Toronto’s 33rd annual Pride Parade had all the elements of a great party: sunshine, water guns, loud music, rainbow flags, Rob Ford masks, an all-male cheerleader troupe and hundreds of thousands of sweaty, spirited spectators. Ontario’s first openly gay premier Kathleen Wynne received the loudest cheers from the crowd (they even chanted her name and stretched to touch her as she passed), and Justin Trudeau and an NDP float starring Olivia Chow and Thomas Mulcair also got props on their way down Yonge Street. Along with waving politicos, the procession had police officers with rainbow necklaces, beaming moms and dads, glammed up drag queens, rollerskating lesbians and more speedos than a men’s diving competition—a display of diversity that did Toronto proud.
All stories relating to Pride Toronto
Dear Urban Diplomat, Read the rest of this entry »
I moved near the Gay Village last year and noticed many of my neighbours renting out their front yards as parking spots—for exorbitant rates—during Pride Week. I doubt this is legal, and gouging visitors is certainly not ethical. Plus, it makes my neighbourhood look like a hick town. How can I dissuade my neighbours from repeating the scam this year and sullying the area’s image?
—NIMFY, Upper Jarvis
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Every two weeks, we go to a different neighbourhood, seeking Toronto’s best-dressed denizens and examining the diverse style sets that make up the city. This week, we look back on a year’s worth of outfits and pick our favourite 15. They run the gamut from subtle to attention-grabbing, ladylike to rockstar, retro to decidedly modern. All of them, however, share one important attribute: they are undeniably cool.
Despite the fact that Ford Fest is open to anyone who cares to schlep over to Rob Ford’s mom’s house in Etobicoke, every year there seems to be some issue with the guest list at the community barbecue. Last year it was speculation over whether Tim Hudak would attend (he did); this year, a contingent from the LGBT community is planning an unofficial Pride parade for this evening’s event. The idea is to help the mayor see what he’s been missing (and, we imagine, to enjoy some hot dogs, beer and pony rides). The group’s Facebook event page explains:
Well, since Rob was too busy to come to any Pride events this year, we are going to bring the Pride Parade to his backyard. After all, everyone is invited.
Toronto Pride conjures a multitude of iconic images: leather-clad “daddy” types with their vested “sons,” drag queens clad in feather boas and covered in glitter, lesbians with asymmetrical haircuts, and men and women sporting various shades of nude. And of course, we saw each type enjoying a rollicking good time at last weekend’s parade. Yet the styles in the Village are so much more dynamic these days. We spotted gentlemen in embellished vests and loose knit tops—the finishing touches on undeniably stylish, yet not too ostentatious ensembles—and even the eccentric appeared more put-together, with fits that flattered the body and hair that framed the face. The emphasis is no longer on one-upmanship or shock value; it’s on having fun in something cool and comfortable. Read the rest of this entry »
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The 2012 Toronto Pride parade brought out a lot of different feelings: confusion (as to why GO Transit was there, and how its bear mascot avoided heat stroke in that furry costume); elation (as co–grand marshals, Toby’s Law advocates and MPPs Laurel Broten and Cheri DiNovo were ushered in by leather-clad dykes on bikes); surprise (thanks to the popularity of water guns, which made the white-shirted author of this post look like he was competing in a wet T-shirt contest); fatigue (mostly with arbitrary corporate tie-ins, like the people jumping around in Kangoo boots, riding electric bikes and doling out ginger snaps). And, um, obviously, pride—it’s hard not to feel proud of Toronto when thousands come out to support a diverse group of marchers that included a steelworker union, the Native two-spirited community, reps from AIDS hospice Casey House, and a couple who repeated their wedding ceremony on a Windsor Arms–sponsored float over and over again.
The Pride Parade is this weekend, and while there are many old standards to choose from—a feather boa, a latex onesie or a jock strap with a smile—here’s a much more adorable option: the bear tank by Geoff McFetridge for North Star, available at Magic Pony’s pop-up shop. No, this isn’t just for men who like “bears” or consider themselves hirsute—it’s for anyone, male or female, who finds the heat unbearable, wishes to seek refuge from the burden of sleeves and wants to wear something that makes people smile (go on, smile). This weekend is going to be a scorcher, and we’d pair this adorable bear with a bottle of water, sunscreen and a cocktail. Just look at those eyes. $30.
Magic Pony, 680 Queen St. W., 416-861-1684, geoffmcfetridge.com
1. CANADA DAY FIREWORKS (FREE!) Read the rest of this entry »
In the interest of easing the decision-making process, here’s a round-up of the ideal spots to catch brightly coloured explosives making pretty patterns in the sky this Canada Day. The city’s official fireworks display kicks off around 10:15 p.m. at Mel Lastman Square; Ashbridge’s Bay Park’s display begins at 9:30 p.m.; Canada’s Wonderland’s light show, set to a soundtrack of Top 40 tunes, kicks off at 10 p.m.; Downsview Park’s fireworks will start at dusk; and Amesbury Park’s show (at Keele and Lawrence) will start around 9:45 p.m. Plus, Ribfest and the CHIN picnic also have light shows. July 1. Admission is free. Various locations and times.
