A stretch along Dundas Street, regularly buzzing with vehicle traffic, was blocked off Thursday evening as about 400 Londoners – equipped with blankets and popcorn – prepared to watch a movie on an inflatable screen.
It's the first time Movie Nights in the Park, a non-profit organization that has been screening movies in Victoria Park for five years, moved its projector to the streets.
"We were pretty worried. We didn't know if anyone was going to come," said Matt Drappel, who's the festival operations manager for the organization.
"There are all sorts of different types of people, different races, and ages and everything in between," he said. "It's so great to have people come down here and show what this street could be."
Downtown London was one of the main sponsors of the outdoor movie night.
Andrew Sercombe, the marketing coordinator for the downtown organization, said the initiative sheds light on the conception of a downtown flex street along a stretch of Dundas.
"We wanted to bring that momentum and that excitement to Dundas street to bring people together, to get them inside businesses and to discover new experiences that they may not have experienced before," he said.
The proposed flex street would transform Dundas – from Budweiser Gardens to Wellington Street – into a predominantly car-free space for pedestrians to walk along.
Construction of what will become known as Dundas Place is set to begin next spring – with phase one focusing on the stretch between Budweiser Gardens and Richmond Street.
"Downtown is for everybody and events like the (movie night) prove that," said Sercombe. "It'll become a much more people place and a much more experiential place."
Several downtown partners including Heroes Comics, the Arts Project, London Music Hall and Roli Poli Ice cream supported the outdoor movie night.
Dundas Street was closed briefly for the outdoor movie between Richmond and Clarence streets.
Other movie nights planned for Victoria Park will continue throughout the summer.