‘It’s been chaos’: Cirque du Soleil causes traffic circus at Etobicoke location

Cirque du Soleil is back in Toronto but has relocated to a brand new location in Etobicoke. As Tina Yazdani reports, area residents say the show has caused a traffic circus, that will only get worse in the coming weeks.

By Tina Yazdani

Cirque du Soleil has been back in Toronto for less than a week and already it is causing a traffic circus.

After hoisting its tent at Ontario Place last year, the iconic big top was forced to relocate due to redevelopment plans at the lakefront location. It’s now situated at the former site of the Mr. Christie factory in Etobicoke, bringing with it a traffic nightmare – not just for those attending the show but for the thousands of residents living in the area.

“It’s been chaos,” said Carrie Noble, who lives in a condominium across the street from the Cirque location.

“It took so long for me just to get into my underground parking. I can’t believe that I have to deal with this for the next two months.”

Area residents say they are concerned Cirque du Soleil didn’t think the decision through when choosing the location. 

“I don’t think they thought about the parking situation at all,” said Noble. “There’s so much land here, yes, but there are no through lanes for traffic.

The City of Toronto says it is aware of the traffic congestion as attendees exit the parking lot and that staff are reviewing traffic management options, working with organizers to reduce congestion as much as possible.

While city officials encourage attendees to take public transit if possible, the Lakeshore and Park Lawn area has long been criticized as a transit dead zone with few options.

The TTC says it will be adding extra bus service for this weekend to accommodate the increased traffic.

Cirque du Soleil officials have not commented on the concerns raised but are offering area residents a 20 per cent discount to attend the show for their inconvenience.

The show is set to run for 10 weeks meaning the issues could persist until the final performance on June 18. 

The Montreal-based entertainment company has signed a multi-year deal to return to the Etobicoke location.

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