Throwing a laneway event is an excellent way to bring your community together, whether for a particular cause or just to have fun! We've outlined the process of throwing a laneway event for you, including a general procedure and examples of successful laneway events from around the world. Our guide also includes ideas of potential funding sources, permits that may be required, and local key contacts that can help with organizing an event.

Laneway events can include:  

•    Farmers’ markets
•    Annual laneway cleanup days
•    Music and art festivals
•    Laneway parties and BBQs
•    Community potlucks
•    Laneway greening days
•    Movie nights
•    Garage sales
•    Live street art painting parties

Please note that Toronto’s laneways are used as service and emergency access routes; therefore any fixed set up (tables, chairs, booths, equipment) must be placed in adjacent non right-of-way space such as parks, garages, parking pads, and backyards. For tips for specific types of laneway event see Section 4 of our full guide.

sample Event To-Do List

Invite the Community
Inform the residents whose properties abut the laneway that you will be having a laneway event (and what activities will be taking place), request their attendance, and leave a contact number and/or online platform for any concerns/suggestions they may have. The easiest way to do this is often to drop a flyer in the mailboxes of the affected parties. See our full guide for a helpful flyer template.

We recommend setting up a Facebook event page for the event where all the attendees can share information and leave notes. Just create the page beforehand, and include the address on the flyer.

Pre-Event Clean-Up
If the laneway needs a clean-up, you may want to organize such a clean-up just before the event.  One option is to recruit volunteers, and make it part of the event itself.

Make sure any tables/chairs and equipment you set up leaves ample space (at least 3 meters) for cars and emergency vehicles to pass by.

Make sure there are bathroom facilities available. For example, the Ossington Village Alleyway Party rents a couple of port-a-potties, which is the only expense for the party, and paid for through attendee donations.

Post-Event Tidy up
Make sure all the garbage is cleaned up, and the site is tidy following the event.

Read our complete Laneway Greening Guide for more planning tips.

YIMBY collage of laneway textures at the Bloordale Laneway Crawl. Photo by Katrina Afonso

YIMBY collage of laneway textures at the Bloordale Laneway Crawl. Photo by Katrina Afonso