This year’s Pride is a special one: it is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. For those who are unfamiliar with the history, the Stonewall Riots served as the catalyst for the gay rights movement. Every June, around the world, people come together to celebrate their LGBTQ+ community. It has always been more than just rainbows, a parade, and a party. It has been about the celebration of life!
We’re midway into the month, but some of the biggest and best Pride events are just around the corner. From comedy, art, stage shows, panel discussions and, of course, parties – it can be hard to decide where to go. But don’t worry: we’ve rounded up 10 of the top places you need to be during Pride.
Night at the Aqueerium (Friday, June 21)
Drag queens, DJs and the deep sea? Yep, this event has it! You can dance the night away with music by DJ Cozmic Cat & Lucie Tic, while snapping a selfie with a shark. Sounds like a fun night to us! Tickets are $50 in advance and have sold out every single year.
Pride and Remembrance Run (Saturday, June 22)
The 2019 pride & remembrance run starts at the corner of Church & Wellesley Streets on Saturday, June 22nd. The run has thousands of participants lace up and is one of the largest fundraising event held during Toronto Pride Month. The run raises critical funds for LGBTQ+ projects and initiatives benefiting the community. The run starts at 10 am and if you can’t make that, join the after party at Barbara Hall Park, beside the 519.
Alternative Pride (June 20 – 23)
Pride Toronto has been surrounded in controversy for some time now. So we’re not surprised that Alternative Pride has sprung up and their mandate is to provide “an artistic platform without censorship; we strive to showcase Toronto’s vibrant queer community.” They have also proudly promoted that they do not accept any financial contributions from corporations or governments. The inaugural four-day festival has everything from after-hours dance parties, panel discussions and more.
Steers & Queers Night of 1000 Dollys (Thursday, June 20)
Hold on to your hat, Trixie Mattel – the queer country party of the year is back and dedicated to the original country queen herself, Miss Dolly Parton. Fluffy Soufflé will be getting everyone to pay their respects that evening, while cowpokes Weird Alice, Imogen Quest, Zyra Lee, and Halal Bae will be performing their best Dolly tributes. Don’t forget to bust out the Canadian tuxedo, cowboy hats and boots.
Clean, Sober + Proud! (June 23-25)
More and more people are exploring sobriety for them and we’re so excited to see Pride Toronto dedicate an entire space to clean and sober living. Taking place at Paul Kane Parkette located on the north side of Wellesley Street, the event provides a safe space free from drugs and alcohol. It will also include family-friendly entertainment, health + wellness practices, and confidential recovery meetings.
Vazaleen (Saturday, June 22)
One of the very first queer parties I went to in Toronto was Vazaleen, thrown by Will Munro. He passed away in 2010 from cancer, but his beloved queer rock ’n’ roll party returns to raise money for the Will Munro Fund for queer and trans people living with cancer and honestly, I am pumped. Drag queen Regina Gently will be performing and DJ’s Castelvi and Max Mohenu will be spinning the house tunes to make your booty bounce.
YYY x Boiler Room (Saturday, June 22)
Growing up, I used to always tune into Boiler Room broadcasts to hear all the latest in EDM and the best DJs. Well, I’m so pumped that the Boiler Room is teaming up with Toronto queer hip-hop/dancehall party producer Yes Yes Y’all for this Pride Party. The event will feature residents Nino Brown and Sammy Rawal and host NYC’s Tygapaw and Los Angeles’ Foreigner, among others at the Assembly Chef’s Hall. Best part? This party goes LATE. 4 AM LATE.
New Ho Queen: Asian Pride (Sunday, June 23)
For the past year, the team behind New Ho Queen have been making a name for themselves in the queer community and beyond. Their events are known for being a masterful production filled with eclectic music, and their Pride event should stop nothing short of that. An added bonus? The top three queens from Ru Paul’s Drag Race Thailand plan to make an appearance and performance.
Blockorama (Sunday, June 23)
This has become one of the standout events at Pride Toronto each and every single year and this year does not plan to disappoint. Organizers Blackness Yes! have invited bounce queen Big Freedia and R&B act Mýa to headline the stage, while all throughout the day they plan to have dancers and DJs. Arrive early!
Flamingo Market (Sunday, June 30)
What better way to support queer people than to support queer artists? This is the first year that the Flamingo Market is taking place and it’s got a jam-packed line-up. With over 30 vendors ranging from food to art to clothing to pins – it’s free to attend and runs from 1 PM to 7PM.