October 02, 2022


On August 11, Dave Shellnut (a.k.a. The Biking Lawyer) and some other road safety advocates organized a ride for safe streets near High Park to protest the ticketing of cyclists there and other questionable actions by the Toronto Police. While I couldn’t make it at the time, over 800 people of all ages and abilities rode their bikes and managed to shut down the Bloor-Parkside intersection. With police continuing their ticketing operations on Shaw Street since then and have been caught rolling through stop signs, a follow up event was held yesterday called #ActivismTO which saw hundreds of people take part and started at Trinity Bellwoods Park. 

In addition to the policing issues, #ActivismTO was organized in response to the City of Toronto’s refusal to hold ActiveTO on Lake Shore West despite a motion approved in June 2022 calling for a “limited number of ActiveTO closures” there. It was also an opportunity to call out the City of Toronto for their continued failures with Vision Zero ahead of the October 24 election. Various demands were listed on The Biking Lawyer’s website including the following:

  • Bring back #ActiveTO on Lake Shore West
  • Make High Park car-free
  • Withdraw all tickets handed out to cyclists in High Park and on Shaw Street
  • Expand road safety alternatives to policing
  • Build the Cycling Network Plan
  • Safe construction zones
  • Immediately reduce speeds in all school zones to 30 km/h
  • Build safe complete streets for everyone & everywhere
  • Build Vision Zero outside of downtown
  • Support working cyclists

Our ride gathered in Trinity Bellwoods Park before starting to roll out.

On Strachan Avenue, Pier appears to be loving this event. 😉

Making our way on Adelaide.

At Niagara and Bathurst, I pulled up front to get a shot to show how many riders came out.

A person riding a unicycle was spotted while we passed by Fort York.

Also on Fort York, I saw a cargo bike with a kid and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Made me wished I had brought Mozzie along.

A close up of the two dogs and kid in a cargo bike.

Then we proceeded onto Lake Shore West.

Given the large turnout, we effectively shut down the westbound lanes of Lake Shore West. It was very upsetting that Mayor Tory ignored the supporters of ActiveTO in favour of (Rogers owned) Toronto Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro.

Lester B Person (@LBeedell) snapped a picture of me on Lake Shore West.

To get a better perspective of how big the ride was, I recorded this video. Apologies for the finger getting in the way for a bit.

We then crossed the Dufferin bridge and meandered through Liberty Village.

The ride ended at Allan Lamport Stadium where a violent homeless encampment eviction took place last year. At Lamport Stadium, Dave Shellnut gave some closing remarks, as well as invited Jess Spieker of Friends & Families for Safe Streets and Parkdale-High Park city council candidate Chemi Lhamo to speak.

Chemi was full of energy for her speech and talked about her lived experiences as a cyclist which is sorely missing at City Hall.

It is unfortunate Mayor John Tory endorsed Siri Agrell the same day when – having met with both candidates – I found Chemi to be more authentic and relatable. I appreciated Chemi consulting with the community to build her platform and believe the residents of Parkdale-High Park need to hear her out. I hope she runs again if she is unsuccessful this time around, though Gord Perks needs to be given the boot whether it’s Siri or Chemi due to his poor handling of Parkside Drive, ActiveTO, and the High Park police presence.

Joey Schwartz recorded a video of the ride, including the speeches.

On my way back home, I was thrilled to see the Bloor bike lane gap under the West Toronto Railpath finally painted in after two years!

Thanks to Dave (and crew) for putting together this event, to all of you who showed up, and to CBC for the great coverage. The Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition will be hosting a road safety rally which will start 7 PM TONIGHT at Ramsden Park and make its way down to Yonge Dundas Square.

UPDATE: Jun N wrote a great recap of that road safety rally. A solid weekend for road safety advocates for sure.

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