Right to Walk

Right to Walk TO: Justice, equity, and the Toronto walking experience

Walk Toronto invites you to celebrate our sixth anniversary with Right to Walk TO, a panel discussion that explores walking – the love of it, our need for it, and its meaning – through a justice and equity lens.

This event is a love letter to walking, as well as a critical look at the walking experience our city creates, from different perspectives.


We have a fantastic, dynamic group of speakers whom we’ve challenged to think about their work a little differently, and we’re excited to bring the conversation to you.

Speaker panel:

The format is brief presentations by the speakers followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A from the audience. We are delighted to have engaged as our moderator Zahra Ebrahim, Urbanist, Professor, and Human-centred Designer.

Date, Time and Location

Tue, 26 March 2019
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
Innis Town Hall
Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto
View Map


6:30 PM — Doors Open, Sign-in, Snacks
7:00 PM — Panel Discussion and Q&A
8:45 PM — Wrap-up and Networking
The event is free but registration is required.

See the Eventbrite page for more details and to register.

We thank our event sponsors: University of Toronto Urban Studies ProgramUniversity of Toronto School of Citiespublic space workshop,and Spacing. This event would not be possible without their generous support.


Save the Date: Come celebrate Walk Toronto’s sixth anniversary on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Walk Toronto is hosting Right to Walk,  an event that explores walking – the love of it, our need for it, and its meaning – through a justice and equity lens.

We have a fantastic, dynamic group of speakers whom we’ve challenged to think about their work a little differently, and we’re excited to bring the conversation to you. Speaker list will be released shortly.

Tuesday March 26, 2019

Innis Town Hall
Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Avenue
Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

Current event sponsors include University of Toronto Urban Studies Program, University of Toronto School of Cities, Public Space Workshop, and Spacing Magazine.

Children playing safe streets quiz

Highlights of Open Streets, September 2018

Walk Toronto was pleased to participate in Open Streets on Sept. 16, 2018. We had several activities to engage those walking and cycling on Yonge Street, where we set up our booth north of Wellesley.

With “Walk a block for a new vision”, Walk Toronto steering committee member Daniella Levy-Pinto, who is blind, explained  how to walk using a white cane. Steering committee member Judith Kidd and volunteer Edith Sinclair accompanied the passers-by who took up the challenge — including two Toronto police officers — as they walked along the sidewalk with their eyes closed, using only the cane for guidance, and identified the location of the crosswalk using tactile paving.

White cane demonstration with police officers

White cane demonstration

With the safe streets quiz, visitors were challenged to match safe streets words (such as bulb-out, sneckdown, chicane, and zebra crossing) with images. Both adults and children got engaged!

Children playing safe streets quiz

Safe streets quiz

Finally, as part of our accessibility theme we invited Be Alink to demonstrate the Alinker, an innovative new mobility device. Writer Lloyd Alter was taking part in open streets and he was so taken by the Alinker that he interviewed Be and wrote a column about it the next day!

Be Alink with the Alinker

We also handed out information about our #BuildTheVisionTO campaign, a coalition with other active transportation groups to create safe and active streets for all in Toronto.

Walk Toronto is grateful to volunteers Kathleen Luckhart and Edith Sinclair for all their help on the day, and to Evergreen for lending us the tent.


Walk Toronto at Open Streets TO, Sunday Sept. 16

Walk Toronto will be at Open Streets TO Sunday Sept. 16 from 10-2. We’ll be at the hub on Yonge just north of Wellesley.

We’lll be featuring accessibility experiences, including the Alinker mobility device, and “Walk a block for a new vision”:

“Experience what it is like to navigate your city’s streets without sight.

Learn some basic techniques for using a white cane to find your way on the sidewalk, while relying on your other senses.

Come out of your comfort zone and get oriented without looking. Accompanied by a Walk Toronto volunteer, explore an invisible landscape composed out of textures and sounds; avoid obstacles and find your way to the curb.

You can take your blindfold off at any time, and also ask questions. This is an opportunity to gain awareness of how people with different abilities get around the city and to reflect about the importance of many of the priorities included in #BuildTheVisionTO.”

Come and visit to experience these activities, play the “Do you know your happy streets infrastructure?” game, and talk to Walk TO volunteers.

Walk Toronto Jane's Walk

Map Your Street! Walk Toronto Presents a Jane’s Walk Street Audit Workshop

Join us for a stroll around a downtown street where we’ll map, scribble, photograph and discuss what makes a street safe and attractive for pedestrians, and what can make it better

Safer street design is not just a job for planners and engineers! This street audit will bring these big concepts back to the block and will demonstrate how you can start making your streets safer and more appealing now.

By the end of this training, you’ll have an easy to use street audit tool that you can use in your neighbourhood or on a Jane’s Walk.

This workshop is being led by Walk Toronto in association with Jane’s Walk.

