PROMISE PARTY at Cherry Beach (Cherry and Unwin), with rotating resident DJs every Sunday afternoon. firstname.lastname@example.org Rating: NNNNN
Promise should never give up hope.
At the end of last summer, it looked like the long-running free Sunday-afternoon outdoor party at Cherry Beach might be done for.
Not only was its usual spot being turned into a soccer field, but it also seemed the city had finally decided that beats on the beach weren't something it was in favour of.
"It came right after a big article in the Toronto Star about how wholesome and fun it was, and then two weeks later the bylaw officers came for the first time in five years," organizer Dave Macleod explains.
"We'd actually aborted setting up the sound system and only had about 40 people on the beach, but they rounded together about 30 police - seven or eight on horseback - and a paddy wagon. It was definitely a show of force."
Macleod and his partner, Irving Shaw, were dismayed at the heavy-handed approach and the message it sent, but they didn't give up. They enlisted the help of Counsellor Paula Fletcher and have managed to secure an events permit on a trial basis for this year.
"We felt it out and got in touch with various different community groups, and almost everyone recommended we get in touch with Fletcher," Shaw recalls as this week's beats echo through the trees in the background.
"We called up her office, and they were like, 'Cherry Beach, we go there! We're so sorry!' So it felt like we were in good hands."
While it's great that the Promise boys have managed to save their beach party, what's more significant is the precedent it sets. If this works out, it should be much simpler for other people to put together DIY events in cooperation with the city - rather than in opposition to it.
"All we want to do is play some nice house music in a park or some kind of outdoor area, and it was really frustrating to think we might run up against a bureaucratic dead end and not be allowed to do that and that the only place where you could hear this music is in a bar," Shaw says.
Here's hoping the crowds continue to respect the vibe they've established over the years - at the end of the night it's Macleod and Shaw who are the ones picking up stray cigarette butts and making sure the area is left in good condition, but due to the community spirit they've fostered, it hasn't required the same infrastructure that "official" events seem to need.
Let's prove them right and keep it that way.