Everything you need to know about Toronto's cancellation of mass events

Apr 1 2020, 12:49 pm

All city-led major mass participation events planned for Toronto are officially cancelled, through to June 30, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were several major events scheduled between now and the top of July, so to make the situation clear, we’ve broken down exactly what this cancellation means for the city’s transition from spring to summer.

Read on to get the full picture of the “who, why, what, and (until) when” of the situation:

Who made the call?

Mayor John Tory announced on Tuesday that the City of Toronto will be cancelling permits for all major events until the end of June, as coronavirus and the response to it continues.

The decision was made in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, the Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Police Service, Mayor John Tory’s office, and major event organizers.


The mass cancellation was made in response to the recent provincial emergency order to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people.

The breadth of the coronavirus crisis and the City’s need to ensure the sustainability of essential services also limits Toronto’s ability to provide the usual level of support to third-party event organizers to ensure public safety.

Which events are impacted?

This decision includes all City-led major mass participation events, festivals, conferences, and cultural programs, and City permits for like events organized by external groups at civic centres and squares, parks, public spaces (including road closures), City-operated museums, and cultural centres, through to June 30.

Major events directly impacted include:

  • Doors Open Toronto – May 23 and 24
  • NXNE Music and Gaming Festival – June 12 to 21
  • Indigenous Arts Festival – June 19 to 21
  • Pride Toronto Festival Weekend – June 26 to 28

When will it end?

At this time, the end date is set for June 30, but that may change.

The end date for the cancellation period will be reviewed every two weeks from Tuesday’s announcement. The date may be extended beyond the current plans in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, and in consideration of the provincial prohibition of organized public events and social gatherings.

The City of Toronto says it will not be in a position to issue new permits until there is further direction on mass gatherings from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

“While the City recognizes the importance of special events and festivals to the livability and vitality of the city, protecting the health and safety of residents is of primary concern,” Mayor John Tory said in a release.

“City staff are working closely with event organizers to help mitigate the impacts of cancellations wherever possible and we look forward to Toronto’s festivals and events being featured prominently as part of the city’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19.”