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Pedestrian Sunday June 27th, 2010 – cancelled, or is it…

June 22, 2010 By: shamez Category: Uncategorized

As you may have heard, the richest countries on planet earth are gathering at the newly renovated fortress Toronto to show us their ©ø¢§$¡™

Here, the demockeratically elected leaders of the world will continue to figure out how to turn every leaf on every tree and every fish in the sea into a dollar while keeping the global poor in chains.  Our own feds have taken advantage of the occasion to candidly bolster the Police $tate with a billion dollar care package.

In the meantime, streets are for people! has been struggling with our efforts at a response…you would usually find us with trumpets, costumes and giant tricycles taking to the streets, however, this time we’re not hip with leading kids into a war zone that hosts true dangers.  You’ll have to do that on your own and at your own risk – our hearts are with you.

To further foil our collective desire for a respite from oil-fueled insanity, the street closure permit for Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market has been denied. This doesn’t however mean that there won’t be any festivities that day.  The market will also make a perfect mileu for those looking to take a break from the barricades, a place to regroup and rest while sharing insight with others.

If the cars are taking up too much room and the park is full, why not grab a parking spot and do some yoga, have lunch, or set up a rant box?  Don’t forget to feed the meter!  If spontaneous displays of joy like dancing and live samba erupt diverting traffic for moments at a time, we had nothing to do with it and know nothing about it…

see you in the streets!

World Carfree Day Events – Sunday, September 20 & Tuesday, September 22

September 18, 2009 By: kelsey Category: Uncategorized

Sunday September 20
8th Annual
Streets are for People!
Carfree Day Party
Noon to 5pm

Parking Meter Parties on Queen Street west from Bathurst to Dufferin.
Pay the meter, park your vehicle (bike, trike, skate-board) and throw a party.
Games, crafts, musical chairs plus pedal-powered performances by Mr. Something Something, Michael Louis Johnson, and many more.

contact info


Tuesday September 22
5th Annual World Carfree Day Parade

Join over 100,000 million people in more than 1500 cities worldwide to celebrate a move away from car culture.
Hosted by Streets are for People!
Meet at 5pm south gates of Trinity Bellwoods park.
Bring horns and bells and drums, and a sense of good cheer.

contact info

Check out our poster! Carfree Day 2009 Poster

Urban Repair Squad on the Big Screen!

August 18, 2009 By: kelsey Category: Uncategorized

The gang from Streets are for People! have made a short film about radical actionists the Urban Repair Squad. Starring Shamez Amlani and Michael Louis Johnson, the five-minute film hits the big screen of the Royal Cinema (608 College St.) this Saturday at 7pm as part of the Bicycle Film Festival. The film also features a rare live recording by the New Kings.

Saturday August 22, 2009
program 3
the Royal Cinema – 608 College Street

blackout anniversary, friday august 14th!

August 10, 2009 By: shamez Category: Uncategorized

3 great parties to celebrate the anniversary of the blackout…

Party the 1st : Blackout on Ossington Avenue, Dundas to Queen, 8 pm to close – 28 venues, buskers, live acoustic music, parking meter parties, candlelight

Party the 2nd: Group bike ride – bring your lights, meet Bloor and Spadina at 8:45 – at 9:15 let’s ride!

Party the 3rd: Circus geeks and dance freaks, meet NW corner of Trinity Belwoods near Simon de Bolivar bust at 9 ish, bring glowsticks and dancing shoes

…don’t miss the big surprise at 10pm when three parties become one…

watch last years finale

Year-end message, stay tuned for 2009 actions…

January 18, 2009 By: shamez Category: Uncategorized

It certainly has been an eventful year for Streets are for People! …with more velorutionaries than ever joining the gang.

We saw another 7 fun and people packed Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market.  We pushed the dead Petition Car to Queen’s Park where the “not one more dollar to car culture” petition was read in house. We partnered with Eco-Sanity on an Earth Day Celebration and lead a parade calling for a U-turn on climate change.  At various times this summer we threw a picnic in the middle of Bathurst construction, played bike polo in the round, and reclaimed Bloor and Spadina for 10 minutes on the Blackout Anniversary, turning it into a public square, complete with fountain and Italian plum trees! We had the best World Carfree Day ever, with punk bands, hair salon, piano, and even a pedal-powered sound system (thanks Mr Something Something) in parking spots all day before a parade and mass ride converged on Queen and University. 

What a load of fun actions went down this year.  Every one of you who showed up and lived out the change they want to see in this city and our world sent out a great message of hope.  We got to share that message through an art show at the Toronto Free Gallery, hauling a ton of stuff there via rikshaw and bike trailer to recreate our tree-fort headquarters.  We got to exchange inspiration and share tactics with bike-minded people from around the globe at the Towards Carfree Cities conference in Portland, Oregon. We shared knowledge and ideas with teens who attended the CUTA Youth Summit so they could start carfree days in their own communities across Canada.

It is incredible to think that two of our core members, Michael J and Kelsey, both became parents in that time!  (Welcome beautiful babies Jozefin and Jorah.) All that is to say that Streets are for People! does go into a sort of quiet period over the winter months, but certainly not a hibernation as we are hatching plots and making plans for the year to come.  We are always in conversation about how we can continue to effect change with uncompromising, mindful and fun ways of taking back our streets.  Thanks for supporting us and stay in touch!


Streets are for People!

