OLA cancels 2020 Forest of Reading Festivals

The Ontario Library Association has made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Forest of Reading Festivals scheduled in May for Waterloo Region (May 6), London (May 8), and Toronto (May 12 – 14).

In order for OLA to effectively host Festivals, they need to reach a certain threshold of tickets purchases by mid-March. However, due to the challenges and uncertainties faced in the Ontario education sector this school year, schools have not been able to commit to external events. And although the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has not been a main factor in their decision to cancel, they recognize that the local situation may change between now and May. The level of ticket sales needed has not been reached.

Full refunds will be issued to those who purchased tickets. Please see the FAQs for details.

Please note the Forest of Reading program will continue to run and every single participant in the Forest of Reading  is encouraged to vote in April.

The decision to cancel the festival was held off for as long as possible. Events of this scope and size include multiple partners and a significant investment in space rentals, travel, performers, and much more.

OLA deeply appreciates the efforts of their colleagues in the education sector and their partners and participants who support the Forest of Reading and the Forest of Reading Festivals annually including: Tinlids, the official wholesaler for the program; the Harbourfront Centre; the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA); all of the nominated authors, illustrators, and publishers, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, entertainers, partners, sponsors, venues; and most importantly, all of the attendees – including chaperones, education and library staff, and of course, the young readers who look forward to these events each year.

OLA is currently exploring options for hosting virtual announcements of this year’s award winners that will include ways for them and the nominated authors and illustrators to engage with readers across the country. More details about this opportunity will be sent in April.

This year, the Forest of Reading hit 5,200 registrations, a record number across the various reading program categories. Despite this year being a challenging time for school and library registrants, the support that the program has received has been incredible. OLA is  grateful for the teachers, parents, library staff, and young readers who continue to celebrate their love of reading through the Forest of Reading titles.

Despite the cancellation of this year’s Festivals, OLA hopes that you will continue to support the Forest of Reading in whatever way you are able to. Please review the FAQs for a few ways that you may adjust how you celebrate the Forest of Reading this year.

For more information, please contact:

Meredith Tutching
Director, Forest of Reading
Ontario Library Association