By ALAN SHACKLETON
The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on large public gatherings and park permits in the City of Toronto means the annual Victoria Day fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay has been cancelled for this year.
“I can confirm that, unfortunately, the Victoria Day fireworks at Ashbridges Bay are cancelled,” said Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford. “This is one of a long list of big sacrifices we’re having to make to protect the health and well-being of our community.”
The future of a number of other traditional summer events, including the Canada Day fireworks displays in both East York and Ashbridges Bay, the East York Canada Day Parade, and the Beaches International Jazz Festival, have still not been finalized.
“What happens for Canada Day and Jazz Festival is a little harder to predict,” said Bradford. “All City of Toronto permits for mass gatherings in parks and other public spaces have been cancelled up to and including June 30th. The city is reviewing applications for events after June 30th in case the public health situation improves to allow certain kinds of events to continue.”
Kathy Johnson, Chair of the East York Canada Day Committee, said her organization is awaiting developments on where the COVID-19 virus situation stands in the next several weeks and what guidance is coming from city and health officials.
“Whether the traditional parade, festival and fireworks occur this year will depend on the advice and guidance of city, provincial and federal medical health officials,” she said.
“Our focus continues to be a safe and festive celebration of Canada Day in East York. When we have more clarity about the impact of COVID-19 on East York Canada Day Celebrations the planning committee we will be communicating with East Yorkers – please stay tuned.”
The Beaches International Jazz Festival is also awaiting further developments and guidance from officials before it makes a final decision on whether the festival will take place this July.
“The safety and well-being of our attendees, volunteers, staff and community remain our top priority and as such, the Beaches International Jazz Festival is working closely with the City of Toronto, Toronto Public Health and local officials to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and determine the best course of action for this year’s 32nd Annual Beaches International Jazz Festival,” said a statement sent by organizers to Beach Metro News.
“At this time, the festival is still scheduled as planned. In the event that the City of Toronto cancels permits into July 2020, the Festival is considering various alternatives to ensure that the flavour and sounds of Toronto’s favourite free music festival will continue to delight and entertain Toronto households and beyond. We will provide an update in the coming weeks.”