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15 events to check out at World Pride Toronto 2014

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / June 16, 2014

World Pride Toronto 2014World Pride 2014 will be held here in Toronto the good this year. It will mark the first World pride in North America, and the fourth ever international Pride festival. While Toronto's Pride week brings out about a million visitors each year, we'll see an even greater number of guests for this edition. So dig up your rainbow booty shorts, dancing shoes, and craziest wig, and start marking your calendars for one big, huge, proud festival.

Here's a breakdown of top events for World Pride 2014 (parties to come next!).

Opening ceremonies at Nathan Phillips Square
The rainbow flag will be raised at City Hall on June 20, with the ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. This year, Melissa Ethridge, Deborah Cox, and Steve Grand will perform, adding a little extra pizazz beyond the usual news that Rob Ford refused to show up. Gilbert Baker, the artist who designed the iconic Pride flag, will be present at the free event, and drinks will be served, too.

WorldPride Gala and Awards
The World Pride gala and awards are held in support of Camp fYrefly, the country's only national leadership retreat for Canada's LGBTQ++ youth. k.d. lang and Lea DeLaria will perform. The gala will be held at the Arcadian Court, above The Bay at Queen and Yonge, on June 25, 6:30 until 11 p.m. For ticket information, email

The gay village will close down to cars and open to pedestrians from Friday, June 27 until Sunday, June 29. Browse through a marketplace full of wares created by local artists and artisans, and sample some of Toronto's gastro delights, all while celebrating the city's many and diverse queer community. The street fair runs through until 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and entrance is free.

The Big Pride Sing Along
Singing Out is Toronto's own LGBTQ++ chorus, and they'll be presenting a special World Pride show on June 28. There will be two shows, to be specific, one at 7 p.m. and one at 9:15 p.m., both at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in the village. Tickets are $15, and I would hurry if I were you because this is a can't-miss. You'll catch everything from drag king Mounties to Madonna vs. Lady Gaga mashups.

Catch some gay theatre at Buddies
Buddies in Bad Times theatre is presenting a ton of queer programming throughout the month. Their plays cover everything from open mic to strip tease and The Lady Hamlet, with something new on stage just about every night during Pride.

Greenspace: World Pride Edition
An annual days-long event orchestrated by the 519 Community Centre, this year's Greenspace will be amped up a few notches. The Ryerson Quad and Cawthra Square Park are turned into giant gay celebrations, running from 1 p.m. until 1 a.m. Parties like Lipstick Jungle, Starry Night and TreeHouse are what Pride is all about, for many of us. Check out more details on their site.

Human Rights Conference
All past International Grand Marshals will participate in this year's human rights conference, alongside this year's Marshal, Georgian human rights activist Anna Rekhviashvili. Some of the topics to be explored include challenging the colonial anti-sodomy law legacy, LGBTQ++ issues in the global workplace, sex work activism, and greater inclusiveness in schools. The conference runs from June 25 to 27, with further scheduling available online.

Closing ceremonies
Tegan and Sara and Rich Aucoin, among others, will perform in Yonge-Dundas Square to mark the closing ceremonies of World Pride 2014. Parade awards will be handed out, and the nest World Pride host city honoured. The event, on June 29 at 5 p.m., is free. And alcohol will be served, in case you were wondering.

Art Shows

Generations of Queer exhibit at OCAD
Generations of Queer features diverse work by artists Robert Flack, John Greyson, Elisha Lim and Kiley May. It's all about storytelling, exploring the relationship between the two older artists who have paved the way through their activism, and the resulting world the younger artists grow up in as a result of that. It also features an interactive component made to honour LGBTQ++ people worldwide in the form of the blog The Queer Pride Chronicles.This exhibit is already on at OCAD, and will continue through until June 28.

What It Means To Be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility
What It Means To Be Seen chronicles the importance of visibility when it comes to widespread acceptance of people within LGBTQ++ communities. It will include a range of photographs from Ryerson's Black Star collection, the Canadian Lesbian + Gay Archives, and other collections from the U.S. and Europe.The exhibit is organized and presented at the Ryerson Image Centre, in collaboration with the AGO and WorldPride 2014.

Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity
The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art will take a look beyond the campy mainstream portrayal of queer sexuality and identity, looking deeper into a more authentic queer identity, and the influence that identity has had on more "mainstream" culture. Artists include Stephen Andrews, Attila Richard Lukacs, and Public Studio, among others. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 21, and in case you're already tied up throughout Pride, it runs through until August 17.

Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography
This AGO exhibit will examine gender play in both photography and video. Specifically, the show will "question and extend the practice of drag," and will feature the work of both Canadian and international artists. Fan the Flames will open to the public June 18, and it will run until September.

