It’s that time again! Pride is taking over Toronto and we’ve rounded up our picks for the hottest parties and must-attend events happening across the city.
8 pm Libido @ The Gladstone Hotel (Ballroom), 1214 Queen St. W. A circus-themed party for the 2012 Toronto Dyke March and a fundraiser for queer artist Coral Short and their Hole-y Army project. (The Hole-y Army is a fantastically luscious carnival of colourful textile puppets, 100 diverse textile vagina/hole puppets that will be joining the Toronto Dyke March on June 30.) Expect a twisted night of queer arts, sexy performances, raffled prizes, and beats by DJ Linguist. $10 in advance, $15 at the door (though no one turned away for lack of funds).
9 pm The Gayest Show on Earth with Darcy Michael @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 1214 Queen St. W. Vancouver queer comedian Darcy Michael in a hilarious and wild celebration of everything queer. Featuring the best of Toronto’s stand up, sketch, improv, music, and drag performances. $20 advance tickets available online.
10 pm Gay Wings @ The Yukon, 1592 Queen St. W. The Yukon kicks off Pride right with cheap and delicious wings while the equally cheap and delicious DJ Vee Sun spins all things gay.
7 pm “10×10” Opening Reception @ The Gladstone Hotel (2nd floor gallery), 1214 Queen St. W. “10×10 started as 10 talented LGBT photographers who decided to point the camera on some of the people who have made contributions to the arts over the years and captured the faces of rising new stars. This year’s exhibition represents a celebration of some of the LGBT faces who have worked in the public eye and behind the scenes to make our communities thrive.” Until 10 pm.
8:45 pm AIDS Candlelight Vigil @ AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Square Park, 10 Cawthra Square. A community memorial event to honour, remember and celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDS, and to recognize and honour those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS. This year’s theme is Healing and Recovering, which acknowledges “a process of change in which individuals improve and often reclaim their health and wellness and strive to reach their full potential.” Until 10 pm.
10 pm Bounce @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. The Drake Hotel kicks-off its Pride long-weekend with an evening dedicated to everything bounce and bass. Featuring two of North America’s best booty-movers: Big Freedia and Brenmar. With support from locals Roney + Nani, Lucie Tic, and Kevin Ritchie. 4 AM LAST CALL. Limited $10 advance tickets available online.
10 pm Venus Infers @ The Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St. W. Official homecoming party for House of Venus (Michael Venus). A Pride party full of glamour and inebriated shenanigans with DJs Dreamboats, Betti Forde, and Michael Venus dropping tracks to make you dance ’til you drop your pants!
10 pm Goth Drag: Pride Edition @ The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W. DJs Murderess Margot and Schramm spin dark dance music while special guests CBB and JAL bring their own macabre magic. Hosts Lavender Stain and Saddlebags Thomas bring you from dusk until dawn in leather and lace. 4 AM LAST CALL. $5.
10 pm Steers & Queers: Night of 1,000 Dollys @ The Gladstone Hotel (Ballroom), 1214 Queen St. W. This travelling Fairy Home Companion will take the Ballroom back to its roots as a rowdy country bar for one night only to pay tribute to country’s greatest drag queen, Dolly Parton! With special guests Keith Cole, Lex Vaughn, Kelly McMichael, The Tennessee Mountain Homo Choir, Mahogany Storm, and Trixie & Beever + DJs Joe Blow and Sigourney Beaver. Dress code: Dolly drag, country and western realness…you’re not just watching the show, you’re a part of it. Yee haw! $10.
10:30 pm Sheroes #11: Dusty Springfield (Pride Edition) @ The Beaver, 1192 Queen St. W. A free white hot remix tribute to the Queen of the Postmods. Performances by Judy Virago (drag), Sianteuse (bluesey wail), Nancy Bocock (cosplay), Vee Stun (anti-diva), Jeanette Lynes (poetry), Natalia (OBE pop), and Silk Degrees (emcee extraordinaire). Featuring League of Legendary Ladies karaoke, sounds by DJs Aaron Knight (Shake A Tail) and Noloves, installations, and visuals.
8 pm Crush @ The Opera House, 735 Queen St. E. Join 800 hot women under one roof to celebrate Toronto’s Annual Women’s Pride Dance! With DJ Deb Parent and guests. $20 advance tickets available online, $25 at the door.
10 pm Party City @ The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W. With DJs Larry Tee (NYC/London) and Stereogamous (Sydney) + a special performance by Betti Forde. Tee moved to NYC by way of Atlanta and quickly took over the NYC club scene with his epic party Love Machine. He also started and named the infamous DISCO 2000 of “Party Monster” movie fame. Stereogamous has remixed or collaborated with Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Jake Shears, Sia, Sam Sparro, LCD Soundsystem, Faker, The Presets and many more. 4 AM LAST CALL. $10 before 11 pm, more after.
10 pm Yes Please! @ Bambi’s, 1265 Dundas St. W. Celebrate Pride with sexy sounds in a hot subterranean space. DJs Joe Blow and Denise Benson (Cherry Bomb) play beats, bass n’ guitars for your pleasure and theirs. $5.
10 pm Big Primpin’ Pride Edition @ Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St. W. Hip-hop and hot times for homos, their friends, and admirers. With DJs Dionne, Kevin Ritchie, Nino Brown, and Phil V. For line bypass, email email@example.com. $5 before 11:30 pm, more after.
