If you thought the city needed a nice, quiet extenda-weekend in order to recover from post-G20 stress, you were mistaken. It’s time for Pride, people.
As always, there is literally something for everyone.
The sweaty, happy main event—The Pride Parade—begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Bloor and Church, heading west to Yonge and then South to Gerrard. For the perfect view, get there early to stake out a good garbage can to squat on. (Just in case that’s already confusing, here’s the official Pride map, and another, with clearer stage markings, from the Toronto Star.)
For the culture-seekers, our best advice is to hop from stage to stage sampling the huge number of acts that span the weekend. Highlights include free performances by Cyndi Lauper (Saturday, Queen’s Park at 9:00 p.m.) and Jully Black (Saturday, Wellesley Stage at 11:00 p.m.). There’s jazz on Sunday at Queen’s Park, “punk, industrial, electro, indie, new wave, and no wave” on Saturday at the South Stage, and two days of “DJ and Diva Central” (Central Stage) and “Drag Kings, Queens, and Burlesque” (Village Stage). For something more reflective, head to the James Canning Gardens on Saturday from 2–8 p.m. for Pride’s literary program, or the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives for their National Portraits exhibition, as well as their “Censored Lives” exhibition on free speech in the queer community (open 12–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday).
Photo by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.
Lots of activism activities are planned for the weekend as well. Like marching? The second annual transmarch starts at 7 p.m. tonight at Church and Hayden. The Dyke march starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Church and Hayden, and will eventually join in the fun of Dyke Day at Queens Park.
More of a sedate walker? Join the “Yonge Street is Flaming” walking tour of Toronto’s GLBT past; it leaves at 10 a.m. Saturday from Victoria Street at Dundas Square.
Running’s your thing? Join the 5K Pride and Remembrance Run at 10 a.m. on Sunday starting at Church and Wellesley.
And for families, Pride Toronto is running events on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at the Church Street Junior Public School. Bring the kids and try out “positive spin hula hooping” or create your own “Pride Crazy Hat.”
Some other things to look out for this year:
- Pride’s first flashmob. Pride Toronto put out a call in April for enthusiastic applicants who would “be willing to dedicate time to learning choreography” to form one of the most co-ordinated, flashiest flashmobs ever.
- Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. They were voted out of the parade for fears of politicizing the event, and now they’re back in after a backlash and accusations of censorship. Keep your eyes open for the group as they pass by in Sunday’s parade, and joint us in hoping tensions are kept to a minimum.
- Bill Blair. Well, maybe. After some conflict with the 519 Community Centre early this week, it isn’t clear the embattled police chief will be making an appearance.
- George Mammoliti. Wait, he probably won’t be there either.
- Joe Pantalone’s condoms.
- Marriage-on-the-move. Six couples (or is it ten?) recently won a contest hosted by dating site Man Crunch (see their rejected Superbowl commercial) to get married on a float during Toronto Pride.
Whatever you attend this weekend, stay cool and stay calm. Remember: this street party is meant to get out of control.