high park toronto

Toronto drivers are already ignoring High Park's new car ban

Starting on Aug. 5, the City of Toronto implemented the first phase of improvements to how people access and move around one of Toronto's largest public greenspaces, High Park

The changes are all part of the council-approved High Park Movement Strategy (HPMS), and range from designated car-free zones to specific pick-up/drop-off areas.

As part of the strategy, High Park's West Road and parts of Colborne Lodge Drive (south of Grenadier Café) will be car-free at all times. The main vehicle entrance is now at Parkside Drive and High Park Boulevard, which will be open Monday to Friday and closed on weekends and holidays. 

Visitor vehicles are no longer permitted to enter at Bloor Street West, although access will still be provided to the Children's Garden, Colborne Lodge Drive, and the Spring Road Parking lot at all times. 

high park toronto

High Park's West Road and part of Colborne Lodge Drive, south of Grenadier Café, are now car-free at all times. Photo: Marni Ugar. 

Despite the new rules in effect, it looks like some drivers have already disregarded the ban on vehicles in specific areas of the park. 

Several images captured by Toronto resident Marni Ugar show vehicles driving through designated bike lanes alongside cyclists. 

high park toronto

Designated bike lanes have now been added to Centre Road and Colborne Lodge Drive. Photo: Marni Ugar.

Those in favour of the new strategy cite improved pedestrian and cyclist safety, while others in disagreement note that some visitors — including families with children, seniors, and those with limited mobility — require accessibility needs and accommodation. 

In a protest organized by High Park Access for All on Aug. 2, tensions between the two groups quickly boiled over, with cars honking, people screaming, and police, firefighters, and paramedics arriving on the scene shortly after.

high park toronto

High Park has been closed to visitor vehicles on weekends and holidays since March 2020. Photo: Marni Ugar. 

One man was even caught on video slowly driving into a counter-demonstrator who was blocking the roadway at the park's Bloor Street West entrance. 

He has now been confirmed as a Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department employee, and the City revealed that an investigation on the matter will be conducted to take appropriate action.

As part of the strategy, dedicated bike lanes have also been added to Centre Road and Colborne Lodge Drive, with improved pavement marking and signage at pedestrian crossing areas. 

City Council has endorsed the continued closure of High Park to visitor vehicles on Saturdays, Sundays, and statutory holidays as part of a long-term strategy to close the entire park off to vehicles. 

All park entrances and exits remain open to pedestrians and cyclists. 

Photos by

Marni Ugar 

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