People in Toronto mourning loss of beloved Canadian drag icon Michelle Ross
People in Toronto are mourning the loss of Canadian drag icon Michelle Ross, who passed away Sunday after blowing audiences away with her captivating performances and loving disposition for nearly 50 years.
The beloved drag queen got her start performing at Toronto's Club Manatee back in 1974, according to Pride Toronto, and she was known for her acts as female entertainers including Dionne Warwick, Gloria Gaynor and Diana Ross.
"Michelle was a proud Jamaican-Canadian who reigned the local drag scene for over four decades," wrote The 519 in a statement on Twitter. "Through her performances and personal interactions, she was known to exude kindness and warmth."
We bid adieu to a legend, a queen, an icon: Michelle Ross.— The 519 (@The519) March 29, 2021
A proud Jamaican-born Canadian, Michelle, reigned the local drag scene. Known to exude kindness and warmth, she wowed folks at our Green Space Festival helping raise funds for our communities. Rest in power, Ms. Ross! pic.twitter.com/kDCjNEJTpZ
Ross frequently performed at a number of venues in Toronto's Church and Wellesley Village, including Woody's and Crews and Tangos — where a memorial featuring flowers, photos and cards has been set up in her honour.
Our village, our city and our world has lost Michelle Ross. Michelle was legendary for her kindness, friendship, commitment, style and raw talent. May she continue to inspire us all. xo pic.twitter.com/INmWGn1RJ8— Glad Day Bookshop (@GDBooks) March 28, 2021
She also performed in a number of high-profile events all over the world, including in Japan, Paris, London, New York City, Chicago, Texas, Florida and her native land of Jamaica.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the legendary Michelle Ross has passed away.— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) March 29, 2021
Michelle wowed audiences at Pride Festivals past with electrifying performances and this year's Rise Up! event. We'll cherish her memory for years to come.
Classy. Elegant. Glamorous. Miss Ross. pic.twitter.com/nSwh29btgT
Members of Toronto's 2sLGBTQ+ community have been taking to social media to share photos, videos and memories of the queen in the wake of her death, the cause of which is not yet known.
Is it true? Did we lose Michelle Ross? What an honour it was to see her perform, a Black queen who held court in Toronto's drag scene since the mid '70s — taking up space in white rooms, and commanding our attention with love and an incredible stage presence. Rest in power. pic.twitter.com/weYFv3fLXT— JP Larocque (@jplarocque) March 28, 2021
"The passing of Michelle Ross marks a significant loss in our community," wrote city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam on Twitter Sunday.
"She was a trailblazing icon who touched and changed so many lives. May we remember her always - fierce, kind and embracing of all. To our queen and most gifted artist, may you rest in community power."
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