toronto roads car free

Toronto desperately wants major roads to go car-free more than once a year

This year's Open Streets TO was majorly successfully, with Toronto residents enjoying the freedom of opening Yonge and Bloor Streets to pedestrians and cyclists without cars.

Resident reaction from this event shows just how much some locals want these days to occur more often, and for longer.

For 2022, Open Streets happened on Sunday, Aug. 22 and saw the closure of Yonge Street from Bloor to Queen, and on Bloor, from Montrose to Yonge.

Though this once-a-year event saw the roads closed for a measly four hours, tons of residents flocked to the open streets for a rare car-free morning and early afternoon.

Lion dancing performances, roller skating and even dancing classes were held in spots that usually resemble parking lots on busy weekends.

A make-shift faux park clad with astroturf was even assembled in the middle of the street.

But just as soon as the event started it quickly finished, leaving many residents with a hankering for more pedestrian-friendly roadways.

Some have called on Toronto City Council to introduce more of these events and have them last longer than half of a good night's sleep. 

Others have pointed out that prior to 2019, Open Streets was basically a monthly-event, but that Toronto seems to have moved towards a more car-loving city.

The event drew major comparisons to similar happenings in New York and Montreal, where car-dependency seems to be less favourable.

Montreal's bustling Avenue Mont-Royal has recently opted to remove vehicles and traffic for open streets reclaimed for pedestrians, which drew sad comparisons to our city.

Toronto mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa said that if he were to be elected, he would introduce a new initiative called Streets For Everyone. It would provide 22-kilometres of public space along Bloor and Yonge Streets every Sunday for five hours, from Victoria Day to Labour Day.

Of course, not everyone was onboard with shutting out cars for Sunday morning, with some even saying it contributed to more traffic on smaller arteries.

Despite the seemingly small number of naysayers, there's no doubt thousands of Toronto residents want to redesign streets for more pedestrian-friendly options.

Lead photo by

Open Streets TO 

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