Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

It was recently announced that a good deal of Ontario place will be closed to the public as part of ongoing construction and revitalization of the site. Most of the access to West Island closes off May 1. I decided to bike down to take a last look.

Here are some installations that are part of Lumiere at Trillium Park.

This is the point at which access from the east will be gated off.

Not a fan of a lot of what this sign says: “including a commercial recreational facility in the first phase”….”below and at-grade parking on the mainland”

This sign gives a bit more information, indicating that what is going on now has to do with repairing facilities such as the pods and the Cinesphere, so it is not immediately linked to the proposed spa.

I had never been on this breakwater, part of which that was made out of an old laker.

Sad to see the marina closed. This has caused some hardship for boat owners.

Another view from the breakwater.

I certainly wasn’t the only one exploring the nooks and crannies of the West Island today.

I had a nice chat with a fellow cyclist who said that she often came down to Ontario Place, and that she would miss even things as cheesy as the fake rocks.

I had forgotten that this bell was put up to mark a centennial for the Japanese Canadian community.

Some tree limbs were left here so that people could ring the bell.

An appropriately mourning tone for the day.

One last look at the pods, with a crane lurking to the right.

Access will be maintained to portions of the perimeter of West Island via this bridge.

On the way home, I see that the sakura are still in OK shape, with the threat of rain keeping the crowds fairly light today.

Many in the community are figuring out if the proposed development of a huge private spa, and the even more recent announcement about moving the Science Centre to the pods can be fought.

Ontario Place for All is a website that has more information on this.

Also, here are some picture from what was billed as the last public event on West Island before access restrictions, which was held last night.

This is not to be confused with anything linked to the twitter account “Ontario Place for Everyone” which is set up by the corporation that intends to build a monstrous nine story high private spa. They have signed a 99 year lease with the provincial government for the land where the spa will be sited, and the terms of the lease are being kept secret.

There are also many issues with the idea of moving the Science Centre. It is not clear how much thinking went into these ideas before they were proposed, and there was certainly no sign of public consultation beforehand.

Certainly this has become be a hot button issue for the current mayoral election, but even so it is not clear what power the city has to stop this project from going forward.

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Today was the open house that revealed the city’s preferred future plan for High Park. As you can see, there were many people eager to attend.

Here’s the crowd at 4:45, shortly after people were let in.

These fine gentlemen were present.

Gord Perks made a brief speech. His emphasis was very much on High Park being a park for all users. He also said that what was being presented was a first draft, but given the amount of effort apparent in the materials presented, and the fact that the proposal is to go in front of IEC and the City Council fairly soon, I’d be surprised if there were significant changes to the proposal as it now stands.

The materials are now available on the city’s page. Scroll down to “Get Involved” and you will see the information about the open house and links to the poster presentations.

There is a lot to unpack here.

  • Motor Vehicles enter from High Park Blvd, and can drive to the zoo area, or up Centre Rd to the Grenadier. They can proceed up Colborne Lodge to Bloor, which would be the exit.
  • The west branch of the loop and Colborne Lodge south from the Grenadier are permanently closed to motor vehicles. This eliminates the southbound through traffic that has been an issue.
  • There will be a wide bike lane northbound from the Grenadier to Bloor, along with a section of the Grenadier parking lot repurposed as a cut through for cyclists.
  • Dedicated “sport cycling times” TBD. Perks mentioned that speed limits would not be enforced on cyclists during those hours, and that they would probably be two or three early morning weekdays.
  • The park would remain car free on Sundays, but it will be open to cars on Saturdays.
  • There will be significant reduction of parking between the Grenadier and Bloor, with all spaces reconfigured to parallel parking.
  • All public parking will be pay parking.

This is what cyclists northbound from the Grenadier would see. I was told that there would be a fast and a slow lane.

This is what the car free west branch would look like, with clear separation between pedestrians and cyclists, and again, some indicated of separate lanes for slow and fast cyclists.

There are promises of a new shuttle service, but there were no details. I fear that if this is dependent on the TTC, given their budgetary situation, I can’t imaging this service would be very frequent.

What comes next?

Take particular note of the second column: the immediate improvements (pending council approval)

  • cycling infrastructure implementation using paint and quick build items.
  • temporary traffic control features for road closures
  • opening the park to cars on Saturdays
  • dedicated sport cycling pilot.

I hope that these half measures aren’t put into place and then just allowed to decay (like the King St. pilot)

Subsequent improvements will include permanent changes to parking spaces, new sidewalks, etc and I imagine that they will be years away.

