|By PR Newswire||
|August 28, 2014 01:01 AM EDT||
TORONTO, August 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR
TWO RECORDS BROKEN
The Greek Gods smiled on the twenty-first anniversary of the Krinos Taste of the Danforth. The sun was out all weekend - and so were the crowds. There were a record-breaking 1.6 million attendees.
The Festival also broke a Guinness World Record for the Most People Participating in a Standing Long Jump (unofficially) - 854 people in eight hours. We will be submitting all of our documentation shortly to Guinness and we are hopeful that we will receive the official word in the near future.
We did not break the World's Record for the Most People Participating in a Tug of War tournament - but we all had a lot of fun, including Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne.
These two challenges were chosen because they were part of the original Olympics in Greece. One of the lucky participants is being awarded a Trip for 2 to Olympia, Greece for participating.
Guinness participants were encouraged to make donations to Athletics Ontario, in return for receiving a commemorative wrist band. Athletics Ontario is the not-for-profit provincial sports governing body for track and field, road running, cross country and race walking in the province.
Constantine Voidonicolas, Chair of the Board of Management of the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA, stated, "The Taste of the Danforth is the biggest Greek Festival in the world. We celebrate Greek food, music, dance and hospitality. Everyone who visits gets to be 'Greek for a day'. We also encourage tourism to Greece; we give away 10 trips to Greece as part of our promotional programs."
The Opening Ceremonies were attended by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Chair of the Board Constantine Voidonicolas, Mayor Rob Ford, MPP Arthur Potts, mayoral candidates John Tory, Olivia Chow, David Soknacki, as well as Councillor Mary Fragedakis and Councillor Paula Fletcher, Alexander Georgiadis, President of Krinos Foods (title sponsor), as well as a number of GreekTown on the Danforth BIA board members. The crowd applauded when Premier Wynne commented that the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA was an example of the best that BIAs had to offer in the country.
Other Community Organizations Benefit From the Festival
The Festival combines exquisite food, culture and music with extraordinary philanthropy to benefit the local community. What most people don't realize is that the profits from the Festival are donated back to the community by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA. Over the years, GreekTown has donated more than $2 million to Toronto East General Hospital. In 2012, GreekTown committed to a further $500,000 to enhance paediatric care.
During the course of the Festival, as part of the Guinness World Record attempt for the World's Largest Zorba Dance and the World's Largest Yogourt Bowl, money was donated to Prostate Cancer Canada. This year, proceeds are being donated to Athletics Ontario.
As part of GreekTown's annual "March of the Santas", money was raised for Princess Margaret Hospital through the sale of Toronto Firefighters' Calendars, and toys and donations were gathered for the CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish. GreekTown also made a financial donation to the Christmas Wish.
It's not only the big charities that benefit from GreekTown's largesse - last year the BIA donated $10,000 in Smart Boards ($5,000 each) to local schools (William McCordic School and William Burgess School) for use by children with special needs. This year, further funds were donated to William Burgess School.
GreekTown also donates to a number of other local charities, including Toronto Crime Stoppers, 55 Division's Youth Scholarship Fund, Riverdale Share Community Association, The East York Seniors' Foundation amongst others.
GreekTown has also donated to Dr. Phyllis Billia's cancer research at Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals. GreekTown naturally supports a number of Greek initiatives, including donating to University of Toronto's Greek studies program, the Greek Community, the Hellenic Canadian Federation of Ontario, Nefeli (theatre and dance), Greek Orthodox Community of Mississauga, and Hellenic Home for the Aged.
The History of the Festival and the Organization that Runs It
The Festival began in 1994 when a group of restaurateurs on the Danforth tried to come up with ways they could entice people to come to the Danforth and enjoy their amazing Greek cuisine. They decided that rather than advertising individually, they would be better off pooling their resources and advertising together. Instead of suggesting that potential visitors come to eat at one restaurant over another, they decided to set up "tasting" tables - so that individuals could try food fare from a number of restaurants.
Over the last six years, the Chair, Mr. Voidonicolas, and his Board of Directors, through countless hours of volunteer work, have increased attendance dramatically to the current record-breaking 1.6 million attendees.
In the first year, approximately 5,000 people attended the Festival. Twenty-three restaurateurs participated, selling an eclectic mix of "tastes" from tasting tables. The following year, attendance grew to 100,000. By 1996, the Festival was so large that the Danforth had to be officially closed down to vehicular traffic, so as to accommodate over 500,000 visitors. Today, the Festival has grown to approximately 1.6 million visitors during the course of three days and two nights. They come to enjoy food, entertainment and culture. The Krinos Taste of the Danforth is one of Toronto's signature events, showcasing the best our multicultural city has to offer - from music to the arts and from sports to food.
The GreekTown on the Danforth BIA
The Festival is run by the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA.
The concept of a Business Improvement Area was created in Toronto, but BIAs can now be found all over the world. In 1970, merchants in Bloor West Village formed the first BIA in response to competition from shopping centres. Toronto currently has 77 BIAs, representing more than 35,000 commercial property owners and tenants. The number is still growing.
The GreekTown on the Danforth BIA on the Danforth BIA is an excellent example of how a BIA can unite local restaurateurs and retailers along a street to promote businesses. The GreekTown on the Danforth BIA on the Danforth BIA is a not-for-profit organization, run by a volunteer board, chaired by Constantine Voidonicolas.
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