More than Christmas fun is cancelled—or moved online

The cancellation of Toronto’s 115th Santa Claus Parade is getting most of the attention — deservedly, since the event is usually the largest and most adored one-day celebration in Toronto each year. Especially with the youngsters.

But Wednesday’s announcement by the city has shut down dozens of live festivities, affecting almost every community in Toronto.

Some events like Nuit Blanche, the nighttime revelry among of art installations that has in recent years extended its reach from central Toronto into further-flung neighbourhoods, may continue in virtual fashion.

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Others, like the pumpkin giveaway and revelry in Fairbank Village, have been cancelled altogether.

And organizers of quite a few, like the Riverside Halloween Fest on Queen Street East and the Greek OHI Day Parade on Danforth Avenue, have yet to decide which way to go — virtual or cancellation.

(See the list of local events affected below.)

Nuit Blanche to go virtual
NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Nuit Blanche, which extended out Danforth Avenue last year, is among events planning to go virtual this year.

The announcement, which name-checked all coming festivals and other large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the city or at public locations, was based on public health advice, the city said.

The decision follows the cancellation of all such events up to Sept. 30, announced by the city on July 13 when the Beaches Jazz Festival and Taste of the Danforth were affected.

To sweeten the blow and perhaps to help keep the shutdown events afloat for future years, the city is providing $565,000 to support cultural festivals impacted by the pandemic, according to the news release.

Plans for how a virtual Santa Claus parade will work have yet to be announced.

“It’s important that kids know that Christmas is not cancelled,” Mayor John Tory said. ”
Christmas will not be cancelled, and we’re working on a way to make sure that Santa Claus can still come to town.”


Events completely cancelled

  • Canadian and Chinese Traditional Art Show
  • Cavalcade of Lights
  • Fairbank Village Pumpkin Giveaway
  • Halloween on Church
  • Himalayan Mela
  • Just for Laughs Toronto Street Festival
  • Korean Week
  • MEC Toronto Race SIX
  • New Year’s Eve on Nathan Phillips Square
  • Pumpkin Parades
  • Smoke’s Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship
  • Toronto Christmas Market
  • Toronto Waterfront Marathon


Events to move online

  • CIBC Run for the Cure
  • Festival of Lights
  • Light the Night
  • Nuit Blanche
  • One of a Kind Show
  • Ride to Defeat Diabetes for JDRF
  • Santa Claus Parade Toronto


Events undecided as of Sept. 23

  • Beaches Santa Claus Parade
  • Beaches Lions Christmas Tree Sale
  • Bloor Yorkville Holiday Magic
  • Christmas in the Square with The Salvation Army
  • Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus parade
  • Fairbank Village – Light Up the Holidays
  • Fred Victor’s Share the Warmth
  • Greek OHI Day Parade
  • Hanley Halloween
  • Heddington Halloween
  • Holiday Fair in the Square
  • Kensington Market Winter Solstice
  • KidzFest
  • North Etobicoke Santa Claus Parade
  • Riverside Halloween Fest