st lawrence market toronto

Toronto might shut down a busy street for pedestrians all summer

The main street in a Toronto neighbourhood that's almost always on the bucket list for visitors to the city may get completely shut down to car traffic this summer to make it more walkable and enjoyable for pedestrians and cyclists.

The historic St. Lawrence Market is vibrant and bustling year-round, but especially during the summer months, and local businesses have come up with a plan to make it even moreso.

Part of that plan is to expand the curbside cafe atmosphere we all loved during the pandemic to the area, adding in more public space for the entire summer.

People coming to enjoy the eats at the market's indoor stalls, shop at the Sunday Antique Market, gawk at the Gooderham Building and grab a coffee or a drink on one of the nearby patios could be doing so on a completely different Market Street come June.

Already a flexible street with removable bollards and gradual curbs that lend themselves to larger patios and more walking space, Market experimented with a few car-less weekends last year, which local associations note were a big hit.

"We have seen how successful ActiveTO and CafeTo have been in bringing people out to walk and cycle the streets," the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA writes in a letter to community council this month.

"These initiatives do not have to be attached to any event or festival as time and time again, we have seen there has been a hunger for further public spaces to be used within the city. The time is now to extend that to Market Street."

The pedestrianization of the street between Front and the Esplanade has been something that the city has been considering for years, and could indeed become permanent after this pilot, which would run from June 1 to Sept. 30 of this year.

Residents can expect bigger patios, tons of public seating, live music and other entertainment, more vendors and special events.

The addition of a massive multi-storey open air farmer's market across the street, opening in the fall, gives even more reason for the change.

Similarly, a portion of Bremner Blvd. is also slated to be closed off in the coming weeks to better facilitate outdoor viewing parties for Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors games during playoffs, something that is also awaiting approval from community council this week.

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