Harbourfront Centre just cancelled Toronto Veg Fest 2022 after months of planning
For the first time in 37 years, a widely-popular and well-attended food festival in Toronto will not take place this year in any form.
The annual Veg Food Fest has been cancelled and organizers will not be able to host the event at all.
For nearly 40 years the festival was held at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre, but 2022 has posed some difficult challenges, making it impossible for the venue to host.
Sarah Fay of Veg Fest told blogTO the event was cancelled just days ago as Harbourfront informed her staffing issues and a recent resignation impacted their hosting responsibilities.
"We're totally devastated. We've been planning for months,"she said.
A message posted to the Veg Fest Instagram account informed attendees of the unfortunate news that was "unexpected, and came at a time when we were already planning for months."
"After 37 years of hosting the festival at Harboufront Centre, they've let us know that they can no longer support the event this year due to unanticipated staff resignations and related issues on their end."
Natasha Laird, marketing and PR coordination for the Centre, confirmed Fay's message saying they were "unable to appropriately support [the festival] this year and tried to help them with alternative solutions."
Veg Fest's post said organizers had tried to quickly find a second venue but that "timelines and circumstances were just not on our side."
Laird confirmed the Centre is still working on coming back to 100 per cent capacity due to the last two years of closures and running live events again every week.
"This has taken some time and a key member of our team working on the event was presented with a great opportunity that they moved on to (and we're happy for them). We always want to ensure the highest level of quality for the events we support and due to timing, we had to make a tough call."
Laird did not go as far as saying the Centre is seeing staffing shortages, an explanation that has been circulating on social media.
Comments on Veg Fest's post were filled with disappointed attendees who are hoping the festival will return for 2023.
But it's not all bad news, organizers of the festival asked fans to keep on eye on their social media pages for details about how to continue supporting the businesses that applied to be festival exhibitors.
"We love this festival and will be exploring options for a Veg Food Fest 2023. We appreciate your continued support and believe more than ever that we are all in this together," finished the festival's post.
It is unknown if next year's event will be hosted at Harbourfront.
Veg Fest is the only event that has been cancelled so far, with Laird confirming Harbourfront isn't planning on nixing any other scheduled events, including TAIWANfest at the end of August.
Veg Fest is North America's largest, free all-vegan event with over 160 exhibitors and 40+ programs from nutrition experts, animal advocates, chefs and businesses.
"We wish all the best to the team at Veg Food Fest and have loved working with them," said Laird.
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