Top 12 Toronto LGBTQ Events in 2018

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Rhubarb Festival

There’s no shortage of diversions for LGBTQ visitors to this city. Toronto’s gay-friendly neighbourhoods offer incredible entertainment, art, theatre and festivals throughout the year. And we throw stellar parties, too! Here are the 12 top events on Toronto’s LGBTQ calendar for 2018. By Doug O’Neill.

Three actors sit in front of a stage.
Rhubarb Festival /
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

1. The 37th Annual Rhubarb Festival

February 14 to 25

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents experimental, edgy and fringe-friendly queer theatre, dance, music and performance art during the annual 10-day Rhubarb Festival.

2. The Wizard of Oz with Live Orchestra

February 17 & 18

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs live during a screening of the the classic movie which made Judy Garland famous – “The Wizard of Oz.” A must for friends of Dorothy!

Blame it on Bianca Del Rio Comedy Tour

3. Bianca del Rio: Blame It On Bianca

March 20

Roy Haylock brings his alter ego Bianca, the season 6 winner of RuPaul’s “Drag Race,” to The Danforth Music Hall. Bianca, known as “The Joan Rivers of the Drag World,” is sharp, sassy and she swears a lot.

4. SNAP! Photo Auction & Gala

March 22

SNAP! Is the popular annual photographic fundraiser for the AIDS Committee of Toronto. Expect lots of eye candy in addition to the live and silent auction and photo competition at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library.

5. On Broadway Pops Concert

April 10 & 11

Broadway stars Stephanie J. Block and Ramin Karimloo join the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a pops concert featuring classic numbers from “Carousel,” “Funny Girl,” “The King and I,” “Gypsy” and “Wicked.”

6. Hot Docs Festival

April 26 to May 6

North America’s largest documentary festival schedules screenings of more than 200 films from Canada and around the world over a 10-day period. Various downtown theatres.

Inside Out Film Festival film stills.
Inside Out LGBT Film & Video Festival

7. Inside Out LGBT Film & Video Festival

May 24 to June 3

Expect no fewer than 180 films and videos produced by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people from around the globe.

8. Nuit Rose

June 16

Toronto’s queer version of the world-famous Nuit Blanche festival takes the form of a late-night program of provocative, queer-focused art and performance throughout the city. It’s an edgy way to kick-start Pride festivities.

9. Pride Day

June 24

“Celebrate & Demonstrate!” is the theme of this year’s month-long Pride Festival and parade. The Church-Wellesley gaybourhood morphs into a weekend-long open-air party venue with lots of music, food, beer gardens, dances, craft stalls and theatre.

Rod Stewart with special guest Cyndi Lauper

10. Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper

August 10

Gay icon, Cyndi Lauper, joins legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Sir Rod Stewart, at the Budweiser Stage.

11. TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival

September 7 to 16

Hollywood heads north each September for the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival. Scores of movie stars (not to mention celebrity-watchers) descend on the city during the eleven-day festival which features 300+ movie screenings.

12. Church Street’s Halloween Night Party

October 31

The annual Halloween party on Church Street attracts thousands of revellers (many in costume, many scantily-clad) to the pedestrian-only street party in the heart of Toronto’s LGBTQ neighbourhood.