Here is a special guest post written by Jason Campbell, Chair of the Bloor Improvement Group:
Often forgotten, neglected or traditionally used only as throughways, laneways serve a purpose without actually maximizing potential. As urban centres become denser, collectively we need to start thinking outside of the norm to unleash underused public realm.
Initiatives like the Laneway Crawl create opportunities for people to shift their perspective about how public realm are used resulting in benefits for communities within cities. These opportunities allow for positive change through interventions that bring families, friends and neighbours together. When this happens, success is achieved.
During the inaugural Laneway Crawl in Bloordale in 2015, it was evident that some confusion still surrounded the idea of what a laneway crawl actually is; which, is part of the fun since it can be pretty much anything. From lemonade stands to garage door murals and live music to haircuts, every participant gets an opportunity to curate their own intervention to collectively form the Laneway Crawl.
People met and connections were made which help to foster community. These connections also help continue the conversation about positive change to public realm and how creativity can be implemented to the benefit of all. This all happened because of the Laneway Crawl.
During last year's crawl, I was amazed and inspired to see how well residents and small business volunteered together to create something fun for the community. One fun intervention gave children excitement by seeing reptiles from Earth Echoes being paraded through the laneways to the background tunes of a DJ spinning records. I look forward to seeing the "Reptilia Parade" again this year!
The Laneway Project is paying attention to Toronto's changing urban landscape and recognize the importance of creating positive public space in communities. As Chair of the Bloor Improvement Group, I feel privileged that the Laneway Project sees Bloordale as one of many special places in the city to host their 2016 Laneway Crawl series.