One poster did include the following statement: “The option of full road closures also performed well in the evaluation process, and many park users expressed support for a car-free High Park. This approach can be upheld as a long-term goal; key conditions should first be met, specifically implementation of a new shuttle service and expanded transit service.”

Overall, my impression was that the proposal is better than the initial impression given by the Star story. Obviously there has been lot of staff time put into this.

I asked why the section of Colborne Lodge with cars couldn’t have bi directional car traffic, with the High Park Blvd entrance only accessing the zoo area. I was told that there wasn’t enough road width, and that traffic flow would be chaotic. I asked about the concerns of Parkside residents about traffic build up if High Park Blvd was the main entrance to the park (I suggested that perhaps the traffic could flow south from Bloor and out High Park). I was told that a southbound flow would result in some awkward crossings and conflict, and that the traffic into the park should be less than before due to the reduction of available parking.

I feel that the concerns of the Safe Parkside group have been given short shrift.

At the same time, there are many more features that will upset the motorists would wanted to regain full access to the park. In particular, the road closures, the reduction in parking, the lack of free parking, etc.

One addition point that I’d like to make; given all the concerns expressed about accessibility, they had better make a sizeable fraction of the available parking handicap spots. The proposed scheme of pick up and drop off zones does not feel very well thought out.

In summary, a typical Toronto compromise: a pilot study that will inform permanent changes in the future. Given the budgetary situation for the city, I fear that future might be very far away.

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It has been noted by many that although the city is very fast at clearing roads after a storm, and that sidewalk and bike lane clearance is also improving, such plowing can form piles of snow or windrows that create problems for those with mobility issues. Certainly there are high snow banks all over the city that create a barrier at most curbs.

Today, a group of volunteers was organized to clear snow around the streetcar stops on Dundas St W between River St and Bathurst. One crew started at River St working their way west, and the other at Bathurst going east. I joined the Bathurst crew.

On my way to the start point, I saw plowing had created some new obstacles on the Bloor bike lanes, like this one at Havelock.

When I arrived, the crew had already done some work at Bathurst.

All done.

One of my shovels was an early casualty.

There were places with very thick ice even on the sidewalk.

Much better now.

The ghost bike for Inus.

Working at Spadina.

Headed to the next stop.

Dundas and Huron before clearing.

After clearing a path for streetcar offloading, we’re doing some additional digging to get to a sewer grate for drainage.

In front of the AGO.

Again, much better.

At Chestnut, we meet up with the westbound group, and we all set to work on the south side snow bank.

A fellow in a wheelchair happened to pass by and he expressed his appreciation for what we were doing. He recounted many instances of being blocked from safe passage by snowbanks.

One group picture of the entire crew before we split up to continue our work.

Three of us turned back west to work on the north side. By the time we get to Beverly, a city Bobcat was doing snow clearance and we were treated to a virtuoso performance. He cleared snow from the curb, and followed that up with a quick pass to clear part of the roadway.

Thanks to Gru for organizing, and it was a pleasure to meet all of my fellow workers.

update: CTV news coverage: ‘Why isn’t the city doing this?’ Volunteers shovel snow from 30 streetcar stops in Toronto

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Toronto Auto Show

I haven’t been to an auto show since I lived in Michigan decades ago, but one of my friends was working an exhibit, and I was also curious to see some EVs. I had also heard that there was some micro mobility content. Of course it was family day and so it was very crowded.

One of the largest stands was for Jeep, and they were taking advantage of the fact that they had electric versions of several models so that people could drive them indoors.

Viewed from above, you could see the long line up for a test drive.

As per usual, there were many bikes on roof racks for marketing purposes.

Off to the side of the main hall was a selection of EVs, but since you couldn’t get into them, it was very peaceful.

Amego had a large stand with a wide selection of e-bikes.

Right in front was a test track, but the line up seemed to be to test two odd little mini cars from gosarit.com

This is Frank Stronach’s latest brainchild. Here is what it looks like on the inside.

I was told that these 3D printed accessories were just placeholders.

32 kph top speed, 100 km range, and a list price of about $8K. I was repeatedly told that they were legal to drive in bike lanes. I measured it to be 38 inches wide. This is what 38 inches looks like on the Beverly St bike lane.

Their mini truck looked more useful in terms of a small vehicle that might run on factory grounds or in a warehouse. It was about the same width as the other vehicle. The bed was 34.5 by 42″, internal dimensions.

One of the main selling points was that they were both made in Aurora, using as many Canadian components as possible.

Both vehicles had a combination of plastic and metal panels. Definitely built to a price. In particular, I imagine the plastic fenders lasting only a single season.

This stand showed a variety of small vehicles on a golf cart platform. They seemed much more solid, but I imagine they were much more expensive.

