cne cancelled

Toronto cancels CNE and all other major events for the second summer in a row

As hopeful as Premier Doug Ford may be that Ontario can still have a normal summer if we continue to lock things down for just a few additional weeks, his municipal counterpart in Toronto has decided to keep residents' expectations a little more realistic and outright cancel all major events in the city for the season, including the CNE.

Mayor John Tory made the announcement on Friday morning, stating that the he is lending support to the Ex, which usually draws millions of attendees per year, to get through another cancelled exhibition and "prepare for a bigger and better in-person event in 2022."

The large-scale gathering had to go virtual last summer and organizers expressed fears that it could be forced to shut down permanently due to tens of millions in losses from that one year alone. It was the first time since WWII that the 142-year-old event had to be put on pause.

The City has also now gone ahead and put all other major in-person events that usually take place over the next few months on hold, including the Honda Indy, Caribana, Taste of the Danforth and all other Taste festivals, and the Labour Day Parade.

The rule applies to all "large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the City or other public locations, such as roads, parks and civic squares," states a release on the subject.

All such events were already called off until July 1, which has, as of this morning, been extended through to Sept. 6.

The decision was made in the interest of mitigating public health risk, despite the fact that more than half of the province has already received a first dose of the vaccine, and the rollout has been ramping up substantially, with all adults to be eligible to book a shot through the central portal or that of their local public health unit starting May 24.

Though not exactly shocking, the news is still a devastating blow to the economy, the population, and the city as a whole, which part and parcel with Ontario has become known to some as the lockdown capital of North America.

The CNE itself has since issued a statement saying that the scrapping of the 2021 fair — which was due to take place Aug. 20 to Sept. 6 — again "puts one of Canada's longest standing events in jeopardy of surviving through the latest pandemic restrictions."

Organizers are now asking for adequate relief funding from various levels of government to compensate for the devastating loss as it "reassesses the financial viability of surviving a second consecutive year of lost revenues totalling up to $70 million."

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