yonge street closure

Toronto is closing off a huge stretch of Yonge Street for pedestrians this month

In an unprecedented and potentially controversial move, the City of Toronto will be closing Yonge Street from Queen's Quay all the way up to Davenport for the final two Sundays of September.

Those of you who've ever dreamed about walking or riding a bike down the middle of Yonge have the pandemic to thank for that — or rather, the ActiveTO program it inspired.

"In partnership with Open Streets, the City will add part of Yonge Street to the popular weekend road closures initiative on Sunday, September 20 and Sunday, September 27," reads a release from the City of Toronto issued Tuesday.

"When all closures are in place, including Yonge Street, there will be more than 14 total kilometres of major roadway available for walking, running and biking on Sundays."

Citizens should note that this closure is shorter than the typical 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. we've seen on Lake Short Boulevard and Bayview Avenue this summer.

Unlike other major roads that have been closed off on weekends under ActiveTO, the Yonge Street closures will begin around 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on both Sundays.

"Motorists who normally travel northbound Yonge Street on Sundays should plan ahead and use alternate routes," reads the release.

"During the closure, a physically distanced activity is planned (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) as part of Open Streets. The Live Green Eco-Walk is a fun activity, administered in a safe, physically distanced manner, that involves finding decals on the street that use QR codes to link to a green fun fact about Toronto."

While many have been thrilled with the ActiveTO program in general, the closure of Yonge — so much of it and for so much time — may ruffle feathers among drivers, some of whom often complain about the road closures on Twitter.

Either way, the closures are happening.

"ActiveTO has been an important part of our restart and recovery planning," said Mayor John Tory on Tuesday.

"By giving people space to practise physical distancing while being outside for activity, we have been supporting fundamental public health advice while continuing to work to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Lead photo by

Jim Cagney

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