The Women and Bicycles Picnic in Trinity Bellwoods Park August 18, 2011

HerstoriesCafe Toronto

In this current era of bike lane closures and cycling marginalization, the history of cycling, and its revolutionary potential, has never been more relevant. Please join HerstoriesCafe, Toronto’s only women’s history salon, for a free event about women and the history of cycling. These free monthly events are designed to generate dialogue about local women’s stories and provide a forum for community members, historians, teachers, curators, artists, archivists and activists to share their knowledge and deepen our historical understanding of our urban landscape.

What: The Women and Bicycles Picnic

When: Thursday, August 18, 2011 starting at 6pm.

Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park, beside the Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Center (155 Crawford St. MAP) The event will take place in the grove of trees just behind Fresh, off the Crawford St. entrance. Bring snacks, blankets and your bike if you feel like it. Light refreshments will be provided. Weather permitting.

Speakers and Topics: “Women and Cycling in Toronto: Fighting for Inclusion since 1869”

Cycling advocate and historian Steve Brearton will discuss women and cycling in Toronto from the early days of the bicycle when females fought cultural norms just to ride a bicycle to the present day where City planning and policy decision have had the effect of limiting women’s participation. Among other topics, listeners will hear of the city’s first clandestine women riders, how the bicycle offered Victorian females greater freedom and independence and a visible means of challenging restrictive social standards and how one woman determined to offer her children a safe place to ride almost single-handedly created the Martin Goodman Trail.

Steve is a Toronto writer and cyclist who has long been involved in helping build a bike culture in the city. He is Spacing magazine’s cycling columnist and in 2004, he wrote and curated an exhibition entitled "From Scorchers to Alley Cat Scrambles: A History of the Bicycle in Toronto" at the City of Toronto’s Market Gallery.

Through a series of songs excerpted from her hit theatrical show SPIN, Evalyn Parry brings to life the adventures and impact of several nineteenth century cycling heroines: from Annie Londonderry, first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1895, to women’s rights activist Frances Willard, author of “A Wheel within a Wheel: How I learned to Ride a Bicycle” (1895), to Amelia Bloomer, name-sake of the forerunner of pants.

Evalyn Parry is an innovative, award-winning songwriter, playwright, poet and educator living in Parkdale. She has produced four critically acclaimed CD’s of music and spoken word, toured all over North America, and her work has been widely commissioned, broadcast and anthologized. SPIN premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and will tour widely in Canada over the coming year.

Poster image courtesy of the CNE.

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