Corp Comm Connects

Toronto to cancel summer events for 2nd year in a row
May 14, 2021
Michael Ranger

Some of Toronto’s largest crowd-drawing events will be facing another year of cancellations because of COVID-19.

The City of Toronto says it will issue no permits for events until after Labour Day (Sept. 6).

The cancellations include 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.

This means summer staples like the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and Taste of the Danforth will be axed for yet another year. Other major events that are impacted include the Beaches Jazz Festival and Toronto Honda Indy.

List of major in-person events that will be impacted:


The city had already announced it would be cancelling all city-led and city-permitted outdoor events up to and including Canada Day. This meant major festivities like the Juno Awards and Pride Parade were forced to move to virtual events.

The CNE said in February they were moving forward with plans to open this year, with organizers saying the event would go on as long as no government restriction were in place.

The event is a major economic driver for the city and reported a loss of $6 million due to the cancellation of last year’s event. The CNE welcomed 1.5 million guests in 2019.

In a statement released Friday, Mayor John Tory says he is committed to preserving the CNE.

“I am working with the Canadian National Exhibition to help the fair through this difficult year and prepare for a bigger and better in-person event in 2022,” said Tory. “The City supported The Ex when it had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and the City will once again step forward to support the CNE again this year.”

Also in February, the Ford government said they would be investing more than $7 million in the Reconnect Festival and Event Program.

The program aims to support festival and event organizers by offering Ontario communities safe events as the pandemic continues. Toronto was set to get over half of the province’s funding.

In the city of Toronto alone, the travel restrictions and lockdowns of the past year have resulted in more than $8 billion in lost visitor spending.

Destination Toronto said in March that the number inflates to more than $14 billion when expanded to include the entire Greater Toronto Area.