Pride Toronto

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Reaction Roundup: the nine top responses to Rob Ford’s refusal to attend Toronto’s World Pride event

Rob-Ford“I’m not going to go to the Pride parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride parade. So I’m not going to change the way I am.”
Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto


Daniel-Dale“Wow.”
Daniel Dale, Toronto Star reporter covering the mayoral debate


Doug-Ford“[Rob Ford] is not homophobic…You know what’s ironic? I spoke to some folks in the gay community, and they said they weren’t going because they didn’t like the idea of men running—you know, middle-aged men, with pot bellies, running down the street buck naked. And they didn’t feel comfortable that they could bring their kids there. Do I condone men running down the middle of Yonge St. buck naked? Absolutely not. Maybe there are some people in this city that approve of that, and maybe they can bring their kids down to watch this.”
—Councillor Doug Ford, brother and campaign manager to the mayor


KWT“Should the morality police descend on the mayor’s office or the mayor’s home, they may have something to say about public drunken stupors and behaviour, crack cocaine use, the allegations of domestic assault, marijuana and hash dealing, improper use of city resources, drunken outrage, public urination, cultural appropriation of a Jamaican accent. I would imagine that it’s best not to judge.”
—Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes the Church-Wellesley Village


Pride“We thank Mayor Ford for his RSVP, and look forward to hosting another successful event in his absence.”
Pride Toronto, organizers of the annual Pride parade


Shelley-Carroll“This isn’t going to be a local embarrassment, this is going to be an international problem.That we have a mayor that is vocal and resolute, I’m not going to change, I don’t attend events that celebrate the LGBT community… It’s very similar to the embarrassment that Putin is causing his nation and the international hatred towards him.”
—Councillor Shelley Carroll


Norm-Kelly“I think the leadership of this council is going to be in complete support of this event and we should do everything we can to make sure Toronto and all of its communities, the gay community in particular, shows themselves off to the world in the best possible light.”
—Deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who will be officially invited to Pride


Kevin-Beaulieu“Frankly [hearing Ford’s refusal] was a bit of a surprise because we haven’t invited him yet. There is a very recent history of homophobic comments on video, and we would have to think about that very carefully before any specific invitation was issued.”
Kevin Beaulieu, executive director of Pride Toronto


Levy“I agree that @TOMayorFord should be at the Pride parade … but what about @kevinbeaulieu and Pride’s cowardly refusal to deal with QuAIA [Queers Against Israeli Apartheid]?”
Sue-Anne Levy, Toronto Sun columnist


(Images: Rob and Doug Ford, Kelly: Christopher Drost; Levy, Dale, Beaulieu: Twitter; Carroll, Wong-Tam: toronto.ca)

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Slideshow: the wittiest signs, jazziest costumes and proudest marchers at the 2013 Pride Parade

Pride Parade 2013

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.

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Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I stop my neighbours from renting out their front yards as parking spots?

Urban Diplomat: NIMFY

(Image: Lee J Haywood)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
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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The Goods

Street Style

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Year in Review: the 15 best street-style looks of 2012

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.

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Politics

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Ford Fest 2012 will have police, pony rides and a Pride parade

(Image: Sh4rp_i)

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.

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The Goods

Street Style

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Street Style: 33 looks at the men and women of the Village during Toronto Pride 2012

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.

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Random Stuff

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GALLERY: the liveliest revellers at the 2012 Toronto Pride Parade

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.

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Shopping

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The Find: a tank top to keep you fresh through sizzling, sweaty Pride

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


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Events

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The Long Weekender: Fireworks, That’s So Gay and six other items on our to-do list

1. CANADA DAY FIREWORKS (FREE!)
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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Politics

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Rob Ford’s vague plans keep him from the raising of the rainbow flag. Again.

(Image: Benson Kua)

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]

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Parade battleground: Rob Ford considers a big Canada Day event for the same weekend as Pride

”No, the Canada Day parade is over there.”

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]

(Images: Ford, West Annex News; Pride scene, Ryan)

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The yearly debate over Pride funding ends in a truce, and a condemnation

(Image: loozrboy)

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]

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Pride déjà vu: the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid debate imperils funding (again) 

Like another Pride controversy of yesteryear, the question of whether Queers Against Israeli Apartheid should be allowed to march in the Pride Parade is once again up for debate. Last year, some city councillors (we’re looking at you, Giorgio Mammoliti) freaked out over the possibility that the group would show up, and talked about revoking funding for the event. In the end, QuAIA volunteered to skip the march (though they did drape a large banner above the Wellesley subway station), and Pride got city cash (though council changed its Pride funding policy: it would only hand over the cash after the parade on the condition that the festivities don’t violate the city’s anti-discrimination policy). This year, however, QuAIA plans to apply to march, making council’s vote next month on Pride’s $123,807 grant potentially thorny. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that council is still working on figuring out exactly what qualifies as discriminatory: though the city manager has determined the use of the phrase “Israeli Apartheid” doesn’t break any anti-discrimination rules, the policy will be reviewed at the mayor’s executive committee meeting in June. [Globe and Mail]

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Politics

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SPOTTED: Rob Ford attends—and reads a proclamation at—a gay outreach event (!)

Rob Ford at IDAHOT flag-raising (Image: Don Peat via Twitter)

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.)

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Rob Ford opts out of attending a “gentle” and “welcoming” gay outreach event

(Image: Ryan)

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]