After Pride Week, the second biggest homo holiday on Church St is Halloweek.
However, budget restrictions will mean a scaled-back festival this year, says David Wootton, manager of the Church and Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (BIA). Both the DJ stage and the spooktacular light show have been cut.
“The people who come in costumes, they create the party,” Wootton says. “We hope the merchants on the street step in with some lighting and effects.”
A week of Halloween-themed events in the gaybourhood will culminate with an Oct 31 block party that annually draws thousands to the Village. The street will be closed from Alexander to Gloucester streets from 6:30pm until 2:30am, with Wellesley St remaining open to traffic.
Wootton says the board has a $25,000 budget set aside for Halloweek, so money is tight. In previous years the BIA received funding from Tourism Toronto, but it no longer receives this money. “That’s when we had more elaborate activities. One year there was a dog contest and a big stage show. With Tourism Toronto, you get the money for three years, then it’s up to you.”
Wootton could not provide further details about the BIA’s budget because board approval is needed to release it, he says.
Wootton hopes local businesses will pick up the slack on some extra costs. “I’ve been trying to reach out to companies like Nestle and Coca-Cola, but at this point we aren’t involved with any sort of sponsorship. In years to come we will continue to seek sponsorship because I think the event has a lot of potential.”
The BIA’s annual general meeting, where the board’s budget will be presented, takes place on Nov 7 at Fuzion Lounge from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The agenda also includes discussion of the Maple Leaf Ryerson/Loblaws facility.
For more information, contact Wootton at 416-393-6363.