Come out to BIKESTOCK 2014: Mark your calendars for Sept. 14

BIKESTOCK is a big idea. BIKESTOCK is a big party. BIKESTOCK is a first step to solving a big problem.

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Ward 13 Ride with MP Peggy Nash and Councillor Sarah Doucette

Janet Joy Wilson and Jun Nogami of Ward 13 invited local City Councillor Sarah Doucette and MP Peggy Nash to join them on a ride through the neighbourhood to audit cycling facilities and point out opportunities for improvement.

Ward 13 Ride with Peggy Nash and Sarah Doucette

Story and photos by Janet Joy Wilson and Jun Nogami

The Ward 13 Advocacy Group of Cycle Toronto has been working to improve safe access to the waterfront for cyclists and pedestrians for several years.  The recent opening of the Sunnyside Bike Park has provided the impetus for action to be taken now.  The City of Toronto cannot ignore this area any longer, as there has been a rapid “densification” in recent years with multiple condo and townhouse developments. The combination of increased traffic, and a new destination for cyclists and families, provide a tipping point for positive change.

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Open Streets TO a success!

Crowds gathered to watch the Brampton AcroRopers in action… before jumping in and trying it out for themselves. Photo by Laura Bincik.

Toronto’s first Open Streets pilot a success

From acrobatic skipping demos to Tai Chi, young and old got into the action

Story by Tammy Thorne

Photos by Tammy Thorne and Laura Bincik

Open Streets TO is a phenomenon that is taking hold in big cities all over the world. Started in Bogota, Columbia, 20 years ago to help the population get physically active by letting people pedal, walk, jump, run and play in streets that would otherwise be clogged with car traffic, it is now held in over 100 cities worldwide. The family-friendly and accessible event is meant to encourage physical activity without the need for special equipment.

Thousands showed up – eventually – on Sunday, August 17, 2014, for the first Open Streets event in Toronto. The event started at 8 a.m. – before the subway and most shops opened – and so it really got rolling just after 10 a.m. before ending at noon. The short duration was due to bureaucratic challenges at City Hall, including (most obviously, and not surprisingly) our current mayor’s distaste for public street closures, apparently particularly ones that promote physical activity and don’t involve raising money. But that is exactly the point: This is an accessible event that you do not need money or any special equipment or registration to participate in. It also allows Torontonians to dream about what it would feel like to live in a world-class city that features permanent pedestrian malls — like most major cities have. The next Open Streets TO will be held on August 31.

Bike Share Toronto (seen above left in action) provided bikes for those who wanted to roll instead of stroll.

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