Caribana in the black – sort of
Caribana may be out of the red for this year, but not out of hot water.
The Festival Management Committee (FMC) released an auditor's report at a press conference Monday, September 11, showing that this year's festival took in $912,000 and will end up with a profit of $2,000 once expenses of $903,000 and a few additional debts are paid.
A modest profit, but not exactly chump change for an organization under new management this year that's been plagued by debts since practically its inception. But not all fest boosters are convinced that everything in the books is black-and-white.
Toronto Mas Band Association (TMBA) member Errol Achue says its artists are still owed some $50,000 in prize money from two years ago.
But FMC chair Joe Halstead snapped at the suggestion. He says discussions have been held with TMBA and that "they know when they are getting their money. There is no issue between us and TMBA."
Achue says TMBA haven't heard a thing. "I think we're going to have to put it in legal hands to recover that money."
At the press conference, the FMC also called on the feds to give $300,000 more to match grants from the province and the city next year.
Former Caribana organizer Clyde McNeil says the parade's move from University Avenue to Lakeshore Boulevard in 1990 added unnecessary costs to the event. Policing and CNE rental fees add up to about $150,000 a year.
Halstead says he hopes an additional $500,000 the city's lobbying to get from Tourism Toronto will bring more people to the festival next year.
Lights, camera, action for Revue
The Revue Cinema's screen may light up again by next year, but community group Revue Film Society (RFS) has lost its bid to be part of the action.
Neighbourhood film buffs raised $30,000 in two months in an effort to lease and run the 240-seat theatre as a not-for-profit. The plan was to show indie films and invite community guest speakers.
But the owners of the Revue have opted to sell the 95-year-old landmark to an undisclosed buyer who is reportedly buying the building outright -- and willing to reopen it as a cinema. The Revue was shut down in June along with most of the other family-run Festival Cinemas.
Revue co-owner Chris McQuillan says he met with RFS reps several times to hammer out a deal, but felt the group lacked "the necessary capital and experience."
RFS fundraising head Kim Beemer is disappointed her group's bid lost, but is nevertheless happy the theatre seems to have been saved from the wrecking ball.
"I think neighbours are going to walk up the street and be glad it's not a box store," Beemer says.
The RFS plans to return all donations of more than $100.
Roncesvalles business improvement association chair Tony Cauch hopes the new owner will keep the spirit of repertory cinema alive on the strip and not opt for first-run movies. "You'd want that thing to remain forever the way it is," he says.