drive in toronto

Toronto announces new drive-in event and entertainment program

If you liked the idea of a drive-thru zoo, you'll love the City of Toronto's latest initiative to mitigate the catastophic impact of COVID-19 upon our local arts, culture and events scenes.

Introducing "DriveInTO," a program set up to help organizers of all stripes set up "large-scale, high-value, temporary drive-in experiences" throughout Toronto this summer while major festivals and events remain prohibited.

"From films to concerts to sports broadcasts, drive-in entertainment will offer an opportunity for Torontonians to re-engage with their city," reads a release from the City announcing the new program.

Both free and ticketed events are scheduled to take place through the program over the next few months at the following partner sites:

Free screenings sponsored by DriveInTO at Ontario Place will include programming by Hot Docs, imagineNATIVE and TIFF, while free nights at the new Polson Pier drive-in will feature programming by Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival, Reel Asian Film Festival, Reelworld Film Festival and Regent Park Film Festival.

Friday Night Lights at Downsview Park will similarly feature free, made-in-Canada films presented by Canada Land Corporation and MADE. 

Bolstered by the success of its recent parking lot theatre pilot in Markham, Cadillac Fairview will be hosting paid screenings of feature films at Sherway Gardens mall in Etobicoke. CityView Drive-In will also host ticketed concerts, screenings and broadcasts.

While they're certain to be fun experiences (especially constrasted against the thought of sitting at home streaming sitcoms in your bed), the DriveInTO events will maintain strict health and safety requirements for participants.

Toronto Public Health has created a specific COVID-19 guidance document for drive-in and drive-thru entertainment that lays out which rules and requirements venues must adhere to, including a limit on the number of vehicles parked and a mandate that physical distances of two metres are maintained between all attendees.

"Today's announcements demonstrate the City's unwavering commitment to the arts and culture sector in Toronto," said Mayor John Tory when announcing the program on Monday.

"Through these new programs like DriveInTO, we can ensure that despite an ongoing pandemic, and rules around large gatherings, residents can continue to experience the remarkable arts and culture sector that make our city so unique."

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