Toronto Pride 2018: What to Do and Where to Go
If You’re Looking for Live Performances
Toronto Pride always boasts an impressive roster of musical artists, and this year is no exception.
Extend your Pride Month celebrations amongst mummies and marble at the Royal Ontario Museum’s official Pride Toronto dance party, Friday Night Live: Colour ROM Proud, featuring top DJs, Drag Queens, dancing, pop-up food vendors and access to the ROM’s gorgeous galleries (Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, June 15, 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.).
Opening up Pride Weekend festivities is none other than actress and R&B songstress, Brandy. The “Boy is Mine” singer will be joined by Toronto’s own, Kapri in the middle of Yonge-Dundas Square. Don’t miss out on this epic evening full of non-stop entertainment (Yonge-Dundas Stage – Yonge-Dundas Square, June 22, 5:00 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 DJ Cozmic Cat and DJ Lucie Tic, drag queens, foods, drinks and entertainment amongst the fishes, mermaids and sharks. (Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Boulevard, June 22, 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.).
Watch live video by Roxanne Luchak, back-to-back Cherry Bomb DJs Denise Benson and Cozmic Cat with special guest DJ LL Cool Wei. Plus explosive performances by, DJ Recklezz and Spin Starlets. Celebrate our love electric at the official Dyke Day After Party for queer women and friends. (Mod Club, 722 College Street, June 23, 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.).
End your Pride celebration the right way and head on over to the Final Play stage for queer and Grammy-nominated artist, Kehlani’s stellar performance. Sing and dance your heart out for another amazing and momentous Pride Weekend. (Yonge-Dundas Stage – Yonge-Dundas Square, June 24, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
If You’re Looking to Party
The parties at Toronto Pride are fun, frenzied and fab.
Get the Pride party started early at the Art Gallery of Ontario with AGO First Thursdays. The city’s biggest art party will help launch Pride Month for the third year in a row with invigorating music, dance, stories and art. (Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, June 7, 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.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 Toronto’s own energetic fireball DJ/producer Ticky Ty with special performances by local star Tynomi Banks and BenDeLaCreme from Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3. (Cabana Pool Bar – 11 Polson Street, June 14, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Take the ferry to Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands for ‘Til Sunrise, a full day of dancing, cocktails under the sun and plenty of mermen. DJ performances include Phil Villeneuve, John Caffery, Philippe and Honey Dijon. 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 17, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Instead of dancing in the club, bust a move outside at Mega T-Dance. DJs Phil Romano from Italy and Miami’s very own Danny Verde will have you on your feet and fist-pumping to the hottest beats all day long. (Bud Light, Wellesley Stage, 15 Wellesley Street East, June 23, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.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 celebrating 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 1. Visit Pride Toronto for tickets. (The 519, 519 Church Street, June 8, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.).
If you’re a fan of Indigenous music or are looking to expand your music horizons, check out Catalyst, presented by Behold Revolutions Per Minute, AKA RPM, a global Indigenous music platform, label and artist collective. The lineup includes Toronto’s own Ziibiwan, an emerging Anishinaabe electronic artist and producer, Somali-Canadian beat producer, OBUXUM, queer Indigenous rapper, Dio Ganhdih, feminist rapper and poet, Chhoti Maa and the musical stylings of American Aymara electronic artist, Elysia Crampton (TD Village Stage, 77 Wellesley Street East, June 22, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Yalla Barra is back celebrating Middle Eastern culture in style. Partnering with Arabian Knights, a Church Street dance and performance party, this is a night to immerse yourself in Middle Eastern culture and dance to your heart’s content. (North Stage, Church Street and Isabella Street, June 23, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Returning to Pride 2018, is the South Asian Express, a cabaret style event celebrating South Asian culture and filled with enchanting performances, DJs, MCs and tabla beats that will have you dancing in no time. (TD Village Stage, 77 Wellesley Street East, June 23, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).
Don’t miss the 20th anniversary of one of the most popular Pride stages, Blockorama with Blackness Yes! and Toronto’s Black, Caribbean and African communities. This stage combines activism and a full day of dancing with an impressive lineup of hosts, DJS and performers. (Bud Light, Wellesley Stage, 15 Wellesley Street East, June 24 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.)
Savour the sultry sounds of Pan Dulce, this year’s Latinx focused event. This stage aims to create awareness for the intersecting identities of Latin Americans as well as welcoming any trans, queer, agender, non-binary, gender non-conforming or gender fluid folks who would like to shake their hips and spice up their night. (TD Village Stage, 77 Wellesley Street East, June 24, 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 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 a wide range of discussions and lectures about human rights issues, struggles and accomplishments. (The 519 Ballroom, 519 Church Street, June 7 to June 30.).
Commemorate those lives lost and affected by HIV/AIDS at the AIDS Candlelight Vigil. This year’s Vigil theme is Strength in Communities, embrace and look out for one another. (Barbara Hall Park – 519 Church Street, June 19, 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 in or get support from the Toronto trans community, any time before, during and after the 2018 Trans March. (Allan Gardens, Carlton and Sherbourne Streets, June 22, 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 any trans women of colour and people with diverse abilities. (Starts at Church Street and Hayden Street, June 22, 7:00 p.m. Rally, 8:00 p.m. March).
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. Check out the post-march rally in Allan Gardens for performances, crafting and dyke-community building. (Begins at Church and Hayden Streets, June 23, 1:00 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 including the cast from CBC’s comedy Schitt’s Creek . Daniel Levy, Noah Reid, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, Sarah Levy and Karen Robinson will be joining in on the festivities. Returning for another year as emcee will be the bubbly Drag performer Miss Conception. Let loose and have fun amidst the elaborate floats, colourful costumes and rousing music. (Begins at Bloor and Church Streets, June 24, 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 Montréal, 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 top queens with Australian drag DJ Kitty Glitter serving up sexy sets and igniting the dancefloor. Stay fabulous till the end for a special surprise guest performance. (Yonge-Dundas Stage – Yonge-Dundas Square, June 23, 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. Hosted by Pretty Munny Productions, this event is a must-see. (TD Village Stage, 77 Wellesley Street East, June 24, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.).
Finish Pride weekend with one Last Dance. Get ready to shake it with a high-energy lineup featuring Toronto locals DJ Sumation and DJ Barry Harris, Chicago’s DJ Karsten Sollors and Australian DJ Kitty Glitter. Bid farewell to Pride 2018 in style. (OLG Central Stage, 508 Church Street, June 24, 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).