What to expect: Introduction, 1 hour of walking, discussion

Where: Scadding Court Community Centre, 707 Dundas Street West (Corner of Bathurst and Dundas)

When: Saturday April 14th, 11am-1pm

The event is free, but we ask you to register because space is limited.

Click here to register


Walk Toronto at Open Streets TO

Walk Toronto was pleased to be a participant in the first round of Open Streets TO on Aug. 17, and Walk Toronto will be at Open Streets TO once again on Sunday Aug. 31. We’ll be at Matt Cohen Park (south-east corner of Bloor and Spadina) from opening at 8:00 am right through to noon. Drop by, have a chat, sign up for our mailing list, and check out the chalk drawings!

Our main event for Open Streets is a walking audit the Spadina in the vicinity of Bloor, leaving from Matt Cohen Park at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. We’ll be rolling up our sleeves, looking at features that influence the walkability of our route, and chalking our comments on the pavement. You can download details at http://tinyurl.com/WalkToSpadinaAudit.
Our audit is being done in conjunction with Jane’s Walk, and you can find details at the web site: http://janeswalk.org/canada/toronto/walk-toronto-walk-audit/

In the meantime, have a look at a photo album by Lance Gleich of what was happening around the Walk Toronto table at the Aug. 17 Open Streets TO. The last photos were taken each hour of Open Streets TO and show how the streets filled up over the course of the morning.


Walk Toronto Jane’s Walks, 2014

Jane’s Walk weekend is fast approaching, and members of the Walk Toronto steering committee are presenting some of the walks.

Dylan Reid, Vivien Leong and Mike Jones are leading the Walkability Scavenger Hunt – Ward 30 on Sat. May 3 at 2:00 pm, with help from Sean Marshall. The walk will test out the Jane’s Walk “Walkability Checklist” tool, looking for the elements that contribute to creating a good or bad walking environment.

Denise Pinto, who is Global Director of Jane’s Walk, will also be testing out the “Walkability Checklist” tool on Curb Cuts and Desire Lines: A Christie-Harbord Scavenger Hunt! on Fri. May 2 at 4:00 pm. The walk will lead in to the Jane’s Walk launch party that evening.

Further west, Lance Gleich will be leading Swansea, Past and Present on Sat. May 3 at 6:30 pm, on behalf of the Swansea Historical Society.

Geoff Kettel will be co-leading Layers of Thorncliffe Park on Fri. May 2 at 6:30 pm and Sat. May 3 at 10:00 am.

And of course there are many more walks being held across the city by all kinds of enthusiastic walk leaders. Be sure to get out and walk!


MAY 5: LEADING THE WAY: Understanding the World of Wayfinding

Walk Toronto is pleased to co-sponsor a talk about wayfinding with Phil Berczuk, who is leading the development of Toronto’s wayfinding strategy.

WHAT: Leading the Way: Understanding the World of Wayfinding
WHEN: Monday, May 5th, 6:30-9:00pm
WHERE: Eaton Lecture Theatre (RCC204), Ryerson University / 80 Gould St.
COST: free!
RSVP: You must RSVP at our Eventbrite page. Limited rush seating available night of event
FACEBOOK: Please share our event listing on Facebook

Many cities such as London, New York, Bogota and Vancouver have developed wayfinding strategies in response to significant transportation challenges and/or major events such as the Olympics. The City of Toronto is planning on rolling out a limited wayfinding system in time for the 2015 Pan/ParaPan Am Games.

At the “Leading the Way: Understanding the World of Wayfinding” event, you will get a global tour of what other cities are implementing on their streets, led by Phil Berczuk, the director of design at Steer Davies Gleave, who is also leading the design of Toronto’s wayfinding system. Berczuk’s presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with Spacing’s Matthew Blackett.

Original post by Dylan Reid


FEB 12: Good turnout for Jennifer Keesmaat talk about walking to school

On Feb. 12, 2014, Walk Toronto hosted a talk by the Chief Planner of the City of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat, about walking to school.

We had a good turnout of about 100 people at the University of Toronto Schools (Spadina and Bloor). Among the attendees was Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti, who wrote agreat description of the talk in the paper (the print title was “Cities should worship the ground we walk on,” a sentiment Walk Toronto can certainly get behind).

Also attending were representatives from walk-to-school programs at Metrolinx, Canada Walks, and Toronto Public Health, who talked about their programs with attendees before and after the talk, as well as representatives from Jane’s Walk.

Attendees were encouraged to give a donation to Walk Toronto (to cover costs) that doubled as a vote on the best age for children to start walking to school without an adult. The “10 or under” category was the resounding winner. The vote results were as follows (rounded off):

10 or under: 51%
11: 31%
12: 2%
13+: 15%

Everyone who donated got one of our new Walk Toronto buttons. Those who donated $5 or more received one of our reflective buttons — a little contribution to safe walking at night.

You can listen to a recording of Jennifer Keesmaat’s talk here (mp3).

Event photographs by Lance Gleich

Original post by Dylan Reid