September 22, 2006

Today is International Car Free Day

Toronto, Ontario – September 22 is International Car Free Day, an annual event celebrated by 100 million people across every continent, supported by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the United Nations, and some 1,500 cities worldwide. The event features street events and forums highlighting the problems caused by dependence on the private automobile, including air pollution, global warming, stress and safety issues. The event also emphasizes the rights of pedestrians and cyclists and the need for more and better public transit.

The event was first organized in France in 1998 as “In town without my car”. It was established as a European initiative by the European Commissioner for Environment in 2000; that year, 760 cities and towns were involved. In 2001, it rose to 1,005, and to 1,448 in 2002 and 2003.

The first Canadian event was held in Toronto in 2001, and in 2003, Montreal closed its main street, Saint-Catherine, for 10 city blocks, with 15,000 people filling the pedestrian area.

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