City of Toronto launches DriveInTO to bring entertainment experiences across the city; Festivals and events adapting to new changes with City support

Today, the City launched DriveInTO which will allow for temporary drive-in entertainment experiences across Toronto this summer. From films to concerts to sports broadcasts, drive-in entertainment will offer an opportunity for Torontonians to re-engage with their city.

Toronto residents will be able to experience DriveInTO at the following locations:

  • Ontario Place, featuring screenings. Free DriveInTO nights will include programming by Hot Docs, imagineNATIVE and TIFF.
  • CityView Drive-In at 20 Polson Pier, featuring concerts, screenings and broadcasts. Free DriveInTO nights will include programming by Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival, Reel Asian Film Festival, Reelworld Film Festival and Regent Park Film Festival.
  • Friday Night Lights at Downsview Park, presented by Canada Land Corporation and MADE, featuring free made-in-Canada films.
  • CF Movie Night at CF Sherway Gardens.
The City has partnered with local film festivals to provide free programming to the public at Ontario Place and CityView Drive-In at 20 Polson Pier this summer.

To help event organizers safely design and produce these temporary events, Toronto Public Health has created a COVID-19 guidance document for drive-in and drive-thru entertainment, available at

Each DriveInTO location will be independently produced, programmed and ticketed.

More information about DriveInTO is available at

As part of today’s announcement, the Mayor also made a series of other announcements regarding the future of festivals and events in Toronto.

The City announced new funding opportunities for individuals and not-for-profit organizations to develop projects as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art in 2021. More information on ArtworxTO Partnership Grant applications, including eligibility criteria, application requirements and deadlines, is available at

The City named 2021 as a year of public art to improve access to and engagement with its existing collection of public art and leave a legacy of new work across the city that reflects Toronto’s diversity and advances reconciliation through Indigenous place-making. This ArtworxTO grant funding will help support the arts sector's role as a key part of the City's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support festivals that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 15, the City launched the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program. The program provides one-time emergency funding and advisory services to cultural festivals.

To date the City has received 47 applications for requests totalling $537,994 and has approved 20 of these applicants for a total of $263,000 in emergency funding. Among the initial recipients are the Contact Photography Festival, African Women Acting, Toronto Queer Media Arts Centre and Big on Bloor.

More information about the City's Cultural Festival Recovery Program is available at

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many festivals have made the change to alternative delivery models. This now includes Toronto’s free all-night contemporary art event, Nuit Blanche.

With an annual attendance of 1.2 million, Nuit Blanche is the largest free, contemporary art event in North America. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, this year Nuit Blanche will not hold largescale in-person events. Instead, Nuit Blanche will engage its wide audience through an improved digital experience, including a new public archive of works presented at Nuit Blanche Toronto in the past, an expanded series of Nuit Talks, podcasts and live streamed dialogues, and special online events on October 3.

More details will be available at

To continue the progress made in reducing the spread of COVID-19, the City is extending the cancellation of City-led and City-permitted outdoor special events through September 30. All outdoor special event permits through to September 30 are cancelled, as well as the permit for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 18.

Today's announcement includes festivals and other large gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the City or other public locations, such as roads, parks and civic squares. This announcement does not include outdoor sport facility permits and other permit activities issued by the City's Parks Forestry and Recreation division in parks and other City facilities/sites which are permitted in Stage 2 of the Province of Ontario's Framework for Reopening. Professional sporting events are also not included.

Under the Province of Ontario's reopening plan, gatherings of more than ten people are not permitted in Stage 2. Should provincial emergency orders change, the City will adjust and issue permits in accordance with provincial direction.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.


"Today's announcements demonstrate the City's unwavering commitment to the arts and culture sector in Toronto. Through these new programs like DriveInTO, we can ensure that despite an ongoing pandemic, and rules around large gatherings, residents can continue to experience the remarkable arts and culture sector that make our city so unique. By supporting events and festivals in our city, we can increase access to residents during these challenging times and help rebuild a sector that has been greatly impacted by the pandemic.”

- Mayor John Tory

"Toronto residents are eager to participate, once again, in the performances and events that have made Toronto one of the world’s great hotbeds of culture. Thanks to the City’s partnership with select sites, our DriveInTO program enables organizers to safely stage events and promote community access to rich and diverse programming. It is a significant step toward restoring Toronto's creative spirit and cultural energy."

- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Budget Economic and Community Development Committee

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