Toronto is an ideal location for an Open Streets program.
We've got an amazing diversity of neighbourhoods, types of space and residents, a fairly uniform grid street pattern with easy rerouting options, and a history of putting on big events in the street - Nuit Blanche, the Toronto Marathon and the Pride Parade, to name just a few.
In early 2013, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam brought a group of professionals together to make Open Streets TO a reality. Since then this team - Councillor Wong-Tam, 8-80 Cities, Sports Focused Consulting, regionalArchitects, Arup, Senayah Design and CicTOvia - have been meeting and working behind the scenes to develop the Open Streets TO program.
In August 2014, Open Streets TO was successfully launched with two program dates, attracting almost 50,000 participants to its Pilot Program.
Open Streets TO is an event concept unlike any other street festival currently in place in Toronto. Open Streets TO is uniquely focused on promoting physical activity and exploring our city in fun and healthy ways. There will also be no outside vending. Rather, all purchases by participants will be made at established businesses along the route. Lastly, Open Streets TO "soft closes" major signalized intersections.
This important concept has many positive impacts on for the city. Open Streets TO will:
Open the streets to activity in an exciting, accessible and sociable way
Open up unique opportunities for local businesses
Open the city for Torontonians as they explore new neighbourhoods, businesses and communities
Open up Toronto to international recognition for a high-calibre health and recreation program
Open up opportunities for Torontonians to get outside and increase their health and happiness