Open Streets TO is an advocacy project and collaboration between two organizations, 8 80 Cities and Streets Plans. The event opens up the streets to people by closing motorways to encourage participation in physical activity and healthy recreation. This allows the residents of the city to experience their streets like never before. As a part of the event on the 19th of August and the 16th of September 2018, residents of St. James Town took an active part in Open Streets TO.
This year’s event was organised along the Bloor Street between Grace/Christie to Sherbourne Street and Yonge Street between Bloor to Queen Street. The Corner played the lead role for Sherbourne and Bloor St hub with support of St. James Town Service Provider’s Network (SJTSPN). Open Streets with its unique design has the potential to provide stimulus to local businesses, offer a setting for greater civic participation and integration. Exploiting these opportunities, and with the aim of providing greater exposure to the residents, the team from The Corner offered face painting, interactive games, and an instant photo booth to the public, all free of cost. The team also invited a Senior Chinese Residents’ dance group to perform and a resource and information sharing kiosk for the public highlighting the services available at The Corner. The Corner team comprised of eleven volunteers, seven staff including members from SJTSPN members and seven performers.
There are no finish lines, parades, or sidewalk sales in Open Streets and this is something that sets it apart from other events like marathons or street festivals. The residents of St James Town have been active participants in Open Streets since its inception in 2011.