To slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Toronto is extending the cancellation of City-led and City-permitted outdoor major events to December 31.
Today’s announcement is based on public health advice and includes festivals and other large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the City or other public locations, such as roads, parks and Civic Squares.
City Hall, Metro Hall and Civic Centres continue to be closed to the public. This announcement does not include outdoor sport facility permits and activities; and other City facilities/sites that are permitted in Stage 3 of the Province of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening and comply with the current gathering limit restrictions. Professional sporting events are also not included in this decision.
Major festivals and events require long lead times for planning, rely on City sites, supports or permissions, and present higher public health risks given the potential for crowds and the need to maintain physical distancing.
This decision follows the cancellation of all such events up to September 30, announced by the City on July 13. It enables event organizers to make sound decisions in support of Public Health efforts and their business needs, access insurance, support impacted employees, manage sponsors and develop alternative approaches, such as virtual events.
The decision has been made in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, the City’s Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Police Service, and major event organizers, and supports the directive that physical distancing is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The need to sustain essential services also limits the City’s ability to provide support to third-party event organizers to ensure public safety.
Some City-led and City-permitted outdoor major events have already announced the cancellation of their event this year due to COVID-19 while others, such as the Original Santa Claus parade, will be announcing alternative plans in the near future. The City’s Cavalcade of Lights and New Year’s Eve celebration on Nathan Phillips Square are also cancelled.
Below is a list of major events impacted by this decision. The status listed is accurate as of September 9. Events with a status listed as pending will shift to cancelled or altered as determined by event organizers.
Many organizers are considering alternative delivery models such as virtual events. Event organizers with questions are encouraged to contact the relevant City permitting bodies, Toronto Police Service officers/liaisons or email CultureTO@toronto.ca.
To mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on festivals and events, the City has repurposed grant funding that was previously approved by City Council and launched the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program (CFRP), providing $565,000 to support cultural festivals that have been impacted by the pandemic.
In its efforts to support festivals and events, the City was aided by key partners providing in-kind services. These include Re-Solved, which donated software development services, as well as FORREC, BaAM Productions and the Leadership Emergency Arts Network, which provided peer-to-peer advice and guidance to members of the cultural festival and events industry.
More information about the resources available to support the arts and culture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic are available.
As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, residents are reminded to adhere to Toronto Public Health’s advice to stay home when they are ill, wash their hands often, stay within their social bubble of no more than 10 people, practise physical distancing with those outside of their social bubble, and wear a mask or face covering where mandatory or when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Wearing a mask or face covering is required in all indoor public spaces in Toronto.
Residents can learn about what to expect and what is required as Toronto moves into the new normal and they begin to visit more establishments and take part in more activities.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check for answers to commonly asked questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.