The UofT formula team was there. I didn’t know that most of the SAW formula competitors were now for electric or hybrid cars.

I didn’t ask what this thing from Waterloo was about.

One of the more interesting micro mobility devices from Batec mobility was tucked away in the basement. I saw one of these on Bloor, and it was going like stink. One gets the feeling that as the demand for micromobility heats up, it’s going to be even more of a Wild West out there.

There was also a larger test track in the basement, but the line ups were long.

What is this doing here?

Equally gross.

On the way out, I saw this stand from Vinfast, a Vietnamese-founded, Singaporean-based company. It will be interesting to see how it does, along with the eventual importation of Chinese EVs as well.

My bike was parked on Front St, but everyone was taking pictures of some car that I was beside.

I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

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It being glorious weather (+5°C and little wind), we got a huge turnout for the “Coldest Day of the Year Ride”, organized by Cycle Toronto. The ride start was at the Sumach-Shuter parkette, with a route planned that was almost entirely on protected bike lanes. We would ride west on Shuter, north on Sherbourne, and then east on Bloor-Danforth to East Lynn Park. It was pointed out that at the last such ride (pre pandemic) only a short section of the ride on Bloor was on protected bike lanes, so it was good to see the positive changes over the past three years.

The ride was supported by Bikeshare Toronto, and I had never seen so many of their e-bikes in one place.

More riders arriving.

The crowd is getting bigger and bigger.

I was asked to take this picture to add to the cycling Asian confusion.

Of course, no one is going to mistake Sam for anyone else.

You could say the same thing about Natalie.

Nice to see so many of the usual suspects as well.

Now we are getting ready with some announcements.

Alison from CycleTO kicks things off.

Nest, Andrew from Bike Share told us about the growth of the system from about 80 stations back in 2011 to about 680 at the present. He also mentioned that there will be more e-bikes added to the system.

Next, Councillor Diane Saxe thanked three groups for their support in making the midtown Yonge bike lanes permanent. First, city staff who worked hard on both the implementation of the pilot, as well as the design for permanent installation. Secondly, citizen engagement, including Cycle Toronto and Yonge4All. Finally, she thanked her fellow councillors who voted in favour of making the lanes permanent, over the wishes of the Mayor.

I had a chance to chat with her while we rode up Sherbourne, and I was very disappointed to hear the extent to which Tory pressured councillors to vote for deferral, while publicly supporting the bike lanes. It seems that he listens more to his constituents in Rosedale more than the many others who supported the bike lanes.

I also agreed with her that it was truly unfortunate that the Tory story distracted the news cycle away from the issue of the developers attending and donating to Doug Ford’s daughter’s wedding. These are the very same people who stand to benefit from both the trimming of the greenbelt, and the construction of the 413.

Finally, Michael starts to get us organized for the ride, and outlines some safety rules.

Here we go.

Along Bloor, just east of Sherbourne.

The lead group approaching the viaduct.

Dad provides a bit of a boost.

On the Danforth.

Gil Penalosa was with us. Suddenly he is a potential mayoral candidate.

Sorry Natalie, I didn’t get you in frame.

The crowd at East Lynn Park.

I met Anne, whom I think I met on a Coldest Day of the Year Ride many years ago. She was the one that got me interested in Dogwood Designs pogies.

I took a little spin on one of the e-bikes. Pretty responsive!

Councillor Bradford reminds of the importance for everyone to work together, particularly as City Council deals with the resignation of the Mayor just before the votes on the budget next week.

This article talks about how the right wing is getting organized for the mayoral race with an eye to make sure that there is only one centre-right candidate. What is interesting is that Bradford is one of the two names mentioned as a possibility.

I do worry that the left will not coalesce around a single left leaning candidate, thereby splitting their vote. Lots of things to think about.

Finally a group picture.

Here’s some video of a few sections of the ride (in particular the start).

Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing, to Bike Share Toronto for providing some loaners, and to Councillors Saxe and Bradford for riding along.

Looking forward to more sunny and warm days for riding.

Also this from Bromptoning.

Update: Cycle Toronto posted their pictures on Facebook.


Ben’s video also includes footage of the Yonge4All feeder ride. Although it was not the warmest coldest day of the year ride. That would have been 2013.

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The midtown Yonge St bike lane pilot goes in front of the Infrastructure and Environment committee this morning. Yonge4All organized a rally at City Hall at 9, timed so that it would be just before the IEC meeting started. Robin Richardson was our MC.

She reminded us that Yonge4All is a community group that brings together many different groups with the common interest in making Yonge St a safer, complete street for everyone.

