2016 Toronto Bike Awards recap

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Constable Hugh Smith (who was a dandyhorse contributor for our safety series) was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Toronto Bike Awards.

2016 Toronto Bike Awards

by Robert Zaichkowski

While the stormy conditions of Wednesday, February 24 resulted in a smaller crowd than previous Toronto Bike Awards events, approximately 150 people still braved the elements for this year’s event held at Steam Whistle Brewery. Steam Whistle was a Bike Friendly Business winner at last year’s event thanks in part to their roll out of bicycle repair stations around the city, as well as hosting various cycling outreach events across the Greater Toronto Area. The event featured a silent auction with all kinds of vélo gear, the sale of Cycle Toronto’s vélo t-shirts, a booth by the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, food, wine and of course, Steam Whistle beer!

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After some words of welcome from Cycle Toronto’s Jared Kolb and Steam Whistle’s communications director Sybil Taylor, councillor Jaye Robinson, chair of the public works and infrastructure committee PWIC) at the City of Toronto, took the podium. Robinson said cycling is growing and that's good for Toronto: Cycling promotes healthy lifestyles, reduces congestion and the number of vehicles on the city’s streets, and improves air quality. She noted significant gains made over the past few years, including the Richmond Adelaide protected bike lanes, which saw cycling volumes more than double on Richmond and triple on Adelaide with no impact on motor vehicle commute times. It's great to see City officials acknowledge the positive impact cycling has on the city. PWIC vice chair, councillor Mary Margaret McMahon was also in attendance.

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Cllr. Mary Margaret McMahon and Cycle TO executive director Jared Kolb.

Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, manager of cycling infrastructure and programs at the City, kicked off her speech talking about the convenience of cycling and how we are born to move, not to be transported. Gulati also referenced Richmond Adelaide, where cyclists now account for 43 per cent of traffic. She said changing corridors such as Richmond Adelaide are not just about changing streets, but about changing the city. She mentioned the proposed bi-directional cycle track (protected bike lanes) on Lakeshore, as well as the much-anticipated Bloor bike lane pilot project and concluded with a question she said a driver who wanted to try cycling had asked her: “Do you feel safe riding here?”

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Head of the City's cycling unit, Jacquelyn Haward Gulati at the podium at the Toronto Bike Awards.

After Gulati’s speech, the awards were presented (see the complete list of winners below.)

The star of the night was Constable Hugh Smith. Smith was named the first ever recipient of Cycle Toronto’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He helped spearhead the Toronto police’s first bicycle unit in 1989, which he said was a cost effective way to bring officers back into neighbourhoods to increase visibility, accessibility, and approachability. He has helped draft laws like the motion to repeal the law requiring cyclists to ride single file. During his acceptance speech, Smith made several jokes such as being paid to ride a bike, how early uniforms resembled "posties" without pants, and how he thought a "lifetime achievement award" had a bit of an obituary tone to it. (Smith is due to retire next year.)

Thanks to all the winners who helped make Toronto a better place to bike. Here’s to better things to come in 2016... which better include bike lanes on Bloor!

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Michael Black (also a dandyhorse contributor) receives the TCAT Active Transportation award from director Nancy Smith Lea, above.

2016 Winners of the Toronto Bike Awards

The two top Bike Friendly Business Awards, presented by Steven Buckley, General Manager, Transportation Services went to:

Winner 1: TD Bank Group
Winner 2: Financial District BIA

Bike Friendly Employer Achiever Award presented by SmartCommute
Winner: University of Toronto Scarborough Campus

Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank 2015 Vision Award
Winner: Metcalf Foundation

CultureLink Awards
Bike Friendly School of the Year: Greenwood Secondary School
School Cycling Champions of the Year: Parkdale Collegiate Institute

TCAT Active Transportation Champion of the Year
Winner: Michael Black

Best Toronto Based Cycling Tourism Award
Winner: People With Aids Foundation / Friends for Life Rally

Cycle Toronto Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Constable Hugh Smith

Other Cycle Toronto Award Recipients
Ward Advocates of the Year: Vivien Leong, Suhail Barot, and Michael Black
Outreach Volunteers of the Year: Barney Bayliss and Eva Szabo

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School Cycling Champions, Parkdale Collegiate with Kristin Schwartz (far right) of Culturelink/Cycle TO.

You can see more photos from the event in Robert's Flickr pool here.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Toronto Bike Friendly Business Awards coverage from the past two years can be found here and here.

Ontario Bike Summit 2014

From the Horse's Mouth, Nancy Smith Lea of TCAT

dandyhorse filmed part of our video SUPER SPIN at the Steam Whistle roundhouse. Thanks Steam Whistle for being so bike-tastic!

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