Performer Sofonda Cox with a Tron-inspired routine helped kick off Pride Toronto’s 2011 celebrations. Photo by Jaime Woo/Torontoist.
Last night, Pride Toronto showed off its spirit with a launch party at the Phoenix. Hosted by FoQus host Deb Pearce, the event included hard-bodied male eye-candy (though sadly, no love for the women); speeches from former mayor Barbara Hall and Pride Toronto co-chairs Francisco Alvarez and Margaret Ngai; and a glow-in-the-dark number by drag performer Sofonda Cox. The festival runs from June 24 to July 3, with the marches and parade taking place next weekend: the Trans March on Friday, July 1, the Dyke March on Saturday, July 2, and the Pride Parade on Sunday, July 3.
As one of the most popular events in Toronto, previous incarnations have drawn over a million attendees. (The festival was estimated to have generated over $130 million in economic impact in 2009.) This year, Pride Toronto is also attempting to recover from a troubled 2010, which saw management concerns, financial losses, and anger from parts of the queer community over flip-flopping about whether to allow the participation of protest group QUAIA. This year, the organization has new leadership, has scaled back the festival to stay within budget, and says it will focus on raising awareness of the need for trans and youth rights.
Torontoist will be your guide to this year’s celebration of queer pride across the city. We’ll have party guides, dining suggestions, and coverage of the Pride Toronto festival, as well as independent events and exhibitions (such as Sunday’s Stonewall TO march), and personal stories from the community.