Toronto Pride 2019: What to Do and Where to Go
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the LGBTQ2+ movement around the world. In 1969, African American trans woman and revolutionary heroine Marsha P Johnson, helped instigate and became a frontline activist in the Stonewall Riots in New York City. In celebration of her life, Pride Month will be dedicated to Drag performers from around the globe sharing their culture and performances while inspiring us to live boldly and passionately.
Gigi Gorgeous, a Canadian YouTuber, actress and LGBTQ2+ icon will be this year’s Grand Marshall and make various appearances at the Pride events. Her weekend schedule can be found on the ”Pride website.
If You’re Looking For Live Performances
Toronto Pride always boasts an impressive roster of musical artists and this year is no exception.
Opening up Pride Weekend festivities is Moonshine, a collective group of DJS, musicians, dancers and instrumentalists from Montreal’s nightlife scene who know how to get the party started, along with headliner, Nakhane, a queer South African musician, writer and actor. Don’t miss out on this epic evening! (TD Main Stage, Church Street and Yonge Street, June 21, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Continue your Pride Month celebrations amongst mummies and marble at the Royal Ontario Museum’s, Friday Night Live: Colour ROM Proud event featuring top DJs, Drag Queens and Kings, dancing, pop-up food vendors and access to the ROM’s gorgeous galleries (Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, June 14, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Your deep-sea adventure awaits at A Night at the AQUEERium, where you can dive into a colourful evening of Drag Queens, food, drinks and entertainment amongst the fish, mermaids and sharks. (Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Boulevard, June 21, 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.).
Celebrate Indigenous Culture at The Indigenous Arts Festival with live music, storytelling, a craft market and much more! Watch inspiring and invigorating performances by Quantum Tangle, Amanda Rheaume,Midnight Shine and Jah’kota. The festival is presented by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and The Friends of Fort York. (Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Boulevard, June 21 to 23).
Head on over to Blockorama, the largest and longest stage at Pride. This year’s headliners include the Queen of Bounce and Beyoncé collaborator – Big Freedia and Grammy Award winner and R&B songstress, Mýa. Sing and dance your heart out for another amazing and momentous Pride Weekend. (Bud Light Wellesley Stage, 15 Wellesley Street East, June 23, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.).
If You’re Looking to Party
The parties at Toronto Pride are fun, frenzied and fab!
Start the Pride festivities at The Freedom Party, the official Pride Month launch party! In partnership with Rainbow Railroad, the party will kick off in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and will feature the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance. (Museum of Contemporary Art, 158 Sterling Road, June 1, 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.).
Relax on a private cabana and enjoy the sunset over Lake Ontario at Cabana Pool Party. Soak up the city’s waterfront skyline with RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 winner Monét X Change and DJ John Jellybean Benitez. Then, cool off with a refreshing cocktail with local legends Jada Hudson and Tynomi Banks. (Cabana Pool Bar – 11 Polson Street, June 13, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
For a party that’s nothing short of fabulous, take the ferry to Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands for Til Sunrise Island Party, a full day of dancing, cocktails under the sun and plenty of mermen. Fellow Fierté Montreal DJs and Drag performers will be stopping by to help celebrate! Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, flip-flops and your most colourful shades for Pride paradise. (Artscape Gibraltar Point, 443 Lakeshore Avenue, June 16, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.).
Rock the fluorescent colours, crop tops and chokers! Electric Circus will be bringing back 90s club hits and vibes. DJ/vocalist Sandy Duperval and Church Street legend JoJo Flores will be providing house music to carry you into the weekend. (OLG Central Stage, 508 Church Street, June 21, 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.).
If You’re Looking for Multicultural Flare
Toronto Pride is all about celebrating diversity.
Looking for Friday night dinner plans? Attend the Pride Shabbat Dinner in celebration of the Jewish community with an optional Shabbat service and delicious vegetarian dinner. Unfortunately, no tickets will be available at the door, so be sure to buy them before June 3. Visit ”Pride for tickets. (The 519 Ballroom, 519 Church Street, June 7, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.).
Visit Allan Gardens for Ka Niita Masinibigaawat Kayay Naytowgossiwat Naagishko Dodiwin an annual event to celebrate First Nations artists. It will be a day you won’t soon forget, filled with song, dance, spoken word and comedy. (Allan Gardens, 160 Gerrard Street East, June 23, 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.).
Yalla Barra is back celebrating Middle Eastern culture in style! This is a night to immerse yourself in Middle Eastern culture and dance to your heart’s content with resident DJ Louay and DJ Jamal, along with, Ottawa’s very own Queer Mafia crew. Afterwards, watch performances by local Middle Eastern Queens Hala Bae and Kero Patra. (Deloitte Village Stage, Gloucester Street and Jarvis Street, June 23, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.).
