Filipino festival Taste of Manila cancelled this year

Event organizers say Taste of Manila, Toronto’s annual celebration of ​Filipino food and culture, is cancelled this year because of rising costs for the festival.

Annual food and culture event faced rising costs, organizer says

Taste of Manila billed itself the 'largest Filipino festival outside the Philippines.' (CBC)

Toronto's annual celebration of ​Filipino food and culture — Taste of Manila — is cancelled this year because of rising costs for the festival, event organizers said. 

This year's event was to be held on Aug. 18 and 19 on Bathurst Street from Wilson to Laurelcrest avenues.

"We are in the hole right now, and we don't want to go deeper in the hole," event spokesperson Teresa Torralba told CBC Toronto.

With Torralba saying the event cost between $200,000-$250,000 to even run, it all proved to be too much.

There are now increased or additional costs for police, waste management and the officials who would be manning the festival, she added.

"Our income is not enough to stage another one at this point," Torralba said of the festival. "With a deficit from last year plus these additional fees, I don't think we can handle it anymore."

Most vendors who signed up for this year's event have been refunded, she added.

The festival has grown rapidly since its start in 2014 where organizers hoped to get 5,000 people, but ended up with 60,000 attendees that year. That number surged to 350,000 people in 2016, a year that also saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in attendance, according to the Taste of Manila website. 

Torralba said they are now aware of the problems that they have encountered over the years and that the festival has plans to become even bigger come 2019.

"With this cancellation this year, we're going to spend this time to regroup," Torralba said. "We will invite community members to come in and join us and make this festival a milestone."

With files from Laura Howells and Ieva Lucs