A message from our outgoing Executive Director and Board President

Over the past decade, Keagan Gartz has played a crucial role in transforming and building Cycle Toronto to be the organization it is today.

Keagan on bike at shaw street

It is with bittersweet emotions that I share that this will be my last week as Executive Director of Cycle Toronto. Being part of the movement toward building a safe cycling city for all has been a tremendously meaningful part of my life over the last 10 years. I have learned so much from our amazing staff, incredible Board members, and hundreds of volunteers who have all poured themselves into making this city a better place. I have been unbelievably lucky to have the opportunity to serve Cycle Toronto in so many capacities, and to have worked with such dedicated, strategic, and caring people throughout my time here. But all good things must come to an end, and with a new term of council on the horizon, it felt like the right time to step away and make space for Cycle Toronto’s next chapter. 

I am proud of how far our organization has come. We are a force at City Hall. We have shifted the public perception of cycling away from an identity and fringe activity, toward being a vital part of Toronto's modern urban transportation system. We have extended our work beyond Toronto’s downtown and prioritized equity and anti-oppression into our policies and practices. We have executed winning campaigns and shaped policies. We have created a diverse portfolio of programs and services that build bridges across the public, private and non-profit sectors. We have sustained committed members that have been with us from the start, and we are reaching more communities in more parts of the city than ever before. We have gone beyond talking about bike lanes and changed the conversation about cycling into the story of safe, vibrant, complete streets. We have a lot to be proud of.

I live in an apartment near Bloor Street West and Shaw Street. When I started working at Cycle Toronto in 2013, my neighbourhood was an inhospitable place for cycling, but it was ripe with potential. People were literally risking their lives just trying to get where they needed to go. Now, when I bike in my neighbourhood, I don’t just see the bold and fearless on a bike. I see young parents taking their kids to school. I see seniors getting their groceries. I see teenagers socializing. I see people using motorized wheelchairs. I see people delivering food. I see people taking their time, not vigilantly checking their blind spots and darting around traffic, but truly enjoying cycling for the fun activity it is, and enjoying their streets. They’re biking not because it’s challenging, but because we have made it easy. Bike lanes like on Bloor were hard fought for, and we know that neighbourhoods across Toronto by and large don’t have safe and active mobility options like mine does. But I know that Cycle Toronto, with a lot of organizing, champions, and a vision, can make a citywide network of complete streets possible. Cycling can be a choice for everyone, if we build it that way.

I believe in this organization and the strength we have built through community. With Alison Stewart at the helm of our advocacy & public policy work, Michael Longfield spearheading our partnerships & programs, and a stellar team in Sonam Vashisth as our Engagement Lead, Taneisha Lawrence as our Community Outreach Coordinator, and Maggie Crawford as our Communications Lead, I am confident that we are in good hands. And with our partners, volunteers and supporters in tow, I know that we can build safe, active and vibrant streets across every ward of Toronto.
 
With gratitude,
 
Keagan


Message from Ashley Quan, President of the Cycle Toronto Board of Directors: 

Cycle Toronto’s Board of Directors would like to thank Keagan Gartz for nearly ten years of dedicated service to Cycle Toronto as she steps down as the Executive Director. 

Over the past decade, Keagan has played a crucial role in transforming and building Cycle Toronto to be the organization it is today. She began with Cycle Toronto on a short-term contract, and quickly grew to become an essential leader within the organization, including as Director of Programs & Engagement and Interim Executive Director, before finally serving as the Executive Director since 2020. 

Prior to becoming Executive Director, Keagan created and expanded upon some of Cycle Toronto’s key programming and initiatives, including Bike Month, Bike Winter, group rides, Bike Valet, and the Road Rules workshop and video series. She established and strengthened our relationships with key community partners, ward groups, volunteers, and committees to further our collective impact and influence.

During her tenure as interim Executive Director (twice!) and Executive Director, she oversaw many collective victories that helped create safer streets in Toronto, including the massive expansion of cycling infrastructure of the last three years. She also led the way on key organizational transformation initiatives: from guiding the transition to charitable status, driving key equity policies including our Public Commitment to Anti-Oppression and Anti-Racism, and advancing our presence, advocacy, and partnerships into new areas of the city. 

The Board is pleased to announce that Michael Longfield (Director of Partnerships & Engagement) and Alison Stewart (Senior Advocacy Manager) will be Acting Co-Executive Directors and will lead the organization until a permanent Executive Director is hired. The Board of Directors will be sending out the job posting for a permanent Executive Director soon and would appreciate your help in spreading the word. The Board is excited to continue growing and improving Cycle Toronto. 

It has been a pleasure to work with Keagan, and the Board is grateful for her incredible commitment, vision, and hard work over her tenure with Cycle Toronto. She has built an amazing staff team and is leaving the organization in great shape for the future. 

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