Toronto's Harbourfront Centre cancels all outdoor summer festivals

May 4 2020, 8:24 am

More festivities are being called off in Toronto as Harbourfront Centre is cancelling its entire 2020 outdoor summer festival schedule.

The Centre, known for its contemporary arts, culture and year-round programming,  said Monday’s announcement aligns with the recommendations of Toronto Public Health, Public Health Ontario and Health Canada, and the recently announced Government of Ontario’s new roadmap for safely reopening the province.

“We are making this difficult decision out of an abundance of caution to protect the health and safety of our staff, the artists involved and our visitors,” said Marah Braye, CEO of Harbourfront Centre. “We are disappointed, but health and safety will always be our top priority.”

According to Harbourfront Centre, the affected summer season runs from July 1 to Labour Day, September 7, 2020.

Cancelled events so far include Canada Day Celebrations at Harbourfront Centre, Summer Music in the Garden, Dancing on the Pier, Island Soul, Habari Africa, Barbados on the Water, TAIWANfest, Ashkenaz Festival, and music concerts featuring acclaimed artists like Indigo Girls, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Cœur de pirate, and more.

These events usually attract millions of visitors each summer to Harbourfront Centre’s waterfront and outdoor stages.

“There’s nothing like the experience of a live performance or coming together to connect through art, music, theatre and dance,” said Braye.

“As we sadly say goodbye to some of our live, on-site events for the summer, these unprecedented challenges have inspired us to bring audiences new and stimulating ways to share in the diversity and cultures of the communities that make up our great city.”

In the coming weeks and months, Harbourfront Centre and its partners said they will unveil “innovative new ways to re-imagine its festivals and programming to support artists in these challenging times and keep communities connected.”

On Friday, the City of Toronto announced it would be celebrating Canada Day virtually this year, and Harbourfront Centre will be partnering with the city for the event.