Windsor

'It's kind of a game changer': People run, bike and dance through Open Streets Windsor

Instead of sitting in traffic at the stop light located at Ouellette and University Avenue, dozens of people sat in the middle of the road, on colourful mats, deep in meditation Sunday afternoon.

This is the second year in a row the city has held Open Streets Windsor

Open Streets Windsor ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. (Meg Roberts/CBC News )

Instead of sitting in traffic at the stop light located at Ouellette and University Avenue, dozens of people sat in the middle of the road on colourful mats, deep in meditation Sunday afternoon. Yoga was just one of the many activities offered during Open Streets Windsor.

"I'm in the middle of Ouellette, staring at the Canadian flag … It feels awesome, if feels connected," said Joanne Pignanelli, who was waiting for the next yoga session, sitting crossed-legged on the road. "I double matted actually."

Pignanelli was one of thousands that walked, biked and ran through the downtown hub. Vendors lined the street, kids were playing with chalk and a makeshift urban bike course was installed for the more adventurous rider.

"I think it is fantastic," said Tano Ferraio, who was biking through the downtown core with his nine-year-old daughter. "This has actually helped me get out on our bikes and enjoy some time together."

Rahmi Dadwal, who was selling her artwork on the street said she couldn't believe the turnout. Dadwal said she only has one complaint.

"My advice is we should organize things like this more often so everybody feels happy," she said. 

This is the second year in a row the city has held Open Streets Windsor. The route stretched eight kilometres long, all the way from Sandwich Town to Ford City with nine stops on the way. This year the city decided on extended hours instead of holding two half-days like last year.

In Ford City, where the famous rib cook off was taking place, people were checking out all the new graffiti being painted on shop walls.

"Open Streets, it's kind of a game changer for neighbourhoods like Ford City," said Gillian Benoit, chair of Ford City Residents In Action. "It is getting people that might not go from that end to this end."

"We put a lot of work into the area so we would like people to come out and see it."

Like many others, the only grievance Benoit had is the event is held once a year. She is hoping the city will consider hosting more throughout the different seasons.

People waiting in the middle of the Ouellette and University Avenue intersection for the next yoga session. (Meg Roberts/CBC News )

About the Author

Meg Roberts is a video journalist with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, based in St. John's. Email her at meg.roberts@cbc.ca.