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Is Toronto cancelling the Canada Day party at Nathan Phillips Square?

It seems like Toronto won’t be getting any fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square this year if one email allegedly sent to volunteers turns out to be true. 

On Tuesday a user on the Reddit who claims to have been a volunteer for the celebrations posted to the page r/toronto saying they received an email from the organizers. The email stated that the “City of Toronto has decided not to proceed with Canada Day celebratory programming at Nathan Phillips Square this year.” 

On the city website, under the section listing events at Nathan Phillips Square, there is only “June: 26 – July 3: To be announced.”

The poster then went on to post the text of the email, which said that the reason behind the cancellation was a lack of sufficient funding. 

“The funds secured for Canada Day at NPS were not adequate to the standard of program that the event and the participants deserve,” the email stated.

The email also wanted to emphasize that the cancellation was not due to “the quality of talent available in the city or the dedication and professionalism that our many volunteers, programming and production partners.”

“While the federal funding for previous years has been sufficient to support the program activities, changes in location, communications priorities, escalating costs for necessary program supports, and constraints in the City’s budgets in a fiscally complex year, require a very conservative approach to planning,” the message continued. 

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The email states that the city’s Cultural Events team will instead use the time, resources and effort to focus on “support consultation and engagement activities in order to create a long-term Canada Day plan.”

The ending of the email emphasized the other events for Canada Day going on within the city of Toronto, despite the cancelling of the big fireworks show at Nathan Phillips. “The City of Toronto continues to celebrate Canada Day with a number of programs and celebrations offered by Parks, Forestry and Recreation in locations throughout the city,” the message closed. 

Other users reacted to the post, with most expressing their disappointment not only with the cancellation but also with the circumstances that caused it. 

One commenter replied to the original post saying “look at that, yet another example of artificially low property taxes coming back to bite the city in the back. And yet, every front-running mayoral candidate is pledging not to raise taxes. Just wait until the street lights don’t come on because they can’t afford the hydro.” 

“Doesn’t anyone else find this concerning? The largest city in Canada is too broke to celebrate Canada Day,” that same commenter continued. 

“At a time when Canadians are divided, it’s important to bring people together with culturally relevant holidays and shared experiences. Canada Day is also being cancelled in other provinces. Truly, it’s upsetting,” another commenter wrote. 

Another commenter speculated that this might have also been the reason that there were no fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square on New Year’s this year, where famously many people counted down outside the Square in anticipation, only to be met with disappointment.

Another one expressed disappointment about how the city is able to set aside large amounts of money to host the next FIFA World Cup, but not for the city’s own national celebration. 


This is a developing story, and Streets of Toronto has a request for comment and confirmation in to the city of Toronto. We will update the story when we hear back.