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Toronto Marathon highlights a busy weekend in the city

Last Updated May 4, 2018 at 5:26 am EST

Runners taking part in the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon. Photo via Twitter/@torontomarathon.

Toronto is always bustling with energy, and this weekend is no different. There are so many events taking place, that you will need to put them in your calendar. One of them is the Toronto Marathon, which runs through several areas of the city. This is also the weekend that Centre Island opens for a new season.

Run, walk, and support
It will be an emotional time for those who are running, walking, or supporting those taking part in the Toronto Marathon on Sunday. Three of the main events — marathon, half-marathon and relay — start at Mel Lastman Square and continue along a stretch of Yonge Street in North York. The neighbourhood has been the scene of tragedy, but also of people coming together in solidarity. That supportive spirit will continue to embrace the city this weekend, as the marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay, 10-kilometre run, and five-kilometre run and walk navigates from one neighbourhood to another.

Around 14,000 people from Toronto, across the country and around the world are participating in the event, which also supports the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and the Hospital for Sick Children. It all starts at 7:30 a.m. with the 10-kilometre run, followed by the marathon, marathon relay, five-kilometre run, half-marathon, and the five-kilometre walk. The marathon and half-marathon events start in North York and make their way along Yonge and into the downtown core, along Lake Shore Boulevard, to the Humber Bay Shores area, back onto Lake Shore and ending at Ontario Place. The 10-kilometre run starts near Yonge and Bloor streets and finishes at Ontario Place. The five-kilometre run and walk starts and ends at Ontario Place. Click here for the route maps.

Road closures start at 6 a.m. and will be in effect along Yonge and other streets bounded by Bayview Avenue in the east, South Kingsway in the west, Lake Shore Boulevard in the south and Finch Avenue in the north. The following ramps on the Gardiner and the DVP will also be closed:

  • Eastbound Gardiner ramp to Jarvis Street from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Westbound Gardiner ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • No access to westbound Lake Shore Boulevard at Spadina Avenue from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • DVP Bayview/Bloor ramp to Bayview Avenue from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Click here for a full list of the road closures.

Cherry blossoms starting to bloom
With the arrival of warm weather, the cherry blossoms trees are starting to flower in High Park. On its website, officials at the High Park Nature Centre say they “expect some blooms on the trees this weekend, with many more by May 9-14.” Drivers can expect traffic delays the area during peak viewing times — 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends.

MS Walk
Downsview Park will play host to a special fundraiser to support people living with multiple sclerosis in the GTA. The Toronto Mandarin MS Walk is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday, with participants checking in at 9:30 a.m. Participants will walk either a 2.5-kilometre route or a five-kilometre route through Downsview Park. After the walk, there will be a BBQ lunch, entertainment, and awards. Event organizers have a fundraising goal of $63,000, which will go towards multiple sclerosis research, and to help people living with the autoimmune disease.

Travel to the island
Centreville Amusement Park will be opening for a new season on Saturday, and will stay that way for every weekend in May. The amusement park opens as of June 1. Last year, the park, as well as Centre Island and other Toronto islands, were closed until late July due to high water levels. Click here for the ferry schedule.

Bowling to save cats
You can be the knight in shining armour for every cat in our city that is abandoned, sick and injured from abuse or neglect, or is at risk of being euthanized. This Saturday, bring your charitable goodness to a bowl-a-thon to raise money for Toronto Cat Rescue. It will be held at the Kennedy Bowl from noon to 3 p.m. Last year, the event raised $25,000, and this year, the event hopes to bring in $35,000. There will be pizza and prizes, and you are encouraged to wear your cat tails and ears — but that is optional. If you are not able to bowl, you can still donate to the cat rescue.

Park and Bark Dog Show
Dog owners are encouraged to bring their pups out to an outdoor pop-up shop in the Yonge and Davisville area on Saturday. The one-day outdoor event will feature free samples and contests, as well as speakers and experts to talk to. If you happen to look like your canine, there will also be a special “Dog and Owner” look-alike contest. It takes place at 1943 Yonge St. just north of Davisville Avenue in the large parking lot.

Toronto has many stories
Learn more about Toronto’s past and its path to the future by walking through the city. Named after author and urbanist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walk aims to bring people together through citizen-led walking tours, which start on Friday and run until the end of September. Some of the walks this weekend are:

  • Sculpture and the City — these pieces of art are everywhere, but how did they get there and who paid for them?
  • Crosstown: Transforming York South-Weston Through Transit — a look at the physical transformation between West Road and Blackthorn Avenue along the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project
  • From Town to City in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood — how the Town of York outgrew its colonial roots in the 1800s to become the City of Toronto
  • The Pulse of the Junction; Our Stories — learn how the railroad played a role in the development of the neighbourhood to what it is now, shaped by a cultural mosaic, architecture, breweries, and local businesses


Paddle the Don
Paddle the Don is celebrating 25 years as an event on Sunday. Since 1993, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has been giving people a unique opportunity to celebrate the Don River watershed by paddling from Ernest Thompson Seton Park to the mouth at the Keating Channel. The TRCA says participants will experience a natural adventure in an urban environment, and learn to honour and connect with the Don River.