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HOW TO: How to run a Ward Group – A glimpse at Ward 18

4a04462165d7e16ec9253f73dc3327cfJust a quick shout-out to Ward 18 in the city’s west end.  They’ve released the minutes from their latest meeting and there are some things in there other groups (or wannabe groups) can learn.

FUN! Ward 18 has really stood out for me during the past year as I try to keep abreast of bike stuff in Toronto (and in turn pass it along to you here on BikingToronto) as they run unique and fun sounding events. A Garden Ride, a Polka Ride, a Portugese Custard Tart Ride.  Fun is how you get people involved and engaged.  Not politics, not advocacy.  Fun.  Politics and advocacy are a by-product of engaged and committed people… brought together by fun.

ENGAGEMENT: Ward 18 pays attention to infrastrucure – where bikelanes are needed, and how to improve access to existing trails, but they realize that infrastructure is only 1 of many agenda items.  I’ve read too many Ward group minutes that talk only about bikelanes and nothing about engaging the ward community.  With enough engagement, the infrastructure is easier to get.

PARTNERSHIPS:  Ward 18’s first item under planning events for 2014-15? “Keep W18 events free and accessible to all.”  This is followed by an idea to engage with cyclists in nearby apartment buildings by working with supers to get access to party rooms and lobbies, perhaps working with Bike Pirates to offer free tune-ups. Ward 18 understands that partnerships often make things easier.

Anyhow, these are my quick impressions from their latest minutes.  Go download the PDF for yourself.

Learn More:


via: Ward 18 July meeting notes posted – next meeting is Monday, August 11 | Cycle Toronto.

  • hamish

    The west end ward groups are great! At times I’ve been far less smitten with some of the other cells and overall choices, but there’s a lot of good work and energy from these folks, perhaps in part because the problems are salient and there’s a black hole for safer biking admitted to by both bike plan and bike manager, except for Bloor, which the City and Ms. Bailao are refusing to do up with bike safety after repaving, contrary to Places to Grow Act 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. I’m glad they’re getting some public praise.

  • Liz Sutherland

    You’re very kind — thanks, Joe (and thanks to Hamish for his comments). It was our last ward group leader, Mark Sherman, who advised us to make sure that “fun” was always at the top of the agenda! We don’t accomplish everything we set out to in Ward 18 (at least not in the short term), but for a group of volunteers, we’re starting to figure things out. We have a gaping hole in our cycling infrastructure in Ward 18 so our work is cut out for us (especially trying to get bike lanes on Bloor, our #1 priority). We’d love to exchange ideas with others who are running Ward Groups, too! Happy cycling, everyone!

  • Thanks Liz. You are doing great work.

    I saw this in the AGO a few months ago, and had to take a photo. I also try to think of it whenever I’m thinking of building community around something.