City of Toronto cancels all major events, including Pride parade, until June 30

Revelers in the crowd cheer along the route of the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto, Saturday, June 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj

The City of Toronto is cancelling all major events and festivals, including the annual Pride parade, through to June 30 to combat the spread of COVID-19.

"This is going to be a very long battle," Mayor John Tory said on Tuesday. "This pandemic is changing how we go about our daily lives."

"The City of Toronto is cancelling all city-led major events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs."

Today we announced the cancellation of mass events permitted by the City through to June 30th. While the City recognizes the importance of special events and festivals to the livability and vitality of the city, protecting the health and safety of residents is of primary concern.

— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 31, 2020

Tory said deciding to cancel the events was not an easy decision but is "necessary to protect the public and save lives."

The annual Pride parade, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year, was set to be held on June 28.

Mayor John Tory said that Pride Month will still go ahead in some form and more details on that will come. 

"I spoke with representatives of Pride Toronto today and I thank them for their understanding of this decision."

In alignment with the City of Toronto’s statement, Pride Toronto will no longer host the Festival Weekend on June 26-28th, 2020. Our full statement is available online Stay proud and stay safe, Toronto. #PrideToronto #COVID19

— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) March 31, 2020

Other major events being held in the city before June 30 include Canadian Music Week, Toronto Jazz Festival, North by Northeast, Tastemaker Toronto, The Hot Docs Festival, Inside Out Film Festival and Doors Open Toronto.

Number of cases in Toronto rise

Following Tory's announcement, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health confirmed another 202 positive cases of the virus, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the city to 793.

Of the Toronto cases, 65 are in the hospital and 33 of those individuals are in the Intensive Care Unit. Eight people have died of the virus in Toronto. 

"These numbers as you've heard me say are constantly changing and they will increase in the coming days and weeks," Dr. Eileen de Villa said. "We continue to monitor our situation but given the increase number of cases, the increase hospitalizations and increase deaths, I am concerned that this may be our reality unless we move to stronger measures."

About 24 per cent of cases in Toronto are attributed to community spread.