East-end jazz and food fests among signature summer events cancelled

To probably no one’s surprise at this point, the Beaches International Jazz Festival and the Taste of the Danforth have become the latest big, festive occasions to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are among the local summer events to be cancelled, as the city has extended its cancellation of permits for major festivals to the end of August.

Mayor John Tory announced the cancellations in his daily press briefing today.

“It is with deep regret that we are forced to extend the cancellation of large festivals to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Tory said. “Special events and festivals are critical to the livability, vitality and economic success of Toronto, and that is why we are launching the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program to ensure that when we defeat COVID-19, these festivals can return safely and contribute to Toronto’s economic recovery.”

The cancellations affect festivals, conferences and cultural programs held in municipally managed facilities or held in public locations like roads, parks and civic squares.

Events involving more than 250 people have been cancelled through to July 31 and those with 25,000 or more attendees have been cancelled through to Aug. 31.

The Beaches jazz fest which takes place annually on Queen Street East and in east-end outdoor venues had been scheduled for July 2 to 26.

The Taste of the Danforth street festival on Danforth Avenue was booked for Aug. 7–9.

Both usually attract tens of thousands of participants from local neighbourhoods and from across the Toronto, and are signature events for their communities.

Also among the major cancellations mentioned in the announcement today were the Salsa on St. Clair street festival and the Toronto Chinatown Festival.

The good news for all these events is that the city will use the money that would normally have been granted to festivals to support those that have been impacted by the pandemic, Tory said today.

The city’s Cultural Festivals Recovery Program is to provide financial and in-kind support to defray financial losses for festivals that were cancelled, to help pay suppliers including artists and small businesses, and prepare for next year.

Meanwhile some cultural events, like the Hot Docs Film Festival and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival have moved to streaming some of their presentations online.


Updated list of changes

Here’s the latest list of events that would have been upcoming but instead have been cancelled, postponed or moved to online in central, midtown and east-end Toronto, in alphabetical order.

Beaches International Jazz Festival 
Originally scheduled: July 2–26, Queen Street East and local outdoor venues.

Canada Day Fireworks
Originally scheduled: July 1, Stan Wadlow Park and Ashbridges Bay.

Canadian Music Week
Originally scheduled: May 18–23, various venues.
Was postponed to Sept. 8–13, but its website now says cancelled until 2021.

Doors Open Toronto
Originally scheduled: May 23–24, various buildings in Toronto.
Cancelled by city.

East York Canada Day Parade and Festival
Originally scheduled: July 1, East York and Stan Wadlow Park.
Cancelled. City co-hosting virtual celebrations.

Fairbank Summerfest
Originally scheduled: June 27–28, Eglinton Avenue West, West of Dufferin Street.
Postponed. New dates to be determined.

Hidden Gardens & Private Spaces
Originally scheduled: June 14, Cabbagetown gardens.

Hot Docs Film Festival
Originally scheduled April 30–May 10, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and other venues
Now streaming online May 28–June 24. See website.

Jewish Music Week
Originally scheduled: May 17–24, various venues including Al Green Theatre, Barbara Frum Library, Beth Tikvah Synagogue, Holy Blossom Temple.

Manulife Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart
Originally scheduled: June 7, various Toronto main streets.
Cancelled and replaced by Virtual Ride for Heart throughout June.

NXNE Music and Gaming Festival
Originally scheduled: June 13–19, various downtown venues.
Postponed to Aug. 11–16.

Pape Village Summerfest
Originally scheduled: June 6, Pape Avenue between Mortimer and Cosburn avenues.
Street festival cancelled.

Pride Toronto
Originally scheduled: June 28, Sherbourne Street and other streets in central and downtown Toronto.
Parade and festivities replaced by virtual events.

Requiem Pour L., Luminato Festival Toronto
Originally scheduled: June 11–14, Bluma Appel Theatre.

Riverdale ArtWalk
Originally scheduled: June 6–7, Jimmie Simpson Park.
Cancelled and replaced by Riverdale ArtWalk Online Show and Sale at Leslie Grove Gallery Online Store.

Riverside Easts & Beats StreetFest
Originally scheduled: June 6, Queen Street East from Don Valley Parkway to De Grassi Street.

Tafelmusik presents: A Handel Celebration
Originally scheduled: May 21–24, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W.

Taste of Lawrence
Originally scheduled: July 5–7, Lawrence Avenue East

Taste of the Danforth
Originally scheduled: Aug. 7–9, Danforth Avenue east of Broadview Avenue

TD Toronto Jazz Festival
Originally scheduled: June 18–28, various venues, including Koerner Hall, Bloor-Yorkville Village, and Danforth Music Hall.
Cancelled. Some performances rescheduled for later in year. See website.

Toronto Bach Festival
Originally scheduled: May 29–31, St. Barnabas-on-the-Danforth, Eastminster United Church and other locations.

Toronto Chinatown Festival
Originally scheduled: Aug. 22–23, downtown in Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West area.

Toronto Fringe Festival
Originally scheduled: July 1–12, various venues across Toronto.
Festival cancelled.

Toronto Jewish Film Festival
Originally scheduled: May 30–June 6, various film venues in central Toronto, midtown and North York.
Split into two parts: online May 30–June 7, in-theatre Oct. 22–Nov. 1. See website.

Toronto Smartphone Film Festival
Originally scheduled: June 12–14, Innis College, University of Toronto.
Postponed indefinitely. New dates to be determined.

Toronto Summer Music Festival
Originally scheduled: July 9–Aug. 1, various venues including Koerner Hall, Walter Hall and Heliconian Hall

Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival
Originally scheduled: Aug. 14–15, Innis College, University of Toronto.
Postponed to early 2021.

The Twenties: Snapshots of Everyday Life
Originally scheduled: To Aug. 7, City of Toronto Archives, 255 Spadina Rd.
Now: closed now until further notice.

Salsa on St. Clair 
Originally scheduled: July 4–6, St. Clair Avenue East, west of Bathurst Street.
Street festival cancelled.

Saturday Farmers Market
Originally scheduled: Saturdays, Evergreen Brick Works.
Cancelled till further notice.

Spring 2020 Film Series
Originally scheduled: March through June, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr.
Museum closed until further notice.

Originally scheduled: June 6–7, Woodbine park
Postponed. Rescheduled for Sept. 26–27.

Yorkville Exotic Car show
Originally scheduled: June 20, Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Bay Street
Show cancelled, postponed to the following year.


We are revising and updating this list as new information is received. If you know of any other local events that have been cancelled, postponed or moved online, please notify Streeter.