Thursday, June 01, 2006

Recent developments on the home front.

Pedestrian Sundays in the Kensington Market

Once again, I'm a volunteer in the PS Kensington Working Group. We organize a series of festival Sundays here in the Kensington Market. Some of the streets are blocked off from noon till 10 PM. and a variety of activities including live music, dancing and games take place in the pedestrian mall created.
It is free and last Sunday attracted about 20,000 visitors, a record. The weather was perfect for this time of the year, which probably helped.
Most of the heavy organizing is done by Shamez, Yvonne and Kelsey who are also involved in the CityIdol event earlier this year. I man the access gate at Augusta and Denison Square, in case emergency vehicles need to enter the pedestrian zone. I also help to silkscreen some t-shirts and shopping bags a week ago.
There are some who would like to see more frequent street closures or even a permanent closure. That just isn't practical as there are many small business and residents who need the open streets to accept deliverys, allow for customer pickups and to access their off-street parking locations.
Why have Pedestrian Sundays at all? I expect that each of the organizers would give a different reason. For some, it is a way to promote a car-free lifestyle. For others, it is to celebrate the unique charm of the market. Personally, I think it is a good way to let people know that the Kensington Market exists and is a destination for gourmet food shoppers and diners. Over the last 20 years, the market has become more of an entertainment and restaurant azrea than a source for those rare and exotic foods that the local IGA didn't carry. Now with superstores in every neighbourhood, there isn't the requirement to come here to get a lettuce that isn't iceberg, a cheese that isn't cheddar, swiss or mozzarella or meat that isn't plastic wrapped.

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