Trinity Spadina Candidates Debate

September 27, 2008 By: kelsey Category: Upcoming events

Trinity Spadina Candidates Debate
part of PS Kensington
Sunday September 28, 3pm
Augusta Avenue – between Nassau and Oxford

Come out to the street and get to know your local candidates. Maybe even
challenge them with a question.

hosted by Michael Louis Johnson

World Carfree Day – Sunday, September 21

September 13, 2008 By: kelsey Category: Upcoming events

Join millions of people around the globe in celebration of WORLD CARFREE DAY
Sunday September 21, 2008


PARKING METER PARTIES – What can you do with a 6’x12′ parking space?
Queen St. West – from Bathurst St. to Trinity Bellwoods Park
All day – pay for a parking spot then breathe culture back into public space normally used for car storage. Bring a band and play music, have a picnic, play games, whatever you like. The space is yours for only $2/hour.

4pm – meet at Bloor and Spadina for a special critical mass style ride, then join up with parade.

PARADE – 4th annual parade down Queen St.
4pm – meet at south gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park
5pm – Parade east to Old City HallBring horns and bells and drums. Bring your friends. Bring your mums. Bring bikes and trikes and things that are silly. Bring costumes and banners and wings that are frilly. Bring sense of humour, and sense of fun. We’ll party like our team just won. (ok-that’s enough. You get the idea.)

Don’t miss the surprise when three parties meet!

World Carfree Day 2008 Poster
Globe and Mail article
NOW Magazine article

Black-out Anniversary – Thursday, August 14th

August 11, 2008 By: kelsey Category: Uncategorized 

Blackout Anniversary
Three Parties – One Celebration
8pm to 10pm.

Thursday August 14, 2008 is the 5th anniversary of the great blackout,
when our city rediscovered itself as “Toronto the Good”.  Remember when
life spilled out into the streets; remember talking to strangers; remember
when magic zapped out the mundane.

Join local merry-makers Streets are for People!, New Mind Space, Promise,
Reclaim the Streets, Drummers in Exile, Bike Pirates, Take the Tooker,
Bells on Bloor, Urban Repair Squad, Samba Elegua and the Kensington Horns
for three parties and one big celebration.

8pm – assemble Central Tech bleachers, (Harbord just east of Bathurst)
BRING – horns, drums, instruments of all kinds, noise makers, lanterns,
costumes (anything silly)
9pm we depart

8pm – assemble – Bloor and Spadina
BRING – the usual fun
8:15 depart
9pm return to Bloor and Spadina

8PM – assemble – 666 Spadina (at Sussex Ave.)
BRING – music player, glo-sticks, costumes, the usual fun

9:30 – Don’t miss the Secret Grand Finale when three parties become one.

August 17th – Blackout Anniversay Pedestrian Sunday – Volunteers needed!

August 11, 2008 By: kelsey Category: Uncategorized

This Sunday marks the 5th anniversary of the day our consumptive society blew the fuse on our own power supply.  Come and celebrate this realization and the relive the acts of community that this day inspired with all acoustic music, kid-powered games and a special evening theatrical performance in the streets of Kensington Market!  Out with the lights, in with the music!

We can still some spare hands for a few hours each to help make this Pedestrian Sunday as amazing as it can be–please call Kelsey to volunteer (416)841-8549.

STREETS ARE FOR PICNICS – Report from the front lines

July 23, 2008 By: kelsey Category: Uncategorized

An unsuspecting Bathurst Street in Toronto was treated to a civic make-over  one Sunday by merry pranksters Streets are for People. The four-lane artery is under repair and traffic is reduced to one slow-moving lane.  This leaves three lanes available for public fun.  “In legal terms, the street is called a public right-of-way.  Construction stops on Sundays.  We have every right to occupy the unused space” explains co-organizer Michael Louis Johnson.

Walking north through large pylons and broken pavement, the scene unfolded like some surreal post-oil dreamscape. Many strangers gathered around a giant 3 x 3 metre scrabble game, further up, an antique pedal organ, in a lane freed from cars, with more people singing together around it.

Further still, where the pavement was completely broken and there was only dirt, the perfect place for a game of croquet – “under the cobblestones, the beach!”

Up on a patch of new concrete beside suspended steel tracks, revolution rockers the New Kings played to a happy crowd of 50 who danced with children, in the middle of the street.

In the song Street Fighter, Michael J.  dreams of  a possible future “in a world of peace and tranquility, we’ll find the time to take it slow, without the rush, the noise,  the crush of the cars,  and the go, go, Gooooooo….”  And this was it, temporary as it was, that world we all want to live in.

“When streets are given back to people as an extension of their living room, not just a place to move and store cars, amazing things can happen,” said Shamez Amlani of Streets are for People. “That’s what streets have been for many thousands of years.”

After four hours of fun and games, Toronto Police responded to one complaint that “kids were playing in the construction site.”  The party was disbanded peacefully until Johnson began heckling the cops for blocking the road and causing a traffic jam.  They put him in handcuffs and drove him home.  No charges were laid.                                                                                                                                                                     

As evening fell the front window of the Keep Six Art Gallery became a movie screen and a few dozen people spread blankets and pillows over the road and passed the popcorn as they watched Le Depart, a short comedy about guerrilla bike activists the Urban Repair Squad, followed by the 1938 Frank Capra classic, “You Can’t Take it with You”.

Every bus-rider and car passenger traveling up Bathurst St. that beautiful Sunday saw the mundane concrete road temporarily transformed into a community playground.  For those who took the opportunity to step into the street and join the fun, even when Bathurst is returned to four lanes of choking, congested traffic, they will remember that one day when the space was liberated, returned to the people, and how much fun freedom can be.

 See photos on flickr: