TORONTO — Organizers of the Taste of Manila event have cancelled plans for its fifth-annual festival this year, citing financial pressures due to the cost of government services.
Teresa Torralba, the event’s chief of staff, says the festival — held in the Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue area — has grown over the years, making police and TTC costs unaffordable. The group was $50,000 to $55,000 short of its $250,000 goal, she noted.
“We tried to do it for the fifth year but, with the rising costs, we won’t be able to make it. We don’t have any grants and depended on vendors, sponsorships and donations from the community.”
Her comments come just weeks before the festival was due to take place on August 18 and 19. News of the cancellation didn’t sit well with restaurant vendors and other local businesses, Torralba noted. “It’s very sad. It’s a big shock to them. Nobody saw it coming. On the economy side of it, it’s definitely a big loss for them. Many restaurants were depending on the income from the festival,” she says.
“Let’s face it, business can be good or bad for them but with the Taste of Manila [festival], they’re able to recover for the year. We’re proud to say we’ve done something for the businesses there. Some have acquired a second restaurant because of the proceeds from that festival.”
Torralba says that the event is expected to resume in 2019 as it looks to pay off debt from past festivals.
An estimated 350,000 to 400,000 people were expected to attend. The Taste of Manila festival was founded in 2014 by Rolando Mangante as a way to promote Filipino cuisine and entertainment.