Parades and Marches

Trans* March
The Trans* March is for any and all who identify as trans*. It begins with a rally at the north stage, at the Church and Isabella intersection. This will involve both inspirational chants and a quick teaching session for everyone to learn the chants that go along with the march. This year's Trans* March is Friday, June 27, with the ally beginning at 7 p.m. and the march itself at 8 p.m.

Dyke March
The Dyke March is one of the more serious events taking place during Pride week. It's not a parade, but a political demonstration in which LGBTQ++ women and trans* folk take over the streets. The march begins at 12:30 p.m. on June 28 with sign making in Allan Gardens, then winds along carlton and up Yonge Street.

Main parade
This is one of the only vastly overcrowded events in the city's summer heat during which I am able to stay ferociously stoked the entire time. Seeing everyone from condom companies to accountants come out and march for gay pride is just unbelievably heart-warming and fun. Though things aren't perfect and there are still many bigots out there on the loose, the parade shows just how loving and beautiful people can be. You can also probably show up naked to this one and not get long as you're not affiliated in any way with the TDSB.

Photo by Mauricio Calero



Linda / June 16, 2014 at 04:09 pm
If I am correct, Streetfair ends at 2 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday, not 2 p.m.
PrideGoer / June 16, 2014 at 04:11 pm
Pretty sure the Gala sold out weeks ago.
steve / June 16, 2014 at 04:28 pm
Church Street is closed this coming weekend, the BIA is throwing a arty.
RobG / June 16, 2014 at 06:18 pm
Check out dundas square on the 27th and catch Against Me!

James W / June 16, 2014 at 07:06 pm
Chruch St is closed this weekend too however without vendors, the businesses only and the BIA is having a party, next weekend the marketplace and vendors and stages will be there.
Them there queers replying to a comment from John Labatt / June 16, 2014 at 09:15 pm
So in other words, you're only gay when you're engaging in homosexual activities? That has the same ring as "I'm not racist, but..."
P / June 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm
Hercules and Love Affair - this should be top of the list x1000
Liz B / June 16, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Great post, thanks!!
Wondering / June 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm
When is the main Pride parade?
Amy / June 17, 2014 at 09:20 am
As I couldn't find it in the article,

World Pride Toronto is June 20-29.
A "Good" idea / June 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Just out of curiosity, why are so many Toronto journalists so fond of the ancient expression "Toronto the Good"? I don't know if it occurs to them but 1/2 the people in this city were born outside of Canada, and that Victorian phrase means nothing to them. Is it sarcastic? Is it a put-down? Is it a compliment? Indeed, I'd say that a good 95% of the readers of the age group that reads BlogTo don't have a clue why they keep seeing it over and over.
Here's a novel idea; maybe it is time to let go of antiquated phrases in the same way we did: "By Jove", "Pip pip and all that rot", etc... It is, after all, 2014, not 1914.

Just sayin'. Don't hate on me.
Blessed / June 17, 2014 at 02:22 pm
A Big One that's not on here...Metropolitan Community Church does CHURCH ON CHURCH @ 11am Sunday at Pride Toronto’s South Stage(east side of Church Street just north of Carlton Street).
Come celebrate and worship with the Church that performed the FIRST LEGAL SAME SEX MARRIAGE in North America!
ALL faiths are welcome!
ps. Have fun JL. Pride is for everyone. Canada is for everyone!
James Fowler / June 17, 2014 at 06:08 pm

Hey, Here's an art exhibition that's been a staple of Pride for four years. While its great there are large institution doing large exhibitions, lets remember the grassroots events that don't have the big marketing dollars they have.

Here's DETAILS: GLADSTONE HOTEL, JUNE 26th, 7-11pm. Celebrating LGBTQ Canadian who have contributed to the arts.

Hope to see you there!

Mural what? / June 18, 2014 at 01:24 am
What is with that gawdawful depressing new mural on the wall of Crews? Is that supposed to draw people in, or make us run for cover? I've never seen such a sad, depressed lot of characters.
Ron / June 20, 2014 at 09:51 am
Johnny Rockets at Dundas Square is super gay friendly and a safe place to enjoy lunch and dinner as well during all the nearby events.
Henry replying to a comment from John Labatt / June 20, 2014 at 11:01 am
"as well as straits who do gay things like theather and gardening"

Too funny! These are people things like everything in life. There really is no gay or straight things as we are all people together hopefully striving for the same things in life. I am comfortable in who I am and it is not important for me to label myself whether I am "straight" with gay friends or I am "gay" with straight friends.
Larry / June 22, 2014 at 10:15 pm
Check out this awarding winning show on June 25-28 at the George Ignatieff Theatre next to a Varsity stadium! Type PW fairy and get half price tickets for opening night!
Larry / June 22, 2014 at 10:16 pm
Go to
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris pdf / June 25, 2014 at 05:58 pm
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gb / June 29, 2014 at 10:22 am
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