Toronto’s late June weekend of Pride parades, a three-day celebration that has become a huge crowd magnet and local economic boost, is the most high-profile casualty as the city cancels festivals, conferences, concerts and other events for the next three months.
Mayor John Tory said Tuesday afternoon that the blanket cancellation encompasses all city-led events, as well as all events for which city permits have to be issued, and is in effect through the end of June.
“This pandemic is changing how we go about our daily lives in our city,” he told a city briefing.
“I know that these measures are hard. Festivals and events are treasured moments in neighbourhoods across the city, but the sooner we heed the advice of our medical experts on a consistent and sustained basis, the sooner we can get back to the things that we all enjoy and love.”
In a statement issued shortly after Mr. Tory spoke, Pride organizers confirmed the cancellation of the three-day event known as Festival Weekend.
“In alignment with the City of Toronto’s statement, Pride Toronto will no longer host the Festival Weekend on June 26-28,” the group said in a post on Twitter. “Stay proud and stay safe, Toronto.”
Mr. Tory cited advice from experts and a provincial law preventing public gatherings as forcing the move to cancel the next three months of events.
Eileen de Villa, the city’s Medical Officer of Health, warned at the same briefing that even stricter rules are under consideration, after saying too many Torontonians were not heeding physical-distancing orders now in place.
"I am in active discussions with all of our partners about the potential for other increased measures, and I will soon share what that means and what that looks like," Dr. de Villa said.
She warned that the longer it takes the city to comply, the longer emergency rules would stay in place: “I need each and every one of us to make our very best effort now to prevent the situation we are seeing in other jurisdictions.”
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