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Pride’s theme is “By All Means Necessary.”
Mayor Art Eggleton still refuses to proclaim Pride Week. After he proclaims “Official Muppet Baby Day”, the Pride Committee files a complaint of discrimination with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Toronto City Council votes to officially proclaim Pride Day, then recants. The Ontario Human Rights Commission rules against the Committee which is now left with $10,000 in legal fees.
Aids Action Now holds a parade Die-In. 40,000 people come and celebrate this year.
Gay Games lll Vancouver are held and are the first to take place outside of the United States. The first World Outgames was held in Montreal.
150,000 people take part in Pride Day in Toronto. To celebrate the theme “Come Out”, the parade Grand Marshals are members of “support groups to gays and lesbians in the coming out process”.
The parade starts at Carlton Street at Church, moves over to Yonge, up to Bloor and back over to Church. The Metropolitan Community Church holds services in the morning at Maple Leaf Gardens.
In the U.S., one million lesbians, gays and transgendered people attend the March On Washington with Canadians making up the largest international contingent.
“Queer By Nature” is the theme for Pride Week, running June 23rd-29th. An estimated crowd of 750,000 turn out for the week’s events. The Pride Committee recognizes as Grand Marshals those individuals involved in establishing anti-homophobia initiatives within the education system in Toronto. They include Tim McCaskell, Tony Gambini, John Campey, Krin Zook, Vanessa Russel, Margot Francis, Doug Stewart, and Ken Watson. The sun shines on 10,000 women who take part in the second annual Dyke March.
Pride’s theme is “The Best is Yet To Come.” The theme, chosen the previous fall, proves correct as provincial MPPs defeat Bill 167 recognizing same sex spousal benefits in Ontario after NDP Premier Bob Rae puts it to a free vote. Liberal opposition leader Lynn MacLeod flip flops, first supporting, then voting against the bill. Third party Progressive Conservative leader Mike Harris opposes the bill.
The parade Grand Marshals are drag kings and queens in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Stonewall. The Church Street Business Association lines Church Street with permanent rainbow flags. 400,000 people come and celebrate.
At the Pride March, parade goers staged the largest LGBT political action in Canadian History – 50,000 marchers wrapping a pink ribbon and forming a human chain around the legislative assembly.
Cutting edge Gay Men’s Hockey Club of Vancouver came together.
“Everyday, Everywhere: A New Decade of Pride” celebrates the tenth anniversary of the incorporation of the Pride Committee.
City Council proclaims Pride Day for the first time. The parade Grand Marshals this year are Two-Spirited People of the First Nations. 80,000 people celebrate.
In November, openly gay candidate Kyle Rae wins a seat as City Councilor for Ward 6.
Alberta Gay Rodeo Association established – largest in the world.
Pride’s theme for this year is “Forward Together.” Again Mayor Eggleton refuses the proclamation, yet 10,000 celebrate in Cawthra Park.
The first Pride Committee is formed to organize the event. For the first time, the Pride program and logo focusses on AIDS. The logo depicts an “electrocardiogram recording the last heartbeats of people dying of AIDS.”
Despite AIDS inducing hysteria and creating pariahs of people with the disease, corporate sponsors support Pride for the first time and help meet growing expenses for the event.
Board of Directors Questionnaire
Pronouns: He/ Him /His
Victor Perez-Amado is an Assistant Professor (tenure track) at the Toronto Metropolitan University School of Urban and Regional Planning. Perez-Amado grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and lived in Miami and Boston before settling in Toronto. He is trained as an architect and urban designer, graduating from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the University of