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Gay Pride Week

By Natalie Grant, USA, June 2011

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From June 24th to July 3rd this year in Toronto, over a million people will flood the streets for Pride Week. This year’s theme is “Dream Big.” You can fund-raise while rocking out at the launch party on June 23rd at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, play golf at Angus Glen during Women’s Golf Day (proceeds go to Pride Toronto’s Dyke Program) or attend Libido, the Dyke March fundraiser at the Gladstone Ballroom, both on June 30th.
The street festival itself begins on Friday July 1st with an evening Trans March, then a Dyke March on Saturday and the legendary Pride Parade on Sunday. Between events, one can mingle and soak up the ambiance at one of the eight stages that will be set up downtown.

Toronto is home to Canada's largest gay community and also to the first fully recognized same-sex marriage in North America. Same sex marriages have been legal in Ontario since June 23rd, 2003. Although many couples choose to get married in City Hall, there are plenty of other more romantic options available around town where lovers of all kinds are accommodated.

If you’re not lucky enough to be in the area for Pride Week but still want to take part in the gay community, there are a multitude of other opportunities to explore this particular niche of Toronto history.

Although set in Pittsburgh, Queer As Folk was actually shot in Toronto. After checking out some of these locations, consider catching a postmodern performance from the queer theatre community. A visit to the Gay Village (colloquially referred to as “The Village”) is a must, whether you’re looking for a quirky present, cup of coffee, or scandalously strong cocktail after hours.
Toronto also offers Canada’s only Queer Walking Tours, where you can explore the Gay Village (2 hrs/$20) or Allan Gardens (1 hr/$10). You can also ‘book’ a tour guide for yourself or your group for the day who will personally show you around the city and, later, its gay nightlife (minimum 3 hours/from $50).

Photo courtesy of Pride Toronto

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