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Toronto closes 57 kilometres of streets for runners, cyclists and walkers

Toronto introduced the ActiveTO initiative so citizens can get out and exercise in the city while still social distancing

Last week, the city of Toronto launched the ActiveTO program, which will see 57 kilometres of the city’s streets closed and reserved for runners, walkers and cyclists. Only local traffic will be permitted on these “quiet streets.” The initiative was launched to encourage Toronto citizens to keep active and exercise outdoors while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines. The city closed additional streets for Victoria Day weekend to avoid further crowding of popular trails and paths.

Running boom

Canada has seen a running boom since the start of the country’s coronavirus outbreak. This is great for the Canadian running community, and hopefully all of the new runners will continue with the sport once COVID-19 is behind us. One downside of this boom, though, is the congestion of paths and trails around the country, including routes in Toronto. The city of course wants to promote physical activity, but flattening the curve of COVID-19 is a big priority, too. This quiet streets initiative is the city’s attempt to do both, giving runners, cyclists and walkers more room to exercise while keeping a safe distance apart.

RELATED: No parks, no tracks and two metres apart: how to go for a safe run

ActiveTO

“Right now, vehicle and pedestrian traffic are at an all-time low,” Mayor John Tory said in a press conference on Thursday, as reported by CTV News. “Starting right away, our quiet street initiative will see traffic-calming measures deployed on local streets across the city.”

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Streets that have been closed so far can be found in Kensington Market, Shaughnessy Boulevard between Van Horne Avenue and Havenbrook Boulevard, and Havenbrook Boulevard between Shaughnessy Boulevard and Manorpark Court.

RELATED: A guide to socially responsible running during COVID-19

“I expect these changes will be popular and city staff are already looking at other sites for more additional quiet streets,” Tory said.

Tory said he has heard that the Vancouver government has plans to implement a similar initiative with some of their city streets.