In June, Toronto will celebrate 35 years of pride parades. And the big news? Instead of only having a week of Pride events, this year there will be a full month of activities to mark the very first Pride Month in Toronto.
This morning, it was announced in a press release at the Oasis Aqualounge (formerly known as the Club Baths, where the bathhouse raids of 1981 took place and homosexuals were targeted). The Toronto Sun reminds readers of how, “Cops rounded up 300 men at four gay clubs, including a restored mansion at Mutual and Carlton Sts.”
Pride Month is going to be bigger and better than anything the city has ever seen. There will be 60 events, which includes a launch party at the Art Gallery of Ontario and a human rights panel at the 519 Community Centre, which will feature Margaret Atwood as the headliner. She will be honored for her work during the 1981 bathhouse raids.
The theme for Toronto Pride Month is “You can sit with us.”
This year, Toronto Pride Month will see some big names participating in events. CP24 has announced that Toronto Pride events will include, “actors George Takei of ‘Star Trek,’ singer/actor Joe Jonas, singer Lila Downs and ‘Queer As Folk’ actor Randy Harrison.”
And of course, another first for Toronto, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be there. This is the first year that an active Prime Minister will be present at a Toronto Pride Parade. In fact, this is also the first year that there will be leaders from all of the different levels of government present. Other political names that will be there are Mayor John Tory and Premier Kathleen Wynne (who identifies as lesbian).
Randy Harrison will be hosting the Pride celebrations at club Babylon Toronto.Harris Allan will be there too.June 17https://t.co/dEyuFNP7YU— RandyHarrisonSpain (@RandyHarrisonSp) May 3, 2016
Although Toronto Pride events have always had some element of political to them, this year will have even more so. 680News says about Toronto Pride, “From members of Black Lives Matter leading the parade, to a focus on trans rights and Egypt’s Arab Winter, Pride is focusing on groups beyond their core.”
The Pride Toronto executive director, Mathieu Chantelois, has said that they want to put “human rights at the heart of our celebration,” says 680News.
Besides the big names that will be seen during Toronto Pride Month, there will be many young people who will speak about their experience, including trans activists. Other political topics will include what is like to be black and queer and women’s activism.
Some of the activities that the people of Toronto can look forward to during Pride Month include the following.
- There will be a party at Club Babylon (actually Fly 2.0) where some of the actors will be present (including Harris Allan, who played Hunter and Randy Harrison, who played Sunshine (aka Justin) and Toronto native, Sofanda Cox) and there will be a screening of Queer as Folk.
- TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Harbourfront Centre will host free movies and parties.
- Dundas Square will host 75 drag queens who will try to set the record for the biggest drag show.
- Canada’s Wonderland will host Gay Day.
- A Blue Jays baseball game will have a special Pride game.
- Roy Thomson Hall will have a symphony where Beethoven will be wearing lipstick.
- Centreville on the Island will have a Family Pride Day.
And of course, the entire month will culminate in the most epic Pride Parade Toronto’s ever seen on Canada Day, July 3. Toronto’s Pride Month starts on June 1.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, check out the full listing of events on the Pride Toronto site.
[Photo by Donald Weber/Getty Images]