10 am Pride & Remembrance Run 5K @ Church & Wellesley. This run draws out over 1,000 runners and walkers every year. This year’s fundraising beneficiaries are HALCO, The LGBT Youth Line, and the Pride and Remembrance Foundation. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Pride Run.
1 pm Wet! Pride Beach Block Party @ OLG Central Garden, Church & Maitland. Get soaked, reallll soaked. Featuring a wet underwear contest, water gun fights, and more! With DJs Boots Boogie, Phil V, Sikh Knowledge, Gangbangaz, Quinces, Blackcat, Sumation, Craig Dominic, SpekrFreks with Melleefresh, and Billie Newton Davis + host Matt Sims. Until 7 pm.
1 pm Fruit Loopz @ Alexander Parkette (outside Buddies In Bad Times Theatre), 12 Alexander St. A festival of arts, words and ideas for spectrum (LGBTQ) youth, by spectrum youth. Drumming and dream-catcher-making workshop from 1 to 4:30 pm. Queer youth performers showcase their talents in spoken word, drag, dance, vogue, poetry, and songs on the Fruit Loopz youth stage from 5:30 to 8 pm. DJ from 8:10 to 9 pm. Until 10 pm.
2 pm Dyke March @ Church & Hayden. A grassroots event where women and trans people take over the streets of Toronto! A political demonstration of critical mass; a moment seized to revel in the strength, diversity and passion of LGBTTIQQ2SA women and trans folk.
2 pm Aqua @ Sugar Beach, Queen’s Quay & Lower Jarvis. The ultimate beach party! With DJs Manny Lehman, Honey Dijon, Aron, and Alessandro + live performance from Pussycat Dolls’ Jessica Sutta. Fireworks at sunset. Until 10 pm.
8 pm Wannabe: The Spice Girls Tribute Band @ Paul Kane Parkette, Wellesley between Church & Yonge. Fifteen years after they swept the world, the Spice Girls are back (sort of). Live singing, live band, accents, choreography and, most importantly, platforms!
9 pm Cherry Bomb Pride @ Revival, 783 College St. DJs Cozmic Cat and Denise Benson keep you dancing, Cherry Bomb style! With special performances by Rouge (electro-synth, riot-girl dance trio) and Urvah Khan (rocker, rapper, and high-energy performer) + guest DJs Leticia Love and Sticky Cuts playing sexy urban grind jams, hip-hop, reggae, and R&B all night long in the Stone Lounge downstairs. $15 at the door with limited advance tickets available at Soundscapes, Glad Day Bookshop (598-A Yonge St.), and online.
9 pm Truck Stop @ The Courthouse, 57 Adelaide St. E. The top women’s party in L.A. and NYC is rolling into town to bring Toronto a night of high octane, gear grinding, sensory overdrive. L.A. DJ Brynn Taylor tears up the decks and makes you dance all night. $20 advance tickets available online, $25 at the door.
10 pm Cruise @ Margret, 2952 Dundas St. W. You can’t take the Junction to Pride, so Margret and (ALT)Night are bringing Pride to the Junction! DJs Dislexia and ]Lady Sarah (all vinyl glam jams and pop wonders) on the decks + dirty divas, those YMCA guys, $2.50 grilled cheese, and more! FIERCE costumes are encouraged – giveaways (records and other silly things) for best costumes. Free!
10 pm Yes Yes Y’All Pride Edition @ The Annex Wreckroom, 794 Bathurst St. Toronto’s biggest, baddest, sweatiest queer hip-hop/dance hall jam! Talent for the night is Jr. Flo, A-Game, Tasha the Amazon and, of course, the YYY crew. BBQ in full effect. $12 advance tickets available at Soundscapes and online, $15 at the door.
10 pm Hotnuts Christmas @ The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W. Performance by Christeene + DJs JJ Booya (Texas), Regina The GentleLady, and resident Hotnuts DJs das Hussy and Produzentin. Hosted by Mary Messhausen. $10 limited advance tickets available at Rotate This and Soundscapes, $12 at the door.
1 pm Alterna-Queer @ Alexander Parkette (outside Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), 12 Alexander St. An alternative to mainstream. No floats, no banners, no sponsorship, just remarkably talented entertainment all day long and into the evening! Performances by Some Minor Noise, The C’mons, Radius and Helena, Mittenz, Loveshot, Vag Halen, Sluts on 45, CJ Sleez, Random Order, Kids On TV, Alterna-Queer Cabaret presented by Fuck U Fridays, Venus De Mars, Plastiq Passion, and Die Mannequin + DJs Venus DeMars and Triple-X. Until 11 pm. Official afterparty at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
1 pm Women’s Arm Wrestling for Charity @ Alexander Parkette (outside Buddies In Bad Times Theatre), 12 Alexander St. Put your elbows down and your hands together! Each wrestler dukes it out to the tune of her own theme song and brings her posse as back up. Event is open to everyone and fake names and costumes are highly encouraged! Proceeds go towards local organizations whose services benefit women and girls.
2 pm Annual Pride Parade @ Bloor & Church. Now in its 32nd year, this year’s Pride Parade theme is “Celebrate & Demonstrate.” Come out and show your support!
10 pm Business Woman’s Special: Pride Edition @ Augusta House, 152-A Augusta Ave. Go to the parade, walk in the Village, hit up a beer garden, and then swing over to Kensington for a Pride throw down BWS stylez! DJs Sammy and Nino Brown spin and Kimon captures every slutty moment in the photo booth. $10.
~ Caitlyn Holroyd