This Week in Toronto: Virtual Canada Day Celebrations, Food Delivery App Restrictions, Outdoor Movie Season Postponed, and More

BizBash's Toronto column from Calvin Barr covers the week's biggest event news.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault announced that Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa will be done online this year.
Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault announced that Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa will be done online this year.
Photo: Courtesy of the Government of Canada

TORONTO—Welcome to BizBash’s Toronto-based column, where Calvin Barr covers the week’s biggest local news. Got a tip? Get in touch!

Moves and Milestones
Luminato Festival CEO Anthony Sargent has announced his resignation, effective May 31. Sargent, a Great Britain native who assumed the Toronto role five years ago, stated he wanted to return to his family and country. Celia Smith, who has held a number of high-profile arts and culture positions—including president of Artscape and general manager of the Canadian Stage Company—will take his place as interim CEO. 

Related: BizBash Event Innovators 2017: Anthony Sargent

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault announced that Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa will be done online this year. “For Canada Day 2020, we are working with Canadian artists and artisans to put together a virtual program, reflecting our diversity and values, and showcasing the immense talent our country has to offer," he said in a statement. Although predictive modeling indicates that Toronto could see COVID-19 cases start decreasing shortly, it remains to be seen what, if any, firework shows or other public events the city will host—given the cancellation of all major events and festivals through June 30. 

Toronto Outdoor Picture Show will postpone its 10th season, which was initially scheduled to open on June 28. The not-for-profit is also extending its Indiegogo fundraising campaign, supporting the Christie Pits Film Festival, which is set to celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a short film lineup by independent Canadian filmmakers. Family-friendly screenings are expected to take place in parks across the city, including Fort York, Corktown Common Park, and Bell Manor Park.

This week, 10tation Event Catering launched a “10tion Home" program, which delivers health-focused homemade meals to families throughout the week. Through the package, two to four household members receive breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, dinner, desserts, and add-ons, with food drop-offs on Mondays and Fridays. Each week will offer different menu options to choose from, such as breakfast sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salad bowls, braised beef, and freshly baked cookies. The company is also donating two meals per week to residents at the Elisa House women’s shelter. 10tationPhoto: Courtesy of 10tation Event Catering

Turn of Events
The City of Toronto may impose new measures requiring third-party food delivery apps to reduce service fees for restaurants, according to the Toronto Star. Although many restaurant owners are relying on delivery apps to continue operating, they can take up to 25 to 40 percent of profits per meal. With San Francisco and New York considering implementing temporary fee caps, Mayor John Tory is reportedly looking into provisioning similar restrictions in order to save more restaurants. 

In Case You Missed It
Civil Liberties provided some levity with a CLBO (Civil Liberties Bottle Offerings) sign using the LCBO’s branding—which it featured on Instagram. The Christie Pitts-area lounge, which normally runs four-day bartending courses throughout the year, currently offers cocktail kits, wine selections, aperitif combinations, and other food and beverage combinations from its menu for online delivery.

Meanwhile, Ecstatic Dance Toronto, a communal freestyle dance organization, is hosting online gatherings every Monday and Thursday until June. The events invite participants to engage in an opening meditation, one-hour live-streamed DJ sets, a closing circle, and chat room discussions.

"Right now, families are really out of options, and don't know how to move forward with some sort of gathering. There will still be a need for virtual gatherings to bring everyone together. Virtual gatherings can include guests who may have not been able to attend in the traditional sense, due to distance and cost."

—Effie Anoli, speaking to CBC about starting a business during the outbreak. Her company, which organizes virtual funerals, aims to help those who’ve lost a loved one have the opportunity to come together and grieve in spite of physical distance limitations. 

On the Scene
Outdoor art is popping up in the Distillery District to help people cope with isolation during quarantine. 

What’s Next?
Pretty Plans Wedding & Event Coordination, which provides a broad range of engagement, party, ceremony, reception, and honeymoon planning packages, is hosting a virtual “Brides Tell All” gathering on April 25. Brides and grooms are encouraged to come together to talk about their wedding cancellations or postponements and seek advice from the group. 

It’s All Good is hosting a quarantine edition of its '90s Music Video Dance Party via Twitch on May 16. Toronto DJ and VJ Mike Luke, known for a variety of hip-hop, house, and R&B parties, will be spinning the hits of the decade’s biggest artists, from Biggie, Nirvana, and Destiny's Child, to Daft Punk, Mariah Carey, and the Spice Girls.

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