Canada's largest free recreation program will connect Toronto's communities via stretches of iconic Bloor and Yonge Streets
TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2017 /CNW/ - Open Streets TO today announced its most expansive programming lineup to date, solidifying its position as the largest free recreation program in Canada. Program routes for 2017 are as follows:
- August 20, 2017 (10:00 am to 2:00 pm): Bloor Street (East/West from Montrose Avenue – just west of Christie Street – to Sherbourne Street); Yonge Street (North/South from Bloor Street to Queen Street).
- September 17, 2017 (10:00 am to 2:00 pm): Bloor Street (East/West from Montrose Avenue – just west of Christie Street – to Sherbourne Street); Yonge Street (North/South from Bloor Street to Queen Street).
On both dates, people traffic will replace car traffic, as the streets become "paved parks" where people of all ages, abilities, and social, economic and ethnic backgrounds can get active and connect with their community and each other.
This year's first date (August 20) will mark the first time the program will lay sod – some 5,000 square feet of grass – just east of the Yonge and Bloor intersection, the de facto heart of the city and a connective symbol. This will offer a stark "green" contrast to the urban realities of Toronto's downtown core.
The August 20 program date will also help Ontario celebrate its 150th birthday, by showcasing many diverse forms of cultural dance represented by Ontarians. The dedicated space, at Yonge and Bloor, will feature dance performances and mini lessons throughout the day from groups representing Peruvian, Azerbaijani and Filipino communities as well as Brazilian Capoeira and Bon Odori (Japanese folk dance).
"Open Streets is about getting out, being active and connecting people in the city without the barriers and stresses created by vehicle traffic," said David Simor, Community Outreach Director, Open Streets TO. "We are ecstatic to be back for our fourth year, offering Torontonians a chance to experience our beloved city in ways they never could before. And by including such an extensive offering of programming, we are excited to appeal to participants young and old and to bring together Toronto's diverse neighbourhoods in a celebration of physical activity and unity."
The deeper lineup acknowledges the interest of attendees, 97 per cent of whom said in a Ryerson University survey that they supported the expansion of the Open Streets concept. In addition, 85 per cent of those surveyed agreed that Open Streets strengthens the community, and 75 per cent said that it improved their perception of Toronto – both core objectives of the program. In terms of physical activity, 62 per cent of respondents said they would not have been engaged in active recreation had it not been for Open Streets Toronto.
"Iconic cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Mexico City all promote a variety of the Open Streets concept," said Toronto City Councillor, Kristyn Wong-Tam. "I am proud that Toronto put itself on this map of great cities in 2014 by creating our own distinct program and am looking forward to this summer's exciting program."
As in previous years, Activity Hubs will be set up by local businesses and community organizations along the route, showcasing the character of each neighbourhood in authentic ways. No outside vendors are permitted, underpinning the neighbourhood feel of the program. Some exciting additions to this year's Activity Hubs will include Live Green, Toronto Animal Services, Come Alive Outside and Lululemon, among others.
A full description of the event hubs can be seen here: https://www.openstreetsto.org/activity-hubs
For more information about the event, visit: www.openstreetsto.org
SOURCE Open Streets TO