Taste of the Danforth a "bittersweet" moment following shootings

The annual Taste of the Danforth gets underway Friday, along the same stretch of road that was hit by deadly gun violence less than three weeks earlier. 

Those participating in the festival - arguably, Toronto's most popular public food event - say this year is bittersweet, as it is marking a big anniversary at a time when the community is still healing.

"This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Taste," Dmitris from restaurant Christina's on the Danforth told CP24. "It's going to be mixed feelings of sadness. 

"Because of the community support, I think it's going to be extremely busy," he said. "Lots of people [are] going to come down."

Late in the evening on July 22, a gunman walked down the Danforth shooting into restaurants and other businesses along the stretch between Broadview and Logan. 

The shots killed Reese Fallon, 18, of Toronto and Julianna Kozis, 10, of Markham. 13 others were injured. The gunman died at the scene. 

Four impromptu memorials, which sprang up in the hours following the shooting, are now being temporarly relocated because of the festival. Until Taste of the Danforth wraps up, all the items attached to the memorials will be placed at St. Barnabas on the Danforth Anglican Church near Hampton Ave. 

After the festival is over, the memorials will be moved once again - this time to a parkette north of the Danforth. 

The Taste of the Danforth starts at 6 p.m. Friday and runs until 11 p.m. It continues from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. 

Mayor John Tory and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are scheduled to speak at the opening ceremonies at 8 p.m. 

This year's festival also features the "Toronto Together" benefit concert - with Billy Talent and City and Colour performing at the Danforth Music Hall Saturday evening. All proceeds from tickets sold are being donated to the #TorontoStrong fund. 

Danforth will be closed from Broadview to Jones starting at 10 a.m. Friday. It will re-open at 4 a.m. on Monday.