Toronto Freedom Festival

Freedom Festival to take place at Queen's Park after all

Bust out the bongs, the Toronto Freedom Festival will return to Queen's Park for at least one more year. After initially being denied a permit due to concerns over the festival's size and the damage it caused to the park, a press release issued yesterday confirmed that, after multiple consultations with the city, a permit has been granted for Queen's Park North on May 7th.

Although the release doesn't provide an explanation for the City's change of heart — saying only that "a plan has been developed to keep the Festival at the park for another year" — it's likely that scheduled renovations to the park in 2012 played a role. Xtra! reported on March 22nd that Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam helped to arrange a compromise in light of next year's maintenance, but that still required both the Freedom Festival and Afrofest (which was also denied a permit) to submit revised plans to the Parks Department that promised a reduction in the respective impact of each event.

While there's still no word on the fate of Afrofest, by reducing the number of stages and vendors to be used, Freedom Fest organizers were ultimately able to appease Parks officials. "We are excited to have reached a safe and reasonable compromise, and we remain committed to once again producing a unique and exciting festival," said co-founder Gabe Simms.

Despite the stay of execution, the festival will be on the hunt for a new venue next year, a task which could prove challenging. With attendance reaching 30,000+ people, there are few parks to accommodate the event, especially downtown.

The Toronto Freedom Festival runs from 12pm to 8pm, Saturday May 7th. For those who feel like getting high and walking around the city (always fun), the 13th Global Marijuana March will depart from Queen's Park at 2pm.

Photo by Tyson Williams in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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