Toronto’s favourite street festival has a whole new way to celebrate the fun flavours of Greece and summer in the city. Every year in August, the people of Toronto and abroad flock to GreekTown on the Danforth. Celebrating its 17th year, the Pilaros Taste Of The Danforth is Canada’s largest street festival, welcoming over 1.2 million visitors. A Decima Research poll indicated that 90% of respondents identified “The Taste” as their favourite GTA festival event — beating out such iconic events as the Toronto International Film Festival, Caribana and Pride Week. Last summer the Pilaros Taste Of The Danforth won two Toronto Sun Reader’s Choice Awards: a Gold for Favourite Community Festival and a Silver for Favourite Summer Festival. The festival’s title sponsor is Pilaros International Trading Inc. a leading importer of Mediterranean food products, primarily olives and olive oil, what the ancient Greeks refer to as “the Essence of Life”.
The GTA lays claim to more than 200,000 residents of Greek ancestry, the third largest Hellenic community outside of Greece, and between August 5th and 7th, 2011, everyone who comes to the Danforth gets to be “Greek for the day”. But there is much more than the celebration of the Danforth’s Greek heritage at the festival. Here is a “taste” of what to expect … A “Taste” of What to Expect This year’s Pilaros Taste Of The Danforth has loads of fun, family-friendly activities to engage and entertain Torontonians. All three stages offer incredible free entertainment. Who wouldn’t want to see a free concert from the Toronto Symphony’s brass quintet or have fun with Second City improv? Who wouldn’t want to meet some of last season’s top winners from “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” or have the opportunity to volunteer for a Celebrity Makeover from Smashbox Cosmetics? You can be charmed by the music of Jesse Labelle or Alyssa Reid, or sing along to a tribute to Neil Diamond and Tom Jones. In addition to the Greek Stage — which features everything from Greek music, song and dance to bellydancing — there is the Broadview Stage, featuring virtually every variety of music from R&B to jazz to rock. There is music from Brazil and Argentina, and even free NIA classes. And if you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Kids’ Fun Zone where they can join the Centre of Gravity ‘You Can Try It’ Circus, or dress like an Ancient Greek.
They can experience the Toronto Zoo ‘Touch Table’ by interacting with pelts, skulls and feathers, and even find out how big the claws of a polar bear are. They can meet both Explorer Bear™ – the Toronto Zoo’s mascot – as well as Alex the Beaver, who will be handing out free tickets to the CNE. The programs, the exhibitors and performers are still being finalized but the following is a “taste” of what is to come: 1. THE CELEBRITY STAGE – Second City: Join Second City for hilarious, interactive comedy – Stage West: A tribute to Neil Diamond and Tom Jones – Toronto Symphony: Enjoy the Toronto Symphony’s stellar brass quintet’s lively performance – So You Think You Can Dance Canada: Meet some of the top winners from last season – A Taste of Beauty: Smashbox Cosmetics Celebrity Makeovers – Jesse Labelle: Jesse Labelle is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter. He recently made waves with his chart-topping single, “Perfect Accident”. Jesse’s sound is a cross between John Mayer and Rob Thomas, and he’s been winning the hearts of fans across the country on tour with Faber Drive, The Arkells, and Tom Cochrane. – Alyssa Reid: Alyssa Reid’s acoustic version of Justin Bieber’s “One Less Lonely Girl” turned into a YouTube epidemic. Her debut single is called ‘If You Are’ and her sound is best described as soul infused pop. She just completed a cross-Canada tour on Muchmusic’s SodaPOP festival with Emily Osment. – Frank D’Angelo with his 15-piece R&B band energizes The Taste of the Danforth – Zero Gravity street performers – Opa Dancers of London – Jeanine Mackie: Enjoy phenomenal R&B and jazz – Daniel Cannis: Broadway music – The Imbayakunas: Music from Ecuador – Sol De Cuba: Music from Cuba – Jorge Miguel: Flamenco music – Yiannis Kapoulas with Ena K’Ena: Amazing Greek music – Arkadia – Lively Greek music … and many more great performers.
Check http://www.tasteofthedanforth.com for updates and announcements.
