169. Why Taste of the Danforth is a Success

With its Sunday’s record-breaking attendance of 1.5 million, why is Taste of the Danforth so successful?  We asked Howard Lichtman, who coordinates marketing, sponsorship, programming and media relations for this Greek event. He replied: 

Taste of the Danforth. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

The success is based on the fact that Canadians embrace their multiculturalism and they love to experience Greektown and the Greek heritage. Further, many of the restaurateurs and retailers are family-owned businesses and not chains. This creates a special welcoming atmosphere. It is like being invited into someone’s home. Further, there is the amazing free entertainment, a wide variety for every age and taste. Finally, people love the Festival because of food, food and more food.

The Festival receives very little grant money compared to the other festivals. Only from the Ontario government. There is a small staff of three year-round employees and a dedicated group of volunteer board members. The board is chaired by Constantine Voidonicolas. He devotes endless hours of his personal time to the Festival.

The Immortals. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011.

The Immortals were perfect sponsors as the film is a story of Greek Gods and Greek mythology.

Another reason for our success is our amazing media sponsors. The Toronto Star is our print partner as is the Toronto Community newspapers. We do place other ads in papers like the Globe and Mail and Greek papers etc., but the Star is our main print sponsor. They are Toronto’s largest circulation paper and are Toronto focused, so they are the perfect fit.

We have a number of other media sponsors such as CP24 and CTV for broadcast. They are dream media partners who work closely with us to create fun content for their viewers and great awareness for us. This year we ran a “Taste of the Taste” event on site in their outdoor facility where we featured Greek dancers, Greek music, several Tasting stations and great prizes from our sponsors. We also gave away two trips to Greece for two from Transat Holidays during the two weeks prior to the Festival, with them tied to Greek-themed contests.

We have a number of radio sponsors, such as Classic 96.3, News Talk 1010, Durham radio stations, etc. Toronto.com is our media sponsor for on-line awareness and they run our information booths at the Festival. CBS Outdoors has been a long-time supporter.

Can other festivals learn something from the Danforth?


  1. First of all, congratulations on your Sunday turnout. 1.5 million people at a local Toronto festival is an incredible success! East End Toronto is definitely ‘on the map’!

    I have to agree with you that people love our festival because of ‘food, food, and food’. It’s affordable, and satisfies every kind of appetite. People love discovering new flavours and cuisine at our festival. That’s a big part of the fun.

    Just as important is the spectacle of the event. There’s an incredible energy that comes from filling the Danforth with wall to wall people. It creates a pleasant, social ‘Buzz’ that works for families with kids and mingling singles as well. Yes, there’s great music and entertainment, but the people watching is as much fun as anything else.

    What can other festival organizers learn from this modestly funded event? I don’t know if you can package it, or franchise it. There’s a great feeling of spontaneity on the street. Everyone is there for a good time without breaking the bank.

  2. … meaning “from Vathis Square, Athens”…
    Congratulations adelfia !!
    In such times Greeks need to reconfirm the spirit of solidariety and proudness world-wide. I feel it !!
    Thank you from the deep of my -and ours- heart !!
    Allow me to sugest, however, next time to include also some theater, music, and speeches of poems and philosophy events, in a mannier to expose Greek Spirit further of Greek taste.
    I understand this makes budget to rise a lot, but a good and early preparation may fruit in more professional volontiers and sponsors.
    Again.. THANK YOU !!

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