Open Streets event coming to Jasper Avenue on Sunday

Pedestrians and cyclists will have more than one kilometre of downtown roadways to themselves on Sunday.

Five-hour Sunday festival invites Edmontonians to 'play in the street'

Downtown streets will be closed to vehicles on Sunday, Aug. 25 as Edmonton welcomes its first Open Streets festival. (Open Streets Edmonton)

A six-block stretch of Jasper Avenue will be closed to cars and trucks on Sunday as Edmonton celebrates its first Open Streets festival for pedestrians and cyclists.

Edmontonians and visitors are invited to "play in the street" during the event, which will also close down parts of 104th and 108th streets to vehicular traffic between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., organizers said in a news release Tuesday.

The event is hosted by non-profit group Paths for People and sponsored by the Downtown Business Association, Kobot and Postmedia.

The street party will feature food trucks, live music, a bike parade, interactive art installations, a climbing wall, games and fitness classes.

Sarah Hoyles, executive director of Paths for People, said the goal of the family-friendly event is to make the street accessible to everyone — people on skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers and pedestrians. 

"We're wanting to just show what city life can be like — what a really vibrant city life can be like." 
Sarah Hoyles, left, and Sue Holdsworth, right, engage businesses on 104th Street to participate in the Open Streets festival on Aug. 25th. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Hoyles was walking along 104th Street on Tuesday, stepping in and out of businesses to encourage them to participate.

Patios along 104th Street will be extended onto the street; one restaurant plans to hold a pig roast, Hoyles said. 

Various city teams will be on hand to inform people about city projects, such as the future Central Park spanning nearly two blocks north of Jasper between 106th and 108th streets, with construction anticipated to begin in 2021.

Open Streets will include a pet-focused market and a demonstration of dog agility training.

People will be able to participate in crafting a medicine wheel on the corner of Jasper and 104th to honour Treaty 6.

"We also wanted to explore an iconic street — a street that Edmonton is known for but also is usually given over to motor vehicles," Hoyles said. "And we want to give it back to the people."

Road closures will include:

  • Jasper Avenue between 103rd Street and 109th Street
  • 104th Street between Jasper Avenue and 102nd Avenue
  • 108th Street between Jasper Avenue and 99th Avenue (Capital Plaza)

City council approved $58,000 in funding for the event earlier this year. Most of the money will pay for police to patrol and close the streets.

Hoyles said the event's success will be gauged based on turnout. As well, people will be asked to fill out surveys.

Open Streets is based on Ciclovia, an event started in the 1970s in Bogota, Colombia.

The concept has been used in other cities including Toronto, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Tucson and New York City.