The Tasty Bits Blog

Aug 4, 2014

Review: Taste of Toronto Festival

Food and Health  ·  General  ·  

Recently my wife and I attended the opening night of the Taste of Toronto festival and overall, it was an okay experience. Given that it was the first year for the event they clearly have some basic issues to fix to attract us, and our money, back for 2015.

The good…

The weather was gorgeous, 25C and sunny, low humidity and a light breeze. I know it wasn’t their doing, but it sure did enhance the experience.

The location, Fort York is a very cool place to be in; a neat bit of history in the middle of our biggest city. The nearest GO train station was 10 minutes walk from the venue and there were lots of underground parking spots as well.

Variety, there were lots of unique places offering different things that we would never have been able to try without multiple trips to the city. We don’t go to Toronto restaurants very often; we have plenty of great ones right here in Burlington, so having a lot of them together was cool.

The bad…

We tried to pre-purchase tickets online with food/drink credits (or crowns), however the website wouldn’t complete the transaction. Upon arrival at the venue, 30 minutes early, we were told you couldn’t buy additional crowns until the gates opened, leading to massive line ups at the reload stations; lines that lasted all night. Yes, it’s their first year, but the technology is clearly available and this was a mistake that needs fixing for 2015.

The line ups were way too long. I’m willing to provider allowances for the first year learning curve; the organizers had no way to know the best layout for the booths or how much staff to supply, but there were several lineups that were more than 50 metres long, that both blocked access to the surrounding booths, making it almost impossible to get from place to place.

Smoking was allowed on the grounds… in 2014, you have to do better than that.

It was a very expensive night. Between the ticket prices and the costs of additional crowns, we were at nearly $200 for the night, for tiny tapas sized portions ($6, $8 or $10 per item), it was not a good value for money.

Conclusion..

All of the issues that gave us concern were hopefully first year teething pains. When the organizers sit down to plan Taste of Toronto 2015 I really hope they pay attention to the logistical and layout problems that were obvious to everyone who worked or attended.

Judging by the crowds we saw and the news coverage, the event appeared to be a success, but how much of that was due to three warm and sunny days and the attraction of the new food show in town is a question to be answered. The true test is how many folks will return in 2015 and if we are any indication, they will have to do a much better job. Frankly there are a dozen other festivals that are far closer and cost far less money.

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