panamania, you'll want to visit this car-free neighbourhood over the summer.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Photo of Open Streets TO by Greg's Southern Ontario on Flickr

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