Earlier this week, the Doug Ford government announced that a Canada Day event will not be hosted a Queen’s Park in Toronto after last year’s event cost approximately $400,000 with 5,000 in attendance.
Instead, the Ontario government will offer free admission to the first 500 people at 10 Canada Day attractions in the province, at a cost of about $80,000.
Despite the Ford government cancelling Canada Day at Queen's Park, I am excited to announce I have reserved the Queen's Park lawn on Monday, July 1st from 11am to 3pm, for an old fashioned picnic for all Canadians to attend. Ford cannot stop Canada Day! #ONPoli #ScarbTO pic.twitter.com/NZ3TewB75f— Mitzie Hunter (@MitzieHunter) June 28, 2019
Since the announcement, Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter has taken matters into her own hands, reserving the front lawn at Queen’s Park for “an old fashioned picnic” from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with free ice cream, a live DJ and activities for kids.
“We are determined to continue our Canadian tradition and let the people show how they feel about a year of cuts, lackluster decision-making and political chaos incited by the Ford government,” Hunter said in a statement. “Cancelling Canada Day at Queen’s Park is a disservice to the families, friends and well-wishers who travel from near and far to enjoy Canada Day in Ontario’s capital.”
Yahoo Canada polled its readers about the province’s decision, revealing a slight leaning towards Ford’s opinion: avoiding the cost of a Canada Day event at Queen’s Park, as opposed to holding an event regardless of price and attendance.
At the time of publishing, of the 3,184 respondents, 46 per cent believe the event should have been planned this year while 54 per cent support the cancellation decision.
In the comments, Yahoo Canada readers were torn between the importance of the Ford government itself celebrating the holiday versus making the best use of provincial funds, particularly for an event with a relatively lacklustre turnout.
“I support this idea better anyways, since only a few people ever attend it. No point in hosting it for the sake of hosting it, and contribute it towards actually interesting places,” one commenter wrote. “Though I would've preferred a whole-day massive discount across all the landmark venues instead of ‘first 500 free’ for 10 specific venues. Even CN Tower isn't in that list”
“It is important to celebrate the birth of our nation,” another commenter wrote. “When one considers all the wasted money governments spend, this is one event that is worthy of the expense.”
One reader identified that they generally supported the decision, but noted that the Ontario government should have done so earlier on, not one week before the holiday.
“I think if he was to cancel such an event [then] he should have done it months ago and not announce it so close to the event,” the reader wrote in the comments. “That said $400000 for 5000 people is too much.”
What do you think of the Ontario government’s decision to cancel the Canada Day celebration at Queen’s Park this year? Are you happy that Hunter is now hosting a picnic at the Ontario legislature? Leave your thoughts in the comments.