Toronto Reverses Decision to Cancel Canada Day Celebrations

by EditorK
Updated: May 24, 2023 

Less than a day after Toronto claimed it would be cancelling its 2023 Canada Day celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square due to “resource constraints” during a “fiscally complex year,” the city announced it had reversed its decision.

“The City of Toronto plans to use money in existing approved operating budgets to activate all City-led programming on Canada Day. The City will continue to work with its partners, including other orders of government, to deliver this year’s celebrations across Toronto, including on Nathan Phillips Square,” Jessamine Luck, a spokesperson at the City of Toronto, told The Epoch Times.

While Toronto had not celebrated Canada Day at Nathan Phillips Square since 2017, the city had begun preparations for a possible event this year. But the news broke that the celebration had been cancelled after an email was sent to City of Toronto volunteers on May 23. The email said that while it was “not an easy decision,” the funds secured for the celebration were “not adequate to the standard of program that the event and the participants deserve.”

The email also said that while federal funding for the previous year’s celebrations had been sufficient to support the celebration, the city requires a “very conservative approach to planning” in 2023 due to constraints in the city’s budgets, escalating costs for necessary program supports, and different communications priorities.

But on May 24, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie announced there would be “dozens of Canada Day celebrations across the city on July 1 including in Nathan Phillips Square and Mel Lastman Square.”

“I want to thank the City Manager for taking quick action to make sure we celebrate Canada Day and continue to encourage people to gather together and enjoy Toronto,” she said.

The news of the cancellation came as the city urges its residents to call for the federal government to provide $235 million to help with its pandemic-related budget deficit. In a written statement, McKelvie said Toronto “does not have the resources or revenue tools to address the unprecedented financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and that a new fiscal framework for the city is “absolutely required.”

Days earlier, the City of Calgary announced it would not hold fireworks during its 2023 Canada Day celebration, instead opting for an enhanced pyrotechnic show involving lights and sounds from the main stage at Fort Calgary. The reasons for cancelling the fireworks include sensitivities related to Truth and Reconciliation, the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act, and disturbances to the city’s wildlife.

An online petition, started by a group called Common Sense Calgary, has been opened in an effort to reverse the city’s decision to cancel the fireworks. It has received more than 10,000 signatures.


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