A Scarborough street festival, held for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Toronto, drew an estimated 250,000 people over three days, an organizer says.
The 2022 Taste of Lawrence International Food, Music and Cultural Festival, organized by the Wexford Heights Business Improvement Area (BIA), was held on Lawrence Avenue East on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Lawrence Avenue East was closed from Warden Avenue to Birchmount Road for the event.
"The festival is going really well. Obviously, we've had the largest turnout that we've ever seen," Michael Plan, chair and president of the Wexford Heights BIA, said on Sunday near the close of the event.
"People want to come out. They've been locked up for way too long. This is the first year where everybody is allowed to come out and we welcome everybody to be here."
The festival featured food from local restaurants, music from Canadian performers, shows for families, carnival games and rides, and items from local stores. There were more than 130 vendors.
At the Birchmount end of the festival, there were small roller coasters, a giant slide and a Ferris wheel. At the Warden end, there was a main stage, face painting, clothing and jewelry for sale, and lots of food vendors. In the middle, there was a family stage.
"Everything is running really well. The weather has been beautiful. There has been great weather for the whole weekend," Phan said.
Event celebrates Scarborough diversity, councillor says
Coun. Michael Thompson, who represents Scarborough Centre, said food is an important part of the festival and the event brings the community together. He said the festival, which is a peaceful and respectful event, celebrates Scarborough and its diversity.
"We're delighted to be back. It's amazing to see all the families and all the individuals coming out to experience the variety of different vendors," he said.
"This is an opportunity to come out and to share. Everybody is having an amazing time, just enjoying each other."
On an online poster, the BIA said: "Our festival has always been a point of pride for us as we showcase and celebrate the diversity of our community."
The BIA represents 285 businesses on Lawrence between Victoria Park Avenue and Birchmount Road.