Car Free Day kicks off June 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Douglas Street. Contributed photo.

Car Free Day kicks off June 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Douglas Street. Contributed photo.

Car Free Day rolls into Victoria this weekend

Event aims to improve appreciation of the impact that car travel has on the environment

Tim Collins

VICTORIA NEWS

The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), in conjunction with B.C. Transit and the City of Victoria, are primed to celebrate Father’s Day by hosting Car Free Day.

One of the year’s most anticipated events, Car Free Day runs June 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and covers nine blocks along Douglas Street from Chatham/Caledonia to Courtney streets, where organizers have invited local artisans to ply their wares to the tens of thousands of visitors to the celebration area.

Visitors will also be invited to sample a variety of food from local restaurants, taste some goodies on offer throughout the celebration area, indulge themselves at one of the three alcohol licensed areas, or browse the shops along Douglas Street.

Free stages on Yates and Fisgard streets will feature an all-day eclectic mix of entertainment, including performances by the Le La La Dancers, The New Souls, Tyler Harvey, Rugged Uncle and more. The entertainment on each of the stages begins at 11:30 a.m., with the last acts taking the stage at 4:50 p.m.

From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., buses that use Douglas Street will be re-routed onto Blanshard between Bay and Courtney Streets and temporary stops will be set up on Blanshard, corresponding to the stop locations on Douglas.

For east-west routes, Johnson, Yates and Fort Streets will all be open, with traffic control personnel on-hand to ensure pedestrian safety.

The re-routing will mean that June 18 the online Trip Planner and schedules will not be accurate for affected routes affected and customers should expect longer travel times and waits at bus stops, according to a Transit B.C. statement.

Customers planning to take transit to B.C. Ferries are also encouraged to take an earlier bus to ensure they arrive at the ferry terminal on time.

The goal of the event, according to the DVBA, is to make the downtown a place of celebration, to expose Douglas Street as a shopping destination for people who may not have travelled downtown for some time, and to improve residents’ appreciation of the impact that car travel has on the environment.

In relation to that final point, B.C. Transit encourages those attending the event to consider travelling downtown by transit.

Last year’s Car Free Day saw more than 35,000 visitors take part in the free family-themed event.

With a nine-block stretch of Douglas Street being blocked off to traffic for much of the day, there will be changes in regular transit service in the downtown core. See bctransit.com.

For more information on the event, visit downtownvictoria.ca/events/car-free-yyj. Information on transit disruptions can be found at bctransit.com.

editor@vicnews.com