A sea of people make their way up and down Douglas Street during Car Free YYJ on Sunday afternoon. The main thoroughfare was closed to traffic for most of the day as attendees checked out hundreds of craft, clothing, food and other vendors, as well as watched various styles of live entertainment along the streets from Courtenay to Caledonia streets. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Thousands take to their feet for Car Free YYJ in downtown Victoria

Iffy weather doesn’t deter participants in annual celebration of pedestrian friendly cities

Never mind the fact that Blanshard and Quadra Street were a tangled mess of traffic on Sunday, the thousands of Greater Victoria residents and visitors who came to check out the third annual Car Free YYJ along a large swath of Douglas Street downtown had plenty to keep them interested and happy.

With hundreds of vendors hawking everything from clothing and healing methods to ethnic food, and musical and cultural entertainment available on three different stages plus at a First People’s Festival, the day offered a little bit of everything.

Even the weather co-operated for the most part. What appeared at times to be an imminent rain shower managed to hold off to mere sprinkles.

Douglas Street was closed to traffic between Caledonia and Courtney streets starting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with through traffic allowed to cross along Fort, Yates and Johnson streets at certain intervals. Many chose to ride their bikes down to the event, with bike valet parking available, appropriately, on Pandora Avenue, home of the city’s new two-way bike lanes.

Meanwhile, cars looking to avoid the closures backed up along the nearest north-south corridors of Blanshard and Quadra streets.

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