Our first speaker was Councillor Brad Bradford. He reflected on the positive effect of the Danforth bike lanes on his ward. He also emphasized that broad consultation and working with all sides is the way to get these types of projects done. He has been impressed with the work that had gone into this initiative.

Next, urbanist Ken Greenberg says that Yonge St is emblematic of our city. He described the unfortunate transformation of the city by the automobile over many decades, and was glad to see this trend slowly reversing. He has been involved with both Reimagining Yonge and YongeTOmorrow, and described the midtown pilot as an important missing piece.

Councillor Amber Morley was happy to see this initiative, and hopes that similar things will be happening in her ward of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Such a sea change from former Councillor Mark Grimes.

Toronto Centre Councillor Chris Moise is also supportive, and reminds us that the Bayview bike lanes are also being considered today.

Stephen Job represents a group of property developers. He said that reducing parking requirements enables the creation of more housing, and that people will only consider such developments if they see that cycling and transit are real and safe alternatives to the car.

Finally, Councillor Diane Saxe led us in a rousing round of questions and answers where the crowd response was always “Bike Lanes!” She was presented with that green binder, which symbolized the more than 8000 signatures on the petition.

Finally, a group picture of some of the leaders of Yonge4All.

In the interest of balanced reporting, I will note that there was also a smaller crowd of anti bike lane people off to the side.

Thanks to all the people that are staying for the day to give deputations (over 80 people have registered to speak). I’ll report back with updates when they are available.

You can follow some of what is happening in this twitter thread.

Update: Emotions run high during Yonge Street bike lane debate (Toronto Star)

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yeah, it’s snowing again

Here I am at the beginning of my ride home.

Always easier to make a track in fresh show to the left than to ride in the existing tracks. Once tracks freeze into ruts, that’s a problem.

Looks like line 2 is down again!

Near the end of the ride, snow is stuck everywhere (including the camera lens)

Stay safe out there!

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As of today (Monday January 23) the West Toronto Railpath will be closed at Bloor for about a year. Approaching Bloor from the north at Ernest Ave, the ramp associated with the earlier closure is still there.

If you continue south on the platform, you will discover that the second ramp back to the rail path is gone, and you can see the construction starting at Bloor. I wonder how that one bike is going to get back to its owner. At this point, your only option is to go through the station and down the stairs to Bloor.

Your better option is to turn east at Ernest to Symington, and then to cross Bloor at the offset intersection with Sterling. In principle you could also cross Bloor at Perth, but there is no signal there.

Unfortunately, there are no really good options going south from this point. You could ride against traffic on Sterling which is one way northbound, or you could go along the sidewalk to Perth.

This sign shows that the nearest access back to the Railpath is through the Henderson parking lot, at which point you might as well stay on Sterling until Dundas.

Riding north on the Railpath, you will see this sign at Bloor and your only choice is to go down the stairs.

There is a sign at Dundas about the closure, but it is easy to miss.

In summary, unless you are willing to carry your bike up and down stairs, the Railpath is blocked at Bloor, and you will have to consider a detour.

Riding the rest of the way into work this morning along College, I am reminded the sharrows are bullshit.

Late January 2023 update from Councillor Bravo’s office:

“The construction of the stoplight at Bloor and Perth is currently in the design phase. Construction is expected to start by the end of the year and will be coordinated with other works in this area.

Given the closure of the Railpath due to Metrolinx construction, our office has reached out to Staff regarding the possibility of fast-tracking the light or installing a temporary pedestrian crossover at this location.”

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There is a tradition for a group of cyclists to ride out to the lighthouse on the Leslie St spit on New Year’s Day. The weather forecast was a balmy 3°C so I decided to give it a go. The meeting place was the corner of Queen and Logan. Our leader was Alex.

He asked how many people were here for the first time. About half raised their hands. A pretty good sized crowd. Here we go, Alex in the lead.

Turning east on Eastern.

Dave asking if I shot his good side.

Pause at the park entrance. A couple more people were waiting there.

Here we go. About half of the cyclists were fenderless roadies.

I liked seeing the wide range of different bikes that showed up.

This could be an ad for Tern.

Dodge those puddles!

Up towards the lighthouse.

It soon became apparent that there would be too many people for a photo on this side of the lighthouse. It was decided to backtrack to the flat area just north of the lighthouse.

Matthew decides to take the direct way down on his titanium cargo bike.

Gathering for the group shot.

Know your biking Brians.

Alex lines up the shot.

The group shot.

A number of people were taking video, so I’ll link to them as they are posted.

A nice way to start out the New Year! Thanks to Alex for organizing.

Great to see many of the usual suspects while not on a ghost bike ride.

