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Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth could be in jeopardy

Click to play video: 'Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth in Jeopardy'
Toronto’s Taste of the Danforth in Jeopardy
WATCH: This summer, many festivals and concerts are returning after being put on hold during the pandemic. However, one of Toronto's biggest summer festivals - the Taste of the Danforth - may be in jeopardy – Jun 1, 2022

It’s so close, you can almost taste it. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, one of Toronto’s biggest street festival, The Taste of the Danforth is expected to make its comeback to the streets of Greektown during Aug. 5-7.

Except festival organizers now say that might not happen.

CaféTO, an invention of the pandemic, is a city-led program that expanded patios into the road to help struggling restaurants during COVID-19. Other city projects, like bike lanes also extended into the road.

But Taste of the Danforth organizers say all that infrastructure is eating up much-needed space, creating logistical challenges for staging the festival.

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“We have continually asked the city to remove the CaféTO curb lane patios and bike lane infrastructure for three days to allow us to host the Taste,” says the Danforth BIA in a statement to Global News.

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Yet according to the BIA, the city’s response is this is out of the question, and that the city wants “a reimagined Taste of the Danforth without allowing use of the entire street.”

A staff member at a Greek restaurant near Danforth and Carlaw said that while she appreciates CaféTO and all the help it provided her restaurant during the pandemic, she’d be fine to see it go for a few days if it meant saving the Taste of the Danforth.

The city says it’s working to make that happen.

“City staff from multiple divisions have been actively working with festival organizers at Taste of the Danforth as well as the local BIA to help this annual celebration return with any modifications that may be necessary to ensure its success,” it says.

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The city says it’s working to make that happen.

“City staff from multiple divisions have been actively working with festival organizers at Taste of the Danforth as well as the local BIA to help this annual celebration return with any modifications that may be necessary to ensure its success,” it says.

Sequoia McDowell, a local who lives near Greektown, said he doesn’t understand why the area can’t just have the best of both worlds.

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“I don’t understand why they should disrupt the Taste of the Danforth,” McDowell said.

“The protective bike lanes and the tables have just made it a lot more pedestrian-friendly, the street is more livelier. … To see the Taste of the Danforth potentially get cancelled because of some sort of spat between the BIA and the city is really disappointing.”

Click to play video: 'Summerlicious returning to Toronto this summer'
Summerlicious returning to Toronto this summer

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