Throwing a laneway event is an excellent way to bring your community together, for a particular cause or just to have fun! We've outlined the process of throwing a laneway event for you, including a general procedure and examples of successful laneway events from around the world. Our guide includes ideas of potential funding sources, permits that may be required, and local key contacts that can help with organizing an event.

Laneway events can include:  

•    Farmers’ markets
•    Annual laneway cleanups
•    Music and art festivals
•    Laneway dinner parties and BBQs
•    Community potlucks
•    Laneway greening days
•    Movie nights
•    Garage sales
•    Live street art painting parties

Please note that Toronto’s laneways are used as service and emergency access routes; therefore any fixed set up (tables, chairs, booths, equipment) must be placed in adjacent non right-of-way space such as parks, garages, parking pads, and backyards. For tips for specific types of laneway events see Section 4 of our full guide.

sample Event To-Do List

Invite the Community
Inform the residents whose properties abut the laneway that you will be having a laneway event, and let them know what activities will be taking place. Request their attendance and leave your contact information in case they have any concerns or suggestions. The easiest way to do this is to drop a flyer in the mailboxes of the affected parties. See our full guide for a helpful flyer template.

We recommend setting up a Facebook event page where all the attendees can share information and leave notes. Just create the page beforehand, and include the URL on the flyer.

Pre-Event Clean-Up
If the laneway needs some love, you may want to organize a community clean-up just before the event.  One option is to recruit volunteers, and make it part of the event itself.

When setting up tables, chairs, and any equipment, make sure to allow for ample space (at least 3 meters) for cars and emergency vehicles to pass by.

Make sure there are bathroom facilities available. For example, the Ossington Village Alleyway Party rents a couple of port-a-potties, which is the only expense for the event, paid for through attendee donations.

Post-Event Tidy up
Be sure to clean-up any garbage and leave a tidy site following the event.

Read our complete Laneway Event Guide for more planning tips.

YIMBY collage of laneway textures at the Bloordale Laneway Crawl. Photo by Katrina Afonso

YIMBY collage of laneway textures at the Bloordale Laneway Crawl. Photo by Katrina Afonso