What Does an 8 80 City Mean to Torontonians

This was a busy summer for the 8 80 Cities team. We spent the last few months working on different projects, in Canada, the U.S. and abroad. From Ajax to San Jose to Miami (just to name a few), we’ve hosted conversations with thousands of people about new ways to help make their communities better.

Just in time, as if the stars aligned, our project schedules allowed the entire team to attend Open Streets Toronto last Sunday, September 17. Open Streets are programs that temporarily open streets to people by closing them to cars. The goal is to create an inviting environment for people to participate in physical activity and healthy recreation.

We came to Open Streets Toronto to do what we do best: talk to people about their city. With 300 buttons, 100 balloons, 2 boards, 2 chairs, a tent, a pull-up banner, and some markers, we set out to ask Torontonians one important question: What does an 8 80 city mean to you? A city should work for everyone, whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, but what does that look like to you?

We collected ideas and comments from people who stopped by our booth and got some input on what our community would like to see or have more in Toronto.

Here are some of the big ideas people shared with us:

  • More parks, playgrounds, and public spaces to play and relax
  • Biking and pedestrian infrastructure for all mobility needs
  • Accessible public transit
  • Greater diversity and inclusiveness, including representation of Indigenous peoples
  • Housing for everyone

Other unique and fantastic ideas we heard:

  • A place to make wishes: wishing well, birthday candles, wind socks, etc.
  • An insect and butterfly garden
  • And, of course, Open Streets every Sunday!

We had a blast. It was amazing to see people of all ages and all abilities coming out in droves, sharing the streets of Toronto, walking, biking, rollerblading, playing, exercising and dancing.

We would love Open Streets Toronto to become a permanent program for the years to come, not only because we support Open Streets programs and promote them as part of our services , but also because we are 100% sure that they are one of the best ways to help people exercise, connect to one another, and enjoy their city in a new and exciting way.

Watch this amazing video about what Open Streets Toronto mean to our city. Maybe you’ll  get bitten by the bug and get ready for next year!

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