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Though his likeness made an appearance, Rob Ford himself was “unavailable” for the raising of the Pride flag at city hall yesterday—which is not surprising, given that he said he wouldn’t show and didn’t last year. But the vague excuse of having to do something somewhere was still disappointing, given that his unexpected presence at a gay-outreach event last month felt like progress. Instead, Kristyn Wong-Tam hosted the noon-hour event that kicks off Pride Week. It was also attended by 25 other councillors, including Ford supporters like Michael Thompson, Frances Nunziata and Doug Holyday, who said it would have been “appropriate” for Ford to show his face at the event. That’s true—but we trust that Pride will still manage to be one of the summer’s liveliest events, with or (more realistically) without the mayor. [Globe and Mail]
On his last Newstalk 1010 show until September, Rob Ford entertained the idea of a big, celebratory parade held in Toronto on July 1—one that would have nothing to do with that other big, celebratory affair on July 1 known as the Pride Parade. The Fords took their alternately dull and gaffe-prone radio program into patriotic territory after Frances Nunziata called in to talk about the annual Canada Day event at Weston Lions Park. Noted idea-man Doug Ford piped up that the city should have a Canada Day parade next year, complete with troops and flags, and Rob heartily agreed. We’re not sure why they’re getting excited about an event that they’ll never attend, thanks to the iron-clad, absolutely unbreakable Ford family laws about spending Canada Day weekend at the cottage—or is there some kind of secret loophole for non-Pride parades? [Toronto Star]
After hemming and hawing (once again) over whether to fund Pride if Queers Against Israeli Apartheid marches, council ultimately decided to give the parade its money—and officially condemned the term “Israeli apartheid” to appease those who object to the potential parade participant. After the vote, Doug Holyday made the usual threats to revoke the funding if things get too political at the event. Kristyn Wong-Tam, meanwhile, said it’s unfair Pride has to jump through hoops to get its grant—roughly $124,000—while other mega-events don’t face the same scrutiny. She should, therefore, be delighted to hear Rob Ford (who has a checkered parade history) would like to level the playing field… er, by eliminating city funding for all parades in favour of private-sector sponsors. [Globe and Mail]
Something awfully surprising happened just moments ago: Mayor Rob Ford not only attended the flag-raising ceremony for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, but he also delivered the IDAHOT proclamation, receiving a huge round of applause and cheers from the crowd. Given Ford’s impressively weak ties to the gay community in Toronto, and the fact that his office had told organizers he wouldn’t be attending this event at all, we’re shocked at his surprise appearance. Does this mean he’ll be donning a neon green lycra Speedo and a Super Soaker holster at the Pride parade this year? (You’re welcome for the visual.)
Rob Ford has remained non-committal about whether or not he’d forgo all Pride events this year (we believe his exact words were “We’ll see”), but he has confirmed he won’t be attending an outreach event leading up to the festivities. Ford’s office told organizers that he simply can’t squeeze in a flag raising at city hall on May 17 to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The event had seemed like the safest bet for a mayoral appearance since it’s usually quite low-key (and Brian Burke would be there, so they could talk about hockey if Ford felt uncomfortable). Kristyn Wong-Tam, who has suggested the mayor is just shy, not homophobic, told the Globe and Mail that the mayor’s presence at the “gentle” and “welcoming” event “might have taken the question away about whether or not he supports the LGBT community.” Instead, skipping out on the flag raising, plus keeping silent while Sun News Network host David Menzies makes bizarre comments about George Smitherman’s sexuality on Ford’s radio show, is keeping those questions very much alive. [Globe and Mail]
After getting into a bit of a verbal spat with the mayor last week, Rob Ford’s former press secretary, Adrienne Batra, is hammering him again, this time for planning to avoid this summer’s Pride parade. Batra joins the chorus of columnists and city hall-watchers who believe Ford should suck it up and go to at least one Pride event—but, unlike many, she’s approaching the issue from the standpoint of strategy. The former insider says Ford isn’t homophobic. Rather, he’s concerned that marching in the parade would alienate people who are homophobic his more conservative political base (polls suggest most voters either don’t care or don’t want him to attend). Batra’s advice to Ford: attend the raising of the rainbow flag at the start of Pride Week, thereby supporting Toronto’s gay and lesbian community without estranging conservative voters by appearing at an event that features “naked ass chaps or getting hosed down by super soakers.” She may be right, but Ford didn’t take Batra’s advice when she was his press secretary last summer—why would he take it now? [Toronto Sun]