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Cross Sectional Analysis of Food Festivals in Canadas Three Largest Cities

Shahzaib Khan

Culture, Creativity, and Cities Capstone Course | Dept. of Sociology | University of


Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4 Canada
Abstract may use their connections to present themselves as must visit
From our research on food festival in the three largest tourist attractions within the city. For example in Toronto the
cities in Canada we found that Toronto have the highest total Taste of the Danforth festival will attempt to connect itself
number of food festivals with 34, Vancouver was second with and reach out to all Greek immigrants in Canada and North
14 and a close third was Montreal with 10. Once the number of America making it a must visit for anyone interested or
food festivals was determined per city our next finding was attached to Greet culture.
how many of the food festivals were restaurant collaborations. Combining Graeme Evans and Jennifer Lena regarding
Toronto had 5 restaurant collaboration festivals, Vancouver 4 city branding and the importance of location it is evident that
and Montreal with 2. When looking at admission cost, some food festivals may apply one technique more then the
entertainment and governmental aid Torontos food festivals other or combine several in an attempt to better attract visitors.
ranked highest on our charts. [Refer to Table 1]. Vancouver For example in both Toronto and Montreal they host an annual
was ranked number one in ethnic themed food festivals but poutine week focused solely on showcasing different varieties
second in the three remaining categories. Finally Montreal was of poutine available at restaurants across both cities. As
last in all four categories that were tested [Refer to Table 1]. poutine is a staple Canadian junk food to brand and base a
whole food festival on it is smart as it appeals to a large
Key words audience of anyone who has ever eaten poutine. By branding
Food Festivals, Restaurant Collaborations (b-team), the entire food festival on a commonly known food item is a
Admission, Entertainment, Ethnic Themed, Governmental Aid good way to attract people to come and experience the
different variations of it.
Introduction For location Jennifer Lena talks about how moving a
Food festivals have slowly become a staple in every major music festival from outside of the city to within the Nashville
city in North America. Many cities host annual food festivals city limits the music festival was able to attract more people to
showcasing specific cultures that have historically called the come and use the city and location to garnish more sponsors.
city home or about the latest and most trendy foods, diets and In Vancouver the Shipyards Night Market was able to use its
lifestyles out there. In our findings Toronto, Montreal and distinct location away from the main cluster of food festivals
Vancouver are not any different and they each follow a trend in Vancouver to market itself as a must visit attraction. The
of showing the cities cultural heritage, and displaying what is Shipyards Night Market with both Evans and Lenas
trending at the moment. Through exploring and categorizing theories on branding and location to make itself a distinct must
each citys own food festivals some common themes emerged. visit tourist attraction that uses its location as a branding
The first theme that emerged was some food festivals were not strategy to attract visitors and it has been doing so
held in one location, rather they were collaborations with successfully.
various restaurants within each city. Once the restaurant
collaborations were established and documented in each city, Methods
other common findings started to emerge. Admission cost, The initial step to studying food festivals was to determine
entertainment, ethnic theme and governmental aid were also which cities would be examined and why. The three largest
looked at for each of the three cities. cities in Canada were chosen after research was conducted on
each city showing that within Canada as a whole these three
Background cities had the highest number of food festivals. Once the cities
The book town model of Beth Driscoll discusses how were selected the total number of food festivals were tallied
book towns connect themselves to their distinctive city by per city. The next step was determining which food festivals in
make reading part of the cities culture while maintaining a each city were held at one location and abided by the
connection to a broad network of other book towns and using traditional thinking of being food festivals while others were
all of this to leverage itself into a tourist attraction within the collaborations with various restaurants throughout the city also
country. The same ideology can be applied food festivals in known as b-team festivals.
each city that want to increase their attendance each year they

After the b-team festivals were identified and marked in Vancouver is the next best option with the second most
each city some common themes were examined and food festivals and is second in all criteria measured except the

Culture, Creativity, and Cities Capstone Course | Dept. of Sociology | University of


Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4 Canada
researched on for each food festival. The common themes percentage of ethnic themed or culturally based food festivals.
explored were which food festivals charged an admission fee, Toronto by the numbers had more when it comes to the
which was viewed as a barrier of entry, which food festivals number but Vancouver had a higher percentage of its food
had entertainment as part of the festival in the form of music festivals that are ethnic themed or representing a culture.
playing or performances. Whether or not the food festival was Montreal had the lowest score of all the three cites when
based on a specific culture or ethnicity was also noted and looking at the themes researched. Montreal also had the lowest
examined. Finally the funding that the festival received was amount of food festivals overall of the three cities and it had
looked at and if it was from companies or from the city in the fewest b-team festivals.
which the festival was being held. These themes were then A recommendation would be for Vancouver and Montreal
examined and placed in a chart and given a score of 1 to 3 for to follow the theme of Toronto and increase its total number of
each city and then the final scores of each category in the three food festivals. That is easier said then done but for a first step
cities was totaled and a placed in another final table. both cities could get in contact with their respective city
governments and ask for better funding and a cooperative
Findings marketing strategy. One other suggestion would be for all three
From all the research conducted and all the variables cities to connect with one another as was explained in Beth
measured regarding food festivals in Canadas three largest Driscolls examination of book towns and make a few
cities a table was made to display the final results. The first common food festivals that have a specific attraction exclusive
finding was that Toronto had the most food festivals of all to each city and market those food festivals in each city in an
three cities with 34 food festivals. Vancouver was second with attempt to send locals from one city to another to visit and
14 food festivals and Montreal was a close third with 10 food explore the various food festivals that are not found in their
festivals. When it came to restaurant collaborations or the b- city. One piece of research that could be examined in the
team percent in each city Vancouver had the highest percent future could be the number of attendees at each food festival
having 4 b-team festivals out of 14 total festivals or 28.5%. that are from the local population, out of province, out of
Montreal was second having 2 b-team festivals out of its 10 country and whether or not it is the attendees first time
total festivals or 20% and lastly Toronto had 5 b-teams from its attending the food festival or they have been before. This data
34 total food festivals or 14.7%. could indicate which food festivals people favour and which
When it came to the other themes examined and the scores are more successful at attracting visitors than others helping to
administered it was about which city had the highest number improve the ones that are not as successful.
of food festivals meeting the specified criteria gaining the most
points 3, the second most 2 and the least 1-point. For no
admission cost, entertainment at the festival and funding aid
from the city government Toronto had the highest scores with
respective percentages being 56%, 74% and 29%. Vancouver
had the highest score when it came to the number of culturally
Citations
based or ethnic themed festivals with 29%. Finally Montreal
1. Driscoll, B. (2016). Local places and cultural distinction:
came last in every category examined and had the lowest
The booktown model. European Journal of Cultural Studies,
overall score. For the final scores please refer to Table 1.
1-17. doi: 10.1177/1367549416656856
2. Evans, G. (2003). Hard-branding the cultural city from
Conclusion and Recommendation Prado to Prada. International Journal of Urban and Regional
In sum, the findings collected through the research and Research, 27(2), 417-440. doi:10.1111/1468-2427.00455
background information indicated that the best city to visit if 3. Hull, G. (2016). Cultural Branding, Geographic Source
interested in food festivals is Toronto. It had most food Indicators and Commodification. Theory, Culture &
festivals overall, the least that have an entrance fee, the most Society, 33(2), 125-145. doi:10.1177/0263276415583140
with entertainment, and had the most with funding and support 4. Lena, J. C. (2011). Tradition and transformation at the Fan
from its city government. If ethnic food festivals are the goal Fair festival. In Negotiating Values in the Creative
Toronto is still superior to Vancouver when it comes to total Industries (pp. 224-248). Cambridge: Cambridge University
number of food festivals that are based on a specific ethnicity Press.
or culture.

Culture, Creativity, and Cities Capstone Course | Dept. of Sociology | University of


Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4 Canada
Culture, Creativity, and Cities Capstone Course | Dept. of Sociology | University of
Toronto Scarborough
1265 Military Trail, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4 Canada