Checking in with Downtown

Part 9: The Return of Open Streets | May 15, 2024

Mark your calendars, Open Streets is returning for 2024!

Open Streets Hamilton, a community-driven initiative dedicated to cultivating vibrant public spaces and promoting physical activity, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion, is returning later this month!

The world’s very first Open Streets dates back to 1974 in Bogota Colombia, for Cyclovia or the translated “Cycle-way”. It involved closing major streets to traffic on Sundays and still runs to this day, with over 122 km of roadway being opened for activities and pedestrianization. This idea has then been adapted throughout multiple locations across the globe, but the key concept and goal remain the same – temporarily open streets to people as an additional public space, while keeping them closed to cars. Hamilton has implemented similar styled events in the past, and the City’s first Open Streets Temporary Linear Urban Park on King Street East was held in June 2023. This event closed four kilometers of King Street from 10 am to 2 pm and was attended by an estimated 15,000 individuals.

After the success of last year, Open Streets is back with not one but two dates to enjoy in 2024! Open Streets Hamilton will happen on Sunday, May 26 and June 23 from 10 am to 2 pm each day. King Street East will be closed to traffic from John Street to Gage Avenue, and instead opened for residents to walk, cycle, and engage with the street as they see fit. In total, 3.6km of car free space will be turned into a temporary linear urban park, with exciting physical activity stations and other activities included within the route. Over both days attendees can find over 60 community partners, businesses, 7 activation hubs, BIAs, and more along the route, providing fun and excitement for all attendees. One of the activity hubs, The John Street Hub, is located within the heart of the downtown core, and includes the following programming:

  • Boys and Girls Club Hamilton – Halton: Engage with Us
  • Music on the Street presented by the City of Hamilton – 11 am to 1 pm outside of Mills Hardware
  • Downtown Hamilton BIA – Lawn Games Lane
  • Green Venture – Lightening Bike and Eco-Friendly Activities
  • Downtown Bike Hounds – Cycling Assessment Tent and Free Tire Pump Ups (May only)

At the other activation hubs along the route attendees can enjoy a variety of other activities such as a bike decorating station, yoga class, free cooking demos, the HPL bookmobile, a silent disco and dance party, pickleball, massage therapy, free e-scooter demos, a selfie sign and more. You can find more information about each of the hubs and their associated activities here, make sure you take a careful look to see what activities are available each month.


Open Streets is an exciting opportunity to experience King Street East in a new way, surrounded by community. Whether you plan to walk, bike or roll on the route, c’mon down to experience what the activation hubs and community groups have to offer! You can find more information about Open Streets here, and then follow them on Instagram for more updates.

If you are a Downtown Hamilton BIA member business and would like to be featured in a blog post, please email Emily Gilruth at



The Downtown Update is the e-newsletter sent by the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area to keep both members of the BIA and interested supporters of Downtown up-to-date with activities and issues in the core of our community.