Pride Toronto Celebrates 40th Annual and first-ever Phygital Pride Festival!

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Pride Toronto has reimagined the annual Pride Month and Festival Weekend for 2021, creating an innovative blend of digital programming and is hopeful for integrated physical experiences.


40th Anniversary of Pride Toronto
The Operation Soap bathhouse raids, which took place in 1981 – 40 years ago – generated a string of protests against queer oppression. Later in the year, “Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Toronto”, now Pride Toronto, was legally incorporated and an estimated 1,500 people celebrated Pride Day on Sunday, June 28th, 1981 at Grange Park. Near the end of a politically charged year, the day was billed as a time to relax and celebrate. This year, as we celebrate the progress our community has been able to make, we will also focus on the activism surrounding the Pride movement as our community collaborates together and works in unity against oppression.

In alignment with the City of Toronto’s statement yesterday we will not be able to move forward with our usual permits in 2021. The City of Toronto will however again proclaim June Pride Month with the annual Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall, launching a full month of digital programming by Pride Toronto, showcasing the heroes of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ communities and prioritizing community-driven events. Pride Toronto is proud to once again be a platform for the extensive creativity and talent of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

Highlighting Pride Toronto’s 40th anniversary and collaborating with key community members, and individuals who were there at the beginning, we are planning a number of new events where people can make safe connections with one another. Join us for weekly fun and educational IGTV series, interactive online activities, various panel discussions, and exclusive access in the studio with local party collectives.

We are excited to announce two Festival Weekends, June 18-19-20 and 25-26-27, both filled with community collaborated programming! Pride 2021 is by you, and for you –  and if you’re interested in joining one of the community planning committees please email [email protected].

Virtual Pride Parade – June 27, 2021 // 2PM
The Virtual Pride Parade will stay true to our political roots and reflect our community.
We will honour our courageous past, celebrating how far we have come and will remain vigilant to the ongoing needs of our community. We will help bring issues to light, challenging conventions, supporting our community, and promoting safety.

For updates and information on how to participate, please visit pridetoronto.com/parade 

Virtual StreetFair –  Launching Online // June 2021 
Pride Toronto has always been honoured and grateful to call the Church-Wellesley Village home. This year, to continue keeping everyone safe, Pride Toronto is excited to announce the future launch of the first-ever Virtual StreetFair!

Expanding on our Vendor Portal pridetoronto.com/vendor-shop; get excited for an interactive, and expanded curated list of local  2SLGBTQ+ vendors, community services, and businesses. An online version of everyone you’d expect and get excited to see down Church St. in the annual StreetFair.  For information on how to participate please email [email protected]

Physical-based Initiatives and Public Health
Throughout June, Pride Toronto is hopeful to also feature a series of physical-based initiatives to bring digital programming to community members in safe and accessible ways. Additional physical-based programming could include art installations or exhibitions, community pop-ups, and other collaborations with small venues. Complete programming details will be announced on May 3, 2021. For all physical-based initiatives, Pride Toronto will continue to follow Public Health Ontario and Toronto Public Health’s recommendations and restrictions when planning. Pride Toronto is prioritizing to ensure the safety and well-being of all event participants and community members.

Board of Directors and Staff Statements
“Pride Toronto is strongly committed to continuing our work with our membership, volunteers, and the broader 2SLGBTQ+ community to shape the 2021 Pride Festival and 40th anniversary celebration of Pride Toronto, prioritizing community-focused programming, amplifying local advocacy, and elevating the most marginalized voices in our community. We appreciate the support of everyone who has helped Pride Toronto navigate these challenging times.” – Grant Gonzales and Yuri Hernandez, Co-Chairs, Pride Toronto Board of Directors

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of public spaces and the cancellation of events across the city, causing great stress on 2SLGBTQ+ artists, the arts sector, and many local queer-friendly businesses. Our goal is to maintain and support as many artists and local businesses as possible while also producing a Festival that is safe and accessible during these difficult times. Our priorities will remain the health and safety of our community as we celebrate 40 years, and work towards a full recovery for all. ” – Sherwin Modeste, Executive Director

Sponsors and Partners
Pride Toronto is made possible with the support of our many committed stakeholders who continue to support us through this transition. Special thanks to Presenting Sponsor TD Bank Group, who without hesitation continues to stand behind Pride Toronto during this difficult time. Without this support Pride Toronto would not be able to continue to have the resources necessary to produce the annual Festival. 

Thank you to all of our entertainers, curators, volunteers, business partners, community leaders, partner events, and festival participants who make Pride Toronto possible. We look forward to celebrating with you again throughout June. Pride Toronto will continue to provide resources and effort to support and engage with the communities we serve.

The 2SLGBTQ+ communities continue to be among the most vulnerable in Canada and hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing significant discrimination in all areas of life, barriers to accessing healthcare and mental health services, facing higher rates of homelessness, poverty, and social isolation —one thing is evident, our community needs ongoing support now more than ever.

Stay Safe, Stay Proud. Happy Pride!

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