Press Release: April 1, 2021

Press Release: Pride Toronto Announces The ArQuives & Breakaway Community Services as 2021 Honoured Groups

Pride Toronto is excited to announce that The ArQuives and Breakaway Community Services has been jointly selected as our prestigious Honoured Groups and Charities of Choice for the 2021 Phygital Festival

Honoured Groups + Charities of Choice

The honourees were selected in recognition of their leadership and achievements in the 2SLGBTQ+ community. They were chosen based on their incredible contributions and important services offered. Pride Toronto will be recognizing both honourees throughout the 2021 Festival programming as well as extending any additional fundraising opportunities available.

“This year’s Honoured Groups truly reflect the 2021 Festival. We will be recognizing the history of Pride Toronto as well as the current complex environment in which we find ourselves in 2021. These two components have been incorporated in both our creative direction as well as in our Festival programming.” says Sherwin Modeste, Executive Director. “We look forward to recognizing the important contributions of both The ArQuives and Breakaway Community Services throughout 2021.”
A number of fundraising initiatives have been planned in support of both honourees for the 2021 Festival. Stay tuned for the full programming launch on May 3, 2021, for ways you can get involved.

About The ArQuives
The ArQuives is the world’s largest independent LGBTQ2+ archives. Its mission is to collect the stories of our communities, bring them to life, and share them with the world.

The ArQuives’ incoming Board President Marcos Persaud speaks to the role of The ArQuives: “We aspire to be a resource for those who strive for a future where all LGBTQ2+ people are accepted, valued, and celebrated. Our vision of the future includes a welcoming new space where our communities can continue to come together, share their stories, and celebrate their heritage.”

Executive Director Raegan Swanson explains further: “Our communities have managed to build the world’s largest independent LGBTQ2+ archival collection through the incredible devotion and countless hours of labour of volunteers and staff, over the span of 48 years. We’re thrilled that Pride Toronto has chosen to recognize the significance of this work at a time when COVID-19 has taken such a tremendous toll on LGBTQ2+ communities, our social connections, and culture.” says.

“Our aim is to engage more people in our communities in the work of bringing their own LGBTQ2+ stories to life, and we are especially looking to amplify the stories of those who are underrepresented within the collection. In coming months, The ArQuives will provide a platform for more people to actively engage with their own heritage and personal storytelling.”

Pride Toronto’s Executive Director Sherwin Modeste calls attention to the history at the heart of our communities: “The ArQuives is the place to go to learn about some incredible LGBTQ2+ history during Pride, as well as year-round. I especially encourage anyone interested in LGBTQ2+ history to visit and head to the Digital Exhibits section, where you’ll find stories reflective of our incredibly vibrant and resilient communities.”

You can help keep LGBTQ2+ stories alive by donating to The ArQuives at

About Breakaway Community Services
Established in 1989, Breakaway Community Services was designed to meet the treatment needs of youth 12-25 who were struggling with alcohol and drug use. Located in the heart of Parkdale, Breakaway transitioned into providing programs and services for all ages with the mandate to provide comprehensive harm reduction services that factor all aspects of a clients lived situations in. Breakaway currently serves approximately 65 clients and offers 6 programs that are built around understanding and acceptance.

The Satellite Opiate Treatment program provides services to people who are facing challenges related to their use of opiates with services ranging from opioid agonist treatment to case management and counselling. The Harm Reduction Outreach program is guided by the principles of harm reduction, which is to reduce any potential barriers that arise for individuals who are using substances. Our Family and Youth Initiative was developed to meet the needs of youth and their families who are struggling with substance use concerns from a supportive harm reduction approach. The Toronto Opiate Support Team operates in locations throughout Toronto as an outreach team to engage with and advocate for people who are using opiates or replacement medications and have little or no access to supportive services. The Addiction Supportive Housing program is for individuals who struggle with their relationship with substances and require stable housing. The first of its kind peer-led initiative, Pieces to Pathways, offers Canada’s only substance use support programs for LGBTQQ2SIA youth.

Unlike many other organizations, we don’t see addiction or its implications as linear. As a result, Breakaway adopts a harm reduction approach that allows us to meet our clients where they are, void of stigma and the indoctrinated thinking that drugs are inherently bad. We work with our clients in a way that helps them stay safe while implementing positive change.

For more information on Breakaway Community Services please visit us online at

2021 Festival Sponsors
Pride Toronto is made possible with the support of our many committed stakeholders. We are excited to announce a total of 36 presenting partners who have continued to support us through another transitional year. Pride Toronto will be welcoming 29 returning sponsors as well as 7 new partners to our confirmed list of major partners.

This past year has proven to be one of the most challenging yet for Pride Toronto, and especially for the 2SLGBTQ+ communities whom we serve. As a not-for-profit, we are dedicated to extending every available resource possible to supporting the communities we serve. The financial support from partners and stakeholders is how we are able to create the largest Pride Festival in Canada supporting over 200+ 2SLGBTQ+ artists, 100+ community makers, and contributing over $600 million towards the GDP.

“In 2020, Pride Toronto lost an estimated $3.5 million in expected revenue. It is only thanks to our dedicated sponsors and granting partners that we have been able to produce the 2020 and 2021 Festival. As community members who understand first hand the importance of the Pride Festival, we are eternally grateful to our partners and their leadership in supporting the 2SLGBTQ+ communities.”

– Grant Gonzales and Yuri Hernandez, Co-Chairs, Pride Toronto Board of Directors
Pride Toronto wants to send a special thank you to long-time Platinum Sponsor TD who was once again the first reassuring call we received when the 2021 Festival restrictions were put in place. TD will be presenting ASL interpretation and closed captioning for all Festival programming which will be announced on May 1, 2021.

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