Pedestrians and cyclists alike are taking over certain Toronto streets for Open Streets TO, an event that closes major streets to cars for a few hours. This allows people to walk freely, take part in physical activities, and even dance to their heart's content.

The event, taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 18, allows pedestrians to move freely on Bloor Street between Ossington Avenue and Park Road, as well as on Yonge Street between Bloor Street and Queen Street. 

According to the organization's website, there will be plenty of activity hubs lining the streets, including water stations, exercise classes, pop-up hairdressers, obstacle courses, and tours of the neighbourhood. There's even a pop-up park on Bloor, providing 5000 square feet of grass along the street.

The Open Street concept has been adopted in other cities as well. In New York, seven miles of city streets are closed down from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for three Saturdays in August. Ottawa closes down parkways near the Rideau Canal, Ottawa River, and Gatineau Park every Sunday from Victoria Day to Labour Day, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the sights in a sustainable way.

Open Streets TO is a great reminder that Toronto is more than just a city for drivers. It also highlights the normal limitations and dangers of being a pedestrian or a cyclist in the city. In 2018, Toronto hit a new high for pedestrian and cyclist deaths, with 47 deaths total over the entire year. Through project Vision Zero, the city is taking steps to ensure safer roads for everyone.

That's what makes an event like Open Streets so important. It shows that a city should benefit everyone who lives in it, no matter how they choose to traverse its streets.

The next Open Streets TO event will be held on Sep. 15, 2019. Toronto residents are encouraged to get out and enjoy some physical activity in their city!


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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