Parkdale Roadrunners was started in a cafe/gallery that was opened because a few friends felt there was a lack of places to meet and hang out in Parkdale. We wanted to create a space where you could sit for hours and meet with friends, see upcoming artists and meet neighbors at the monthly art shows, etc. Over the years we had to close The Mascot. Mostly because the part of the city we helped grow, turned into the hot spot and gentrification had more than tripled the rent. It was a love/hate feeling because ultimately we accomplished our goal, people from outside of Parkdale were now coming into frequent some of the best restaurants/bars in the city. Seeing incredible art shows at new galleries and shopping at amazing retail stores.
The Parkdale Roadrunners is a crew that takes much pride in being inclusive.
While battling our own demons, we found running. As a joke, we made a few shirts that read, “I’d rather be smoking” on the front and “The Mascot running club” on the back. Runners from outside of Parkdale would stop us on runs and come into the cafe to ask how they could join? When does the club run? How do they get more info? There was no run club, and with that our hand was forced, we started one. We quickly saw that just like The Mascot, people were coming in from all over the city, as far as Oshawa for our Tuesday runs, and they’d show up every Tuesday. Shortly after we changed the name to Parkdale Roadrunners to reflect the area we live in and love.
Over the years we have hosted hundreds of runners from all over the world, raised tens of thousands of dollars for charities directly in Parkdale (there’s even a room at St Joseph’s hospital cancer wing named after PDRR), created a safe space for a ladies’ only run, set the bar for cheer stations at races, celebrated crew members getting married, unfortunately, mourned the loss of too many, and have seen the future of PDRR grow with more than a few babies. We’ve also seen countless runners achieve lofty goals, travel the world while repping Parkdale, been featured in global print publications highlighting Parkdale and have directly inspired many to create their own crews/clubs to build within their own communities.
That all happened over the past 9+ years. Before IG, before brands took notice, before crew culture was cool. All of that being said, PDRR was formed from a place of building community and welcoming others into the part of the city that we’ve lived in, gone to school in, worked in and held the foam finger for.
All of our runners are not from Parkdale and we wouldn’t have it any other way. If we run by you on a Tuesday night we hope you can remember why we run through Parkdale and please know you’re always welcome to join us, no matter where you’re from. Rain or shine, always on time, no one left behind.