10 things You Didn't Know About Yonge-Dundas Square
While Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) has been around for over a decade and a half, providing free events, resources and festivals to the people of Toronto, there are still many misconceptions about what YDS is all about. For one thing, some think we are the entire intersection!
Here are the 10 things you didn’t know about Yonge-Dundas Square.
1. We are named after our location
You can find us in the middle of the action at the south east corner of Yonge Street and Dundas Street. While some people get confused and assume that YDS simply refers to the Yonge and Dundas intersection, it means so much more.
2. We are a City agency
YDS is an agency of the City. We operate events, host entertainment, enhance safety, community activities and maintain the public gathering space in Yonge-Dundas Square.
The City’s agencies provide a wide range of services all around Toronto, and each agency has a different mandate and responsibility to improving the area through events aimed at community involvement, action, outreach and local business partnerships. YDS is happy to be provide amazing events all summer, as well as keep the Square safe and enjoyable for visitors throughout the year.
3. We are 16 years old
That’s right, YDS has been around for over a decade and a half, establishing creative and engaging experiences for the downtown Toronto core. YDS was founded in 1996, as a part of the Yonge Street Regeneration Project, aimed at improving the appearance, safety and business opportunity in the area. Since then, we have been operating incredible artistic events and partnering with companies like Chevrolet to provide the best possible experience for tourists and locals alike.
4. We have a board of management
The Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Management was established by City Council in 2001. Under the City of Toronto Act 2006, the Board of Management is a city board, and council determines its mandates and structure. It manages, operates, controls and maintains the activities of the Square on behalf of the city as an outdoor public space. The YDS Board is made up of 15 members, including the City Councillor for Ward 13 and 10 public members, appointed through the City’s Public Appointments process.
Upcoming board meetings can be found here: https://www.ydsquare.ca/team
5. Most of our events are produced by third party clients
Some of the most exciting free events in music and culture have been staged at YDS with some huge names including a free Beyoncé concert by Best Buy in 2006. NXNE and Canada Day have had annual events in the Square every year since 2006, making them our longest standing events! This summer, we are excited to be hosting 15 festivals including Pride Toronto, Indigenous History Month, and Taste of the Middle East 2019.
For information on how to book the Square for an event, visit here.
6. Our annual programs
Every year we have been happy to provide popular weekly programs, and this year we are offering Yoga in the Square, City Cinema, Chevrolet Indie Fridays. Yoga in the Square is free rain or shine yoga once a week with lululemon ambassadors, City Cinema provides free outdoor screenings to your favorite classic films plus improv sets by The Second City Toronto, and on Chevrolet Indie Fridays you can catch a live emerging artist showcase.
7. We have our own security
As an agency of the City, one of our top priorities is public safety. We have security onsite 24/7 365 days of the year, and at all of our events, to make sure everyone attending has a safe, positive and enjoyable experience. YDS is a safe space in Toronto to enjoy the culture, weather and atmosphere of downtown.
8. We have 5 digital screens
With events such as live concerts, movies and promotional activations, we aim to provide a well-rounded digital experience you’ll never forget. We have five digital screens dedicated to our events and partners, that will allow for an enjoyable experience for our visitors and an affordable use of this technology by all Yonge-Dundas Square clients.
When events are not being staged, these screens will display visitor information, public art, video projects, digital art exhibits, and collaborations with other city organizations. Advertisements will not be sold for these screens in accordance with our bylaws.
9. We offer free Wi-Fi
YDS is pleased to offer free Wi-Fi on the Square, allowing for easy internet access during downtime, and a comfortable place to check in, surrounded by fountains, seating and a pleasant atmosphere to catch up on work or with friends.
10. We are run by a team of 10 people
At this point it’s clear that YDS is so much more than just an outdoor events venue and a public space. We have a diverse and proactive team to help keep our events and maintenance moving forward.
This public square, along with its large-scale events, festivals and installations all tie back to real people who work hard to provide Torontonians with the best free activities the city has to offer.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Rachel Manson is a Toronto based writer and comedian. She previously wrote for NOW Magazine Toronto’s Sex and Love column, and is currently writing for production companies in Toronto and Los Angeles. She was also chosen for the Women On Screen Incubator out of VICE Toronto, and her play is currently running at the InspiraTO Festival at Alumnae theatre.