THE BROADVIEW STAGE Features an eclectic array of music and lifestyle-related programs and performances, including: – Swamp Dawgs – the blues and rock – Batkucada Carioca Samba & Grupo Afro-lusophone Dancers – Brazilian dance and music group – Souls of Steel Orchestra – Daniel Barnes Trio – jazz at its best – Rock’n Blues Butcher Band – get rockin’ – Embrujo Flamenco Dancers – Argentine Tango Milonga – Dancing On The Danforth – Felinity – hoops – Free NIA classes – Hannan’s Bellydancing – Taste Mob Flash Dance – learn the choreography and join the Taste Mob Flash Dance.
THE GREEK STAGE will feature traditional Greek dancers, singers and musicians, including an opportunity for the audience to learn Greek dancing. Some of the performers include: – Parea – music – Arabesque Dance Company – bellydancing – Yiannis Kapoulas with Ena K’Ena – music – Greek Style M. – music – Yia Mas – music – Levendia X – dancing – Arkadia – music – Alexandros Hatzis – music – Knossos Cretan Association Dancers – dancing.
THE SPORTS ZONE Including challenges created by Toronto’s professional sports teams. Lots of chances for people to test their skills and win prizes: – Toronto Maple Leafs – visit the Leafs’ Mobile Dressing Room – Toronto Argonauts – test out your football-throwing arm at the Argos’ Football Toss – Toronto Blue Jays – test out your baseball prowess in the Blue Jays’ batting cage and pitching cage – Toronto FC – amazing soccer challenges – Toronto Rock – lacrosse challenges at its best.
THE KIDS’ FUN ZONE Offering fun-themed activities including: The Centre of Gravity Circus Training Studio – The “You Can Try It” Circus – kids from 5 to 14 can try out the classical area circus hoop The Olympiada featuring: – Dress like an Ancient Greek – Build the Acropolis – Ancient art – Learn Greek dancing The Toronto Zoo – experience the amazing “Touch Table” and meet Toronto Zoo’s mascot – Explorer Bear™ The CNE brings you Alex the Beaver plus free children’s tickets to The Ex The East York Mirror Kids’ Activities Tent – giveaways and contests, colouring and crafts Free Owl Kids Magazines The Tennis Pathways Fastest Serve Zone – clock the speed of your serve.
BEER, WINE & SPIRITS GARDENS: Although Toronto changed it’s liquor laws, the festival has chosen to keep it a family friendly environment and drinking is as always only permitted to the beer gardens. There will be two Carlsberg Beer & Spirits Gardens and one Wine Garden to help keep our thirsty patrons refreshed.
GREAT CONTESTS, PRIZES AND FREE SAMPLES FROM A HOST OF EXHIBITORS INCLUDING Free samples and coupons from Smashbox Cosmetics Free samples and coupons from Lacoste Free samples and coupons from riceworks Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps Free samples of Astro Yogurt Smoothies Free samples from Hidden Valley Ranch Free samples from Coke Free samples from Sensodyne Free restaurant coupons from Dine.To Win prizes from Cheetah Power Surge Great deals from FIDO 8. OPPORTUNITY TO WIN AN AMAZING TRIP Opportunity to win an Aegean Splendour Trip For Two to Glorious Greece, courtesy of Transat Holidays
FOOD, FOOD AND MORE FOOD! And, of course, dozens and dozens of tasty food stations from Danforth’s amazing array of multi-ethnic cuisine
The PILAROS TASTE OF THE DANFORTH is a proud supporter of the Toronto East General Hospital. On Friday, August 6th, at 1pm as part of our “pre-show”, celebrities, politicians, members of the media, and corporations will be kicking up their heels with “Beds On Wheels” at the 5th Annual Danforth Dash Bed Race, in support of the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation. To-date this event, which is hosted by the Pilaros Taste Of The Danforth, has raised in excess of $100,000 towards the Hospital’s expansion campaign and the purchase of new electric hospital beds for TEGH. In addition to supporting the “Danforth Dash” over the years the Taste Of The Danforth has raised more than $1 million in support of our community hospital, Toronto East General. The event takes place on Danforth just east of Broadview. To enter a team or for more information, contact Justin Van Dette at 416-469-6218 The festival is supported by Ontario Tourism … Ontario, Yours To Discover, as well as the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. The Pilaros Taste Of The Danforth is presented by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA, in cooperation with the Danforth BIA.
UPDATED INFORMATION AND SCHEDULES For updated festival programming and schedule information visit: www.tasteofthedanforth.com