Toronto cancels festivals until Sept. 30 as city sees 40 new COVID-19 cases daily


Toronto cancels festivals until Sept. 30-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
People in Toronto stand on a bridge overlooking a Nuit Blanche installation in Nathan Phillips Square in October 2019. (Michael Aitkens/CBC)

Toronto has cancelled all city-led outdoor special events until the end of September as the city continues to see about 40 new cases of COVID-19 daily, officials said Monday.

Events that have been cancelled include festivals and other large gatherings that are either organized by, or receive permits from, the city, Mayor John Tory told reporters at a city hall news briefing.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, scheduled for Sunday Oct.18, has also been cancelled but a virtual race will be held instead from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31.

And Nuit Blanche, a free all-night contemporary art event, will move online on Oct. 3.

“To continue the progress made in reducing the spread of COVID-19, the city is extending the cancellation of city-led and city-permitted outdoor special events through September 30,” the city said in a news release on Monday.

“All outdoor special event permits through to September 30 are cancelled, as well as the permit for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 18.”

The Toronto International Film Festival, meanwhile, will announce what it plans to do this year, Tory said.

The mayor said the city has to make decisions based on the advice of public health officials.

“I know, like many other things I have had to inform you of, that this is a decision that is very disappointing for many. It is a difficult decision for us to make, but we believe that it is the right thing for us to do based on public health advice,” Tory said.

Tory said the ban includes events held at outdoor sites managed by the city, but it does not include outdoor sport facility permits and activities permitted by the city’s parks, forestry and recreation division that are allowed in Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan.

It also doesn’t apply to professional sporting events.

Runners at the starting line of the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, Oct., 20, 2019-Milenio Stadium-Toronto
Runners at the starting line of the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, Oct., 20, 2019. The event is cancelled this year but organizers will hold a virtual race instead. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

As for Nuit Blanche this year, it will not hold “large scale in-person events” to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the city said. The event attracts 1.2 million annually.

“Instead, Nuit Blanche will engage its wide audience through an improved digital experience, including a new public archive of works presented at Nuit Blanche Toronto in the past, an expanded series of Nuit Talks, podcasts and live streamed dialogues, and special online events on October 3,” the city said.

Previously, to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city had cancelled all city-led and city-permitted festivals and events with attendance of more than 250 people through July 31 and those with attendance of 25,000 or more through August 31.


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