All About Taste of the Danforth


About The Festival


Canada’s favourite Festival is back! Come join us as we celebrate the 26th anniversary of Canada’s largest Street Festival, welcoming approximately 1.6 million attendees. The Festival runs Friday, August 9th to Sunday, August 11th this year.

The GTA lays claim to more than 200,000 residents of Greek ancestry, the second largest Hellenic community outside of Greece. At the Festival, visitors have the opportunity to experience being ‘Greek for the Day’, but the Festival is much more than the celebration of the Danforth's Greek heritage -- it is also a celebration of Canada’s multiculturalism. Restaurateurs along the Danforth will be offering “Tasting Menus” for no more than $6 so that attendees can enjoy a multitude of tasty multi-ethnic treats.

Yes, there is Food, Food, and more Food – but the Taste of the Danforth is so much more! There will be loads of free, family-friendly entertainment on our Celebrity Stage presented by OLG, Showcase Stage presented by Casino Woodbine, and the Greek Stage presented by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA. The Celebrity Stage will feature everything from Caribbean Jazz to Aboriginal Folk, from Country to Pop, from Funk to Reggae, as well as the Miss Asia Canada Pageant and 40 Bollywood Dancers. We are also glad to bring back by popular demand – Sheer Heart Attack, the spectacular Queen tribute band. The Celebrity Stage features 26 free performances.

Our Showcase Stage presented by Casino Woodbine also features 26 free performances. Our Greek Stage presented by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA features 39 different performances as well. Accordingly, our Festival attendees have over 90 different performances to choose from.

We also offer a “Let’s Dance” program, where participants can learn different cultural dances from Chinese, South Asian, Filipino, Egyptian, Greek, Mexican, Japanese, Spanish, Cuban, Persian, and Jamaican dance groups.

Don’t forget to check out the Sports Zone featuring activities and guest appearances from Toronto professional sports teams, and the “It’s All Greek To Me” plate-breaking experience. Bring the kids to the Kids’ Fun Zone presented by Cirque Du Soleil.

HISTORY of the Festival and the Organization that runs it

The Festival is organized by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA, a not-for-profit organization, run by a volunteer Board and chaired by Constantine Voidonicolas. Taste of the Danforth is an excellent example of how a BIA can contribute to local economic development.

The Festival began as a celebration of Hellenic cuisine and culture. It has grown to become a celebration of both its Greek heritage and the multicultural nature of the City of Toronto. While a number of the events and programs are reflective of the area's Greek roots, the Festival programming, and its audience, have grown to encompass a much broader spectrum of the Toronto community. In fact, in a previous survey, 54% of respondents self-identified as being ethnic.

The Festival began in 1994 when the GreekTown BIA wanted to find new ways to entice people to come to the Danforth, and enjoy the amazing Greek cuisine. More effective than individual restaurants advertising, they decided to create an event. The idea was to set up "Tasting Tables” so that attendees could try food from a number of restaurants, and thus, the “Taste” of the Danforth began. In order to encourage people to try various dishes, the prices were kept very low, and even today, no tasting item costs more than $6.

In the first year, approximately 5,000 people attended the Festival. 23 restauranteurs participated, selling an eclectic mix of "tastes" from tasting tables. The following year, attendance grew to 100,000. By 1996, the Festival was so large that Danforth Avenue had to be officially closed to vehicular traffic in order to accommodate over 500,000 visitors. Today, the Festival has grown to approximately 1.6 million visitors during the course of three nights and two days. They come to enjoy food, free entertainment and culture. The Taste of the Danforth is one of Toronto’s signature events, showcasing the best of what our multicultural city has to offer: music, the arts, sports and -- of course -- food.

GREEKTOWN GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY - PROFITS DONATED TO CHARITY

The Festival combines exquisite food, culture, and music with extraordinary philanthropy to benefit the local community. Profits from the Festival are donated every year back to the community by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA and its Chair -- Constantine Voidonicolas.

Over the years, GreekTown has donated several millions of dollars to the Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital) as well as a host of other charities.

Big Economic Impact for Toronto

The Festival and GreekTown on the Danforth BIA contribute significant impact to the Province and City. In 2018, the Festival’s single weekend economic impact was $106 million.

The Festival is a tourist magnet, with 43% of attendees travelling 40 kilometers or more to attend the Taste of the Danforth last summer, and 77% of visitors stating the Festival was the primary reason for them to travel to Toronto. Equally important to the Province’s economy is the fact that 94% of out-of-towners plan to return this year. In addition, the Festival provides a significant source of exposure for the small retailers and restauranteurs on the Danforth.

The Festival would not be possible without the support of our many sponsors, particularly the Ontario Government through the Celebrate Ontario Grant.