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'We need to make it work:' Torontonians hope Taste of the Danforth will return this year after BIA says it's not funding festival

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It appears the annual Taste of the Danforth festival in Greektown will not go ahead this summer.

The fate of the festival was discussed by members of the Greektown on the Danforth Business Improvement Area (BIA) at this week’s Annual General Meeting.

The BIA said to fund the beloved event, which returned last year for the first time following pandemic-related cancellations, business owners would be required to pay a “significant levy,” a cost they “cannot shoulder.”

The BIA’s operating budget, which was approved at this week’s meeting, includes a two per cent increase to its levy, which will go toward funding the redesign of the Alexander the Great Parkette as well as “a new strategic planning process that will outline the priorities, actions, and ambitions” of members, according to a statement from the group.

While the event currently remains unfunded, the BIA did not explicitly say that this year’s festival has been cancelled.

“In light of the $257,000 loss in 2023, further discussion will take place to better understand if we can host Taste of the Danforth in 2024,” the BIA said in a statement emailed to CP24.com.

“The BIA would need to fundraise and secure new title sponsorship in order to continue in 2024 as the levy no longer covers the festival.”

Like many other street festivals in the city, Taste of the Danforth was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 in accordance with COVID restrictions. In 2022, the decision was made to skip it yet again due to “logistical issues” caused by bike lane and CaféTO installations.

Many Torontonians were relieved to see the festival return to the east-end neighbourhood in 2023.

“I’m hopeful that they will find a way to make it happen because we’ve had it forever,” one resident told CP24 on Thursday.

“We need to make it work,” another resident said. “Sponsors, if they could just step and help for a year or two to get it back up on its feet, because COVID has had an effect on it.”

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