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Civic Impact

The Toronto East Bike Festival celebrates Scarborough on two wheels

“We want to show that people do ride bikes in Scarborough, despite the prevailing notion that it’s car-dominant. People ride not just for recreation, but for transportation,” says Marvin Macaraig. As well as being the Scarborough Cycles Project Coordinator at the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, Macaraig is one of the organizers of the Toronto East Bike Festival happening this Saturday, September 19, near Warden Station in Scarborough.

The Toronto East Bike Festival, a one-day event celebrating bikes and the east-end residents who ride them, will offer programming for kids and adults alike. Safety training, cupcake decorating, live music, and a “bike rodeo” featuring jousting and bike polo all add to the festivities. The festival will also feature a marketplace and a chance for festival-goers to check out bike-related initiatives. “The one I think of is is the Trailblazers Tandem Cycling Club, which allows low-vision people to cycle. This festival allows them to opportunity to broaden their impact,” says Macaraig.

Now in its third year, the TEBF has grown significantly in 2015, thanks in part to a grant from Game On Toronto. The grant was given as part of the celebrations surrounding the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Games, and allowed the festival to expand. Macaraig says that this year, the festival looked beyond Scarborough into East York. “The response from the local community and businesses has been remarkable. It’s a lot of like-minded community and cycling organizations.”

Most of all, the message that Macaraig wants the festival to send is that cycling is alive and well in Toronto’s east end. “Cycling culture isn’t just the downtown core. We like that the core has a strong support for cycling, but we want to build that out more. We really want to celebrate cycling in Scarborough.” He cites the trails, green loops, and paved trails that have opened in the last year, as well as the Pan Am path, some of which ran through Scarborough. “This festival isn’t the first step to celebrate cycling, but part of an ongoing process for the last couple years.”
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