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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Toronto just cancelled all events until June 30 including the Pride Parade

We can now add 2020's edition of the beloved Toronto Pride parade to the list of fun things that have fallen casualty to the COVID-19 pandemic — along with literally every other major event scheduled between now and July.

Yes, it's going to be a quiet spring in the city of Toronto.

Mayor John Tory just announced that all city-led major events, festivals, conference and cultural programs have been cancelled through to June 30 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Permits for all third-party events have also been cancelled for the same period of time, suggesting that this "physical distancing" thing may last longer than many of us had hoped.

"This is going to be a very long battle," said Tory during the city's daily COVID-19 media briefing this afternoon. 

"We know this pandemic is changing how we go about our daily lives in our city, and that will also mean many of the events we treasure in our city ever year will not be able to go ahead as scheduled this year."

Tory said his decision was made in consultation with Toronto's medical officer of health, the city's emergency operations centre and Toronto Police. The mass cancellations also fall in line with the province of Ontario's state of emergency order, which prohibits gatherings of more than five people.

"This is not an easy decision to make, but it is necessary to protect the public and save lives," he explained. "It is doubtful the health environment will be where it needs to be on the originally scheduled spring dates if these events are to happen in a healthy, safe and stress-free way."

As one of the city's largest (if not the largest) annual events, Pride Festival Weekend has thus been cancelled — at least as we've come to know it.

Tory stated during today's media conference that, while the heavily-attended parade will not go forward this year, Pride month will still proceed in June, "so stay tuned."

Pride Toronto has been supportive of the move and thanked the city in a statement published Tuesday for prioritizing the community's health.

"The decision by public health authorities to cancel permits through the month of June is a necessary one," reads the statement. "Any future programming will be in alignment with the recommendations of the public health authorities and the communities we serve. At this time, we must all do our part to ensure the health and safety of our community."

"Pride is essential for our communities, and it is much more than simply a series of events," the statement continues. 

"Pride was born out of protest and continues as a political movement to this day."

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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