Street Play

A fun and simple way to support outdoor, unstructured play in local communities.

A permit program set up by municipalities so local residents can close their streets on a regular basis for play.

Street Play

Remember shouting ‘CAR!’ during a game of ball hockey on the street?

Remember knocking on your neighbour’s door to come out and play?

Remember playing on the street until the street lights came on?


Several municipalities are using Street Play programs to improve opportunities for outdoor free play for children in cities. Edmonton, Canada, London England, and now Toronto are all excellent examples.

The average roaming distance for children aged 10 has decreased from 10 KM in the 1950s to 100-250 meters today. 100-250 meters means children are not able to access their local parks or schools and need a free, accessible outdoor play option right outside their front doors.

Street Play Communities Around the World


The simple recipe for a happy street

Toronto Street Play. Get Playin’!

Apply 2019

2019 Application Deadlines:

  • Application deadline for July 1st start: May 1st.
  • Application deadline for September 1st start: June 1st.

Permit Application

Street Play FAQ Sheet

Street Play Toolkit

Street Play Reports

In 2016-2017, EDC worked with the City of Toronto Transportation Services and the Public Works Committee to develop the Toronto Street Play Pilot Project (TSPPP). We created a permit and process that allowed residents to close their neighbourhood streets on a weekly/biweekly basis for outdoor play. With a one-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and through collaborative efforts with the City, EDC temporarily closed seven street sections in one of Toronto’s inner urban neighbourhoods to support children’s outdoor play.

The TSPPP demonstrated that there is a large appetite for outdoor play right outside our front doors. Researchers from Ryerson University conducted an evaluation of the pilot project to assess impact.

Toronto Street Play Pilot Project Report

Opening Neighbourhood Streets for Children’s Play: Results from the Street Play Pilot Program in Toronto

Bring Street Play to Your Community

Currently, only a few wards within the City of Toronto have participated in the Street Play initiative. We would love to see more residents and streets engaged in Street Play.

To get started on bringing Street Play into your community, email

The Evolution of Street Play

Long-term vision

Street Play is an accessible program to support outdoor play in residential communities. Following the success of a pilot project in Toronto in 2017, EcoKids is working toward replicating the Street Play model in cities across the country, allowing every child the freedom to regularly play actively and independently near their own front door. Here’s what that might look like:

Stage 1: Permit


Establishing an easily accessible permit system for regular street closures for play.

Stage 2: Play Hours


Establishing a program whereby residential streets are closed on a regular schedule for Street Play (i.e. Mon-Fri 4-8pm and a few hours on the weekends), with cities providing infrastructure support in the form of Street Play wardens and barricades.

Stage 3: Play Infrastructure


Cities in Canada adopt a child-friendly city approach where children’s rights are recognized in city planning. Public space is designated for children’s play, just as public space is designated for parking, etc., including storage containers for play materials.