Elgin Street reopening to two-way traffic on Dec. 16

From left: Christa Blaszczyk, Susan Murray and Robin Coull are among the Elgin Street merchants that have had their businesses disrupted by the 2019 road closures. Photo by Mark Holleron

In an early Christmas present to merchants all along Elgin Street, the popular downtown thoroughfare will reopen to two-way traffic on Dec. 16 following 11 months of reconstruction.

Since January, stretches of Elgin have been closed to transit and vehicle traffic from Catherine Street up to Laurier Avenue for a $36.3-million revitalization project aimed at replacing aging infrastructure and making the street more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly.

The urban facelift will resume early next year with utility upgrades and work on sidewalks, landscaping and public art installations. Construction is expected to wrap up by the end of 2020.

All year long, business owners along the street have banded together to promote their shops and restaurants during the disruption through the “I Dig Elgin” campaign. The initiative has been responsible for the clever song parodies posted on fencing along the construction sites, and the campaign website provides updates to residents on construction progress.

To help promote traffic to Elgin Street during the construction, City Hall has offered free parking on evenings and weekends to offset the loss of parking spaces. City council plans to bring forward a motion to extend the free parking program into 2020.