yonge dundas

Yonge and Dundas is almost back to the way it was before the pandemic started

Some may argue that the Yonge and Dundas Square is the heart of Toronto. It's the area that is meant to mirror Times Square, is fast-paced, filled with performers and artists and draws crowds from all walks of life. 

This bustling intersection has looked drastically different this past year and was particularly jarring through the winter of 2020 and spring of 2021. 

It now appears that the intersection is back to its shenanigans and is on the way back to how it was prior to the pandemic. 

Toronto hobby photographer Peter Papadimitriou has been documenting the streets of Toronto and has captured the essence of life re-surging in all neighbourhoods. 

Papadimitriou says there's a mix of "everyday life, students or workers coming and going but then there are tenders, preachers and buskers - a little bit of everything I guess." 

Earlier this month he spotted a group of people dancing and having a good time on a Saturday night as a drummer played along to various songs. These crowds seem to gather here every Saturday. 

"I've seen this happen a couple times myself, but I think the drummer plays for them, someone hands him a phone or maybe gives him a rhythm and then they all dance," said Papadimitriou. 

Another video shows pedestrians walking along the busy streets while artists are displaying art and someone is preaching through a microphone. However, the famous 'believe' man was not seen. 

Although it may look as though the Yonge and Dundas area is back to its pre-pandemic state, Chief Operating Officer of the Downtown Yonge BIA, Mark Garner explains we are not quite there yet. 

"On the August long weekend, we would typically see around 300,000 people walking on Yonge Street, the data shows that this year we're at 150,000. So we are still 50 per cent off," said Garner.   

Downtown Yonge BIA is one of the only BIA's that have pedestrian traffic counts and has been able to track the foot traffic of the area prior, during and as we near post-pandemic.

The BIA has not been able to put on any activations, concerts or events this summer. It is especially disheartening now as August is typically the busiest time for this BIA as students are preparing for back to school, the CNE is going on among other exciting end-of-summer events hosted at Yonge Dundas Square.

Since these events draw such large crowds, they haven't been permitted due to covid restrictions.  

"The soonest we may be able to get back to programming is September 6th, and only if government social-gathering restrictions are lifted," said Garner.  

It appears the Yonge and Dundas intersection has mirrored the state in which Toronto has been in this past year and a half. From buzzing to ghost town to now picking up momentum. Hopefully, this trend continues upward. 

Lead photo by

Toronto Papi

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