This Week in Toronto: Outdoor Art Fair Moves Online, a Social Distancing Food Market, At-Home Haircuts for Cancer Research, and More

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

The Toronto Zoo has announced a new drive-through experience, which allows visitors to see the zoo from their cars while listening to an audio tour by zookeepers.
The Toronto Zoo has announced a new drive-through experience, which allows visitors to see the zoo from their cars while listening to an audio tour by zookeepers.
Photo: Courtesy of Toronto Zoo

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

In Case You Missed It
The Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada announced the launch of "Encore!," a program designed to compensate musicians for live performances happening on Facebook or Instagram. Online concerts from March 15, 2020, to March 7, 2021—featuring at least 10 songs or 30 mins of live music, and a minimum of 100 virtual attendees—can earn up to $150. Approximately $200,000 per quarter is available to help ease the burden on artists unable to perform live.

The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) announced the formation of a community partner network with more than 40 Ontario wine import companies and Vintners Quality Alliance wineries. CAPS members can access 10- to 20-percent savings plus free delivery on cases of wine and take part in sommelier-focused webinars, enter raffles, and interact with hospitality- and wine-industry professionals via online networking events.

The 59th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF), traditionally held at Nathan Phillips Square, has been rebranded as an online event taking place from July 2-12. Hosted via the company’s website, the virtual fair will include the TOAF’s annual award program, lecture series, programming curated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and StreetARToronto, and hundreds of local vendors and artists. “Every year, 130,000 avid art lovers and collectors gather at Nathan Phillips Square to support TOAF artists by spending $2 million on art purchases,” said creative director Anahita Azrahimi. “While we will miss our annual gathering in-person, we are determined to join forces with our loyal supporters and our long-term visitors to reassure our artists of the vitality and sustainability of their careers.”

Concessions Inc, a mobile food company specializing in exhibitions, is opening El Mercado, an outdoor pop-up food market designed to facilitate physical distancing at Barrio Cervecería’s patio on May 23. The to-go menu features pickle lemonade, deep-fried candy bars, and drink-a-fruit, as well as tacos and burritos by Barrio, and beer and margaritas. A maximum of five attendees are allowed on the patio at once, all employees need to wear face shields, and transactions must be done via debit or credit card. Patrons must also bring or purchase face masks at the door, follow a line to keep them two-meters apart, and use sanitation stations. Organizers are reportedly planning to offer rotating food and drink selections.

With oncology-related care and procedures reduced or on hold due to COVID-19, Childhood Cancer Canada and Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation partnered to create “Snipping for Hope,” which encourages participants to raise funds to fight childhood cancer by sharing their at-home haircuts on social media. Participants are invited to document cutting or shaving their hair or beards, donating the trimmings if eligible, and sharing their unique makeovers. Friends and family members can be nominated to take part in the challenge using the hashtags #SnippingForHope or #SnipOrDonate, and proceeds will go towards patient support programs and clinical research initiatives. The program has raised over $800 dollars of its $25,000 fundraising goal.

Turn of Events
Toronto has canceled major events and festivals with more than 25,000 attendees through August 31—including Taste of Danforth, Honda Indy, and Beaches International Jazz Festival. It remains to be seen if some major events scheduled for later in the summer, including Veld Music Festival, FAN Expo, and Toronto Festival of Beer, will be postponed into the fall.  

“The term sheet with Foodora Canada comes at the perfect time for Facedrive. The launch of Facedrive Foods is rooted in Facedrive’s vision of becoming the one-stop-shop platform for eco-conscious and socially responsible users. A full ecosystem with rideshare, delivery, entertainment, gamification, and social components—all in a single platform—is the epitome of convenience, with the huge added bonus of being green. This provides an incredible growth opportunity to broaden our geographic, user, and technological base globally.”

—Sayan Navaratnam, CEO and chairman of Facedrive, speaking to the Financial Post about the Scarborough-based social and eco-consciousness-focused rideshare service’s move to purchase Foodora’s Canada's shares after its exit. 

On the Scene
Cherry blossoms are in full bloom in parks across the city, including at Trinity Bellwoods park—although viewers are asked to maintain physical distances. 

What’s Next?
Tomorrow evening, Canadian Women’s Foundation, a not-for-profit that supports gender equality, anti-violence, and discrimination initiatives, and girls’ empowerment programs, is hosting a live event with Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen, the stars of Baronness Von Sketch Show, via Facebook live. The hourlong talk will focus on women in comedy, coping with difficult times, and more. The organization recently unveiled a “signal for help” tool, which people at risk for violence at home during lockdown can use to indicate that they need help during video calls.  

The Trinity Bellwoods Flea Spring Market will take place online, with more than 25 local crafters, artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses participating. Each vendor’s product listings can be searched and purchased via the event’s Facebook page on May 31. The summer market edition, scheduled for June 28, is currently slated to take place at the usual Queen West Great Hall venue with social distancing measures implemented—depending on the ease of restrictions by then. 

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