10 queer-owned bars and restaurants to support in Toronto this Pride Month
Queer bars and restaurants in Toronto have had a lot to deal with, over lockdowns and festival cancellations galore. As Pride Month begins and the Toronto festival is back in full swing after a brief hiatus, there's a great selection of queer-owned restaurants, bars and cafes that you can support to make up for lost time. And not just this month, mind you.
Here are some queer-owned Toronto cafes, bars and restaurants to support this Pride Month.
Working many years for and with the queer community at orgs like Inside Out, Guillermina Buzio is excited to celebrate her family, daily life and business at her Roncesvalles restaurant. As Pride returns, she's welcoming any boost to revenue in hopes of giving her spot a sweet redesign.
Owner behind Ossington's long-standing dive, May Brand is most excited to welcome all of the young queers that have missed out on over two years of 2SLGBTQ+ community building, and anyone reeling in the loss of other west-end queer bars. Look out for their drag, dyke and charity nights.
Pride "will always be a march and not a parade," says co-owner Samira Mohyeddin, reminding us that it's easy to glaze over Pride's political origins with all the glitter and balloons. Grateful to celebrate and honour its legacy, Samira says the city didn't "feel right" without the march.
Tons of Toronto Pride memories are under owner Calay Hall's belt, truly "finding herself" in the Church/Wellesley community, meeting lifelong friends and her partner. Calling it a surreal experience, Calay knows it's essential for young queers to discover their own loving community too.
Feeling like Pride will be better than ever this year, Anton runs this Brockton Village cafe, bar, flower and gift shop with a proudly queer team. Lockdowns hit small businesses hard, and it's important for Anton to be louder than ever for the community who came through to support them.
Co-owner Antovin Aries is ready for Pride's return and the slate of hungry customers and tourists near Church Wellesley Village, but is even more excited to get people together celebrating love. They usually host a wine-and-dine gathering of friends the day before the main parade.
Viv from this lesbian-owned cocktail bar has concerns about corporate rainbow-washing during Pride Month, feeling that it erases the historical element of Pride itself. Creating crucial space in Leslieville, Viv looks forward to lovely new faces and connections after so much isolation.
Owner and chef Iván Castro keeps younger 2SLGBTQ+ members in mind, hoping that celebrating Pride together again emits messages of love, hope, education and honour - for everyone who fought for what many might take for granted today.
Proud queer and non-binary owner Lev has complicated feelings about Pride's return, noting that what has turned into a celebratory festival awash with rainbows, must always be understood as a political protest and liberation movement initiated by trans women of colour. Amen!
Excited to return to some shade of normal after lockdowns, Pride means everything to the team at this Church Street thai spot. With love, humanity and equality at the forefront, being part of the Village community creates proud moments for this team every day.
Hector Vasquez, Fareen Karim & Jesse Milns
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