DriveInTO program will provide movie screenings, concerts and other festivities at no cost to attendees, in a July 14, 2020 story. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Toronto launches drive-in entertainment plan including screenings, concerts

Toronto is launching a drive-in entertainment program as the city extends its ban on outdoor festivals and large gatherings until September 30.

Announced on Monday, the DriveInTO program will provide movie screenings, concerts and other festivities at no cost to attendees.

To facilitate the screenings, the city will be working in collaboration with a number of Toronto’s leading film curators including Hot Docs and TIFF.

The events will take place at four locations throughout the city, including Ontario Place and Downsview Park.

Mayor John Tory said the program will help fill the gaps between revamped, digital-only events such as the Nuit Blanche arts festival, and the outright cancellation of major street festivals such as Caribana.

Tory acknowledged that the continued cancellation of the city’s biggest outdoor events may come as a tough pill to swallow.

“I know, like many other things I have had to sit here and inform you of, this is a decision that is very disappointing for many,” Tory said.

The news came just hours after Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet announced the initialization of the province’s Stage 3 reopening plan.

Under the next phase, which gets underway in much of the province on Friday, indoor spaces such as bars and restaurants will be allowed to open with limited capacity.

The Toronto, Hamilton and Peel regions are among those being held back for now.

In Stage 3, movie theatres and gyms will also be allowed to open with limited capacity, although with some restrictions.

Large outdoor gatherings and full-capacity concerts will remain illegal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 13, 2020.

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