New Ho Queen, a Toronto queer Asian collective will light up the South Stage with a curated lineup of players, artists, performances and DJs to help embrace Asian love. (Fido South Stage, Church Street and Gould Street, June 23, 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Get ready to turn up at Tun Up! Toronto’s own RUDE Collective will start the show followed by a ballroom party with Ovah, while Brooklyn’s own Papi Juice and Bambii’s Jerk party will end the night in style. Celebrate Queer People of Colour and bust some moves to R&B hip hop, reggae, dancehall and global sounds. (Bud Light Wellesley Stage, 15 Wellesley Street East, June 22, 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.).
Savour the sultry sounds of DJ Djon and DJ Grump at this year’s LatinX focused event. This stage aims to create awareness for the intersecting identities of Latin Americans and welcome anyone who would like to shake their hips and spice up their night! (OLG Central Stage, 508 Church Street, June 22, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).
If You’re Looking for Activism and Dialogue
The Pride movement was born out of a spirit of political activism and Toronto Pride Week continues that tradition with critical dialogue and events tackling issues that affect the LGBTTIQQ2SA community.
Listen to various Human Rights Panels throughout Pride month featuring discussions and lectures about LGBTQ2+ issues online, while helping raise awareness around Trans issues using social media as a platform. (The 519 Ballroom, 519 Church Street, June 7 to June 30.).
Commemorate those lives lost and affected at Candlelight AIDS Vigil. This year’s Vigil theme is YESTERDAY, TODAY and TOMORROW – a retrospective look back through time at the loss, journey and suffering in the HIV movement, as well as the innovation, advocacy and activism. (Barbara Hall Park, 519 Church Street, June 18, 9:00 p.m.).
The Trans Pride Community Fair is a place to find additional information on the trans and non-binary community, browse booths, make connections or get support from the Toronto trans community, any time before, during and after the 2019 Trans March. (Allan Gardens Carlton & Sherbourne Streets, June 21, 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.).
If You’re Looking to March (Or Spectate)
Toronto Pride Weekend features three major parades and marches that celebrate gender and sexual diversity in all its forms.
Founded in 2009, the Trans Pride March has evolved into one of the largest annual events put on by Canada’s trans community, and all trans and non-binary individuals, friends and allies are encouraged to rally in solidarity. Leading the historic march will be trans women of colour and people with diverse abilities. (Starts at Church Street and Hayden Street, June 21, 7:00 p.m. Rally, 8:00 p.m. Steps off).
Toronto’s Dyke March is a grassroots event and political demonstration celebrating the power, strength, and diversity of women and trans people in the LGBTTIQQ2SA community. After the march, check out Allan Gardens for performances, crafting and dyke-community building. (Begins at Church and Hayden Streets, June 22, Rally is at 1:00 p.m. Steps off is at 2:00 p.m.).
Close off Pride at the one and only Toronto Pride Parade, the festival weekend’s premier event, featuring over 120 marching groups and 40 registered floats. Bring your energy, voice and most importantly, pride! Celebrate 50 years of global marches. (On the corner of Church Street and Bloor Street, June 23, 2:00 p.m.).
If You’re Looking For Divine Drag Divas
From the stars of Ru Paul’s Drag Race to homegrown talent from Toronto and Montreal, there’s more drag entertainment at Toronto Pride than you can shake a boa at!
A fierce and flamboyant event, Drag Ball is a local Drag Queen show featuring Toronto’s own Brooke Lynn Hytes with Tynomi Banks’ Bombshell show warming up the stage for our hometown superstar. The top three Queens from Drag Race Thailand will showcase their talents and Australian Drag Queen DJ Kitty Glitter will close out the night in style. (TD Main Stage, Church Street and Yonge Street, June 22, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Among dazzling Drag Queens will be dapper Drag Kings. Visit King Hour to watch Toronto’s Drag Kings provide a full hour of vibrant and engaging performances. Curated by East King Productions, this event is a must-see. (TD Main Stage, Church Street and Yonge Street, June 22, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).
Taking the city by storm, Toronto’s burlesque community will provide a full hour of mesmerizing acts. Curated by Jonny B Goode, these performances are about finding individuals that pop culture has told are lesser than and showing them that all bodies have value and are worthy of representation! (TD Main Stage, Church Street and Yonge Street, June 22, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.).
Finish Pride weekend with one Last Dance! Get ready to shake it with a high-energy lineup featuring Toronto local DJs: Hadara, Sumation, Dwayne Minard, Cajjmere Wray, Cozmic Cat and Barry Harris. It’s the perfect way to bid farewell to Pride 2019 in style! (OLG Central Stage, 508 Church Street, June 23, 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).