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Another year gone by, another 8000 km or so. A record distance over the year, just a bit beyond what I did the past two years, despite the fact that I did fewer long rides. Cyclemeter says I’m a bit over 8500 km, whereas veloviewer gives a slightly smaller total.


I took advantage of a cold snap to ride the clear ice on Grenadier Pond in the course of testing out some pants. I could hear the ice sing.

Local bike advocate Janet Joy Wilson took a new job in the Big Apple, so she invited a few of us along for a group ride to mark the occasion.

Late January was unusually cold, and so I ventured out to Toronto Island to ride on the ice in the canals, with a bit of crunchy snow on top.


Lots of local protests in support of the freedom convoy in Ottawa disrupted traffic in the downtown area on weekends. Didn’t affect biking so much.


TCBC organized a ride to show support for extending the Bloor bike lanes all the way into Mississauga. The group was small because the ride had been postponed due to weather at the last minute, but some cyclists showed up anyway. So we went ahead and rode out from Runnymede and were met with a group coming the other direction at the bridge over Etobicoke Creek.

The official ride on March 20 happened with a much larger group including Midori and I on the tandem.


I made a quick trip out to Portland for a wedding, and also checked out two cargo bike shops that I missed during my last visit, one of which was Splendid Cycles.

Cycle Toronto organized a ride to celebrate the success of the bike lanes on Shaw St. We were joined by long time supporter Councillor Mike Layton.


Bike for Mike 2002 had rainy weather, but nevertheless I had a good time, and it was for a good cause.

May the fourth was the perfect day for a Star Wars themed ride.

I explored a bit of the Uxbridge to Lindsay rail trail. Didn’t make it as far as Neverland.

The Ride of Silence was back in person for the first time in three years but I was not able to attend.

The first ghost bike ride of the year was for Joshua Okoeguale, a 16 year old who was killed in Oshawa.

The annual bike month group commute was back this year.

HPVDT had a chance to test their tandem bike at a wind tunnel at Western University.


The annual fund raising bike ride on the Gardiner and DVP was rebranded the Ride for Brain Health. I was doing ride support with TBN as per usual, but I also met up with colleagues from my department at the beginning.

A quick trip to Hamilton to see a promotion of the Keddy Access Trail.


I had a streak of continuous days of bike riding that stretched back to Boxing Day 2020, but somehow I forgot to ride on July 1, so my streak ended at 517 days.

A quick trip to Woodstock NY to go to a concert by Nexus percussion. Got in some riding by the Ashokan Reservoir. Got to see the stage where 4′ 33″ was premiered.

Got a Switch e-bike conversion. Initial impressions were positive.

A ghost bike ride in Hamilton for Brian Woods, who was killed riding to his work at Limeridge Mall.

Doing a little exploring by bike of an unimproved section of the Etobicoke Creek Trail.

Another Burlington to Niagara ride with TBN.

Mike Layton decides not to run for re-election. The cycling community in Toronto has lost one of its strongest advocates.


A number of years ago, I was on an organized ride from Seattle to Vancouver, but due to a flat tire and other issues, I ended up completing the ride but leaving a gap of about 100 km. I went back this year to fill in that gap. It was punishingly hot, but there was ice cream at the end.

Some nice gravel riding on the left coast.

A ride to promote safety on Parkside Drive, and to protest police ticketing of cyclists in High Park.

A TBN ride to Lake Simcoe.


Testing our tandem speedbike at Downsview.

The World Human Powered Speed Challenge was back this year after two years of cancellations. Unfortunately our tandem crashed and we did not set any records.

Cycle Toronto organized fund raising rides in different areas of the city. I rode with the Scarborough group.


A night time march down Yonge St to promote road safety.

A gravel ride between Belwood and Luther Marsh.

A ride with TBN during peak fall colours.

Third ghost bike ride of the year, this time near Streetsville.

Pre Halloween ride with the Neon Riders.

Hallowe’en Bike Parade.


Checking out another section of the G2G trail.

The annual ride to remember Road Traffic Victims. It was cold and windy.

A TBN ride from Hamilton to home.

Dammit, we couldn’t get through one year without a ghost bike installed in Toronto. RIP Kartik Saini.


Another ride down Yonge St with Santa.

A pair of pogies arrived from a small company in Ukraine, naturally in the colours of Ukrainian Flag.

I’ll also note in passing that an updated map of all ghost bike locations in the GTA has been posted. Thanks to Ingrid Buday for her work on this.

For some year end coverage of some of the upgrades to bike infra and associated public consultations for future projects, visit Rob Z’s blog.

Also see this year end summary from David Shellnut, the Biking Lawyer.

Wishing you all a safe year for 2023, with plenty of tailwinds!

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