Every year in August, the city of Toronto flocks to Greek Town on the Danforth to participate in the Pilaros Taste of the Danforth. This year they celebrated its 19th successful year, as the biggest summer street festival in Canada. When the festival started 19 years ago, there were only 23 restaurants and only about 5000 people showed up. This year there are 100 restaurants and about 1.3 million people showed up. That is quite an enormous increase. The Pilaros Taste of the Danforth is one of Toronto’s signature events, showcasing the best of Greek food, culture, and music. It offered everything from souvlaki (a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer) to meze (a selection of small dishes served in the Mediterranean) and kept people entertained with authentic Greek music and interactive children’s games.
Even though it was actually my first time trying Greek food, it was delicious! I tried the pork sticks and meat loaf that was cut into little flat pieces. Trying the food was my favourite part of the festival. It tasted different than what I’m used to but delicious nonetheless. There were also many free samples to try. I think it was a great experience.
The music was awesome as well. There were three stages, The Danforth Showcase Stage, The Celebrity Stage and The ASTRO Original Greek Stage. There was dancing, singing and even a puppet show! The puppet show was called The “Inner Hero” ParaNorman Puppet Show. It was an interesting story about bullying. I liked it because after the show, there was a face-painting station that did ParaNorman characters.
“Test your archery skills at The Hunger Games ‘Bow & Mallow’ Archery Challenge!” I heard game promoter shouting out loud. There were a lot of fun games for kids including basketball and ball-toss.
I spoke with a boy named Zann Sheikh from Maple, Ontario. It was his first time at the Taste of the Danforth and eating Mediterranean food. He said “The food tasted very different …different in a good way.’’
Another first timer named Musa said he also loved the food. “I like the pork sticks the best” he said as he chomped on the skewer.
“I am here for the free samples and awesome music,” said a young girl name Silja.
I met the festival organizer Howard Lichtman. He said it is a very tiring job to keep everything in order. I could tell that he was really busy because he got a phone call right after we were done talking.
In this festival there were so many stores and booths, my mom got so overwhelmed that she said her head grew big! There were about 20 different festival sponsors and 8 different media sponsors.
I sure learned a lot this trip, but I think the most important thing is that it is always good to try new things even it looks different!