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May 12, 2003
Mayor to seek Council approval for businesses to stay open on Victoria Day Weekend
  
Mayor Mel Lastman's "Toronto: You Belong Here" Task Force met today and agreed
to send a motion to Toronto City Council on May 13 that would pave the way for
City businesses to stay open across the City on Victoria Day (Monday, May 19,
2003).

The Province of Ontario has stated that the regulations requiring businesses to
close on the holiday could be waived if the City of Toronto declared the day a
special event. The Task Force motion will declare Monday, May 19, 2003 a
special celebration day as part of a Toronto: you belong here weekend for
Toronto and calls on residents and tourists to visit local businesses and enjoy
all that the City has to offer.

"This gives Toronto businesses an opportunity to stay open if they want and get
back some of the business they may have lost during the SARS outbreak," said
Mayor Mel Lastman. "The response from the people of Toronto and businesses in
the City has demonstrated the great spirit we have," the Mayor added.

The City has many special events and festivals planned for the holiday weekend
- a full list of events will be available later this week at
http://www.toronto.ca and will be promoted through the media.

The motion will give businesses in Toronto an opportunity to stay open and
benefit from holiday business activity. The motion will also call on
businesses to seek the input of their staff in devising a work schedule for the
holiday to ensure that staff that are not able to work on the holiday are not
required to do so.

The Mayor's Task Force has gotten off to a quick start to bring back tourism
and help Toronto's economy and image make a fast rebound from the effects of
the SARS outbreak. The launching of the Toronto: you belong here campaign
last Friday was the first step in a campaign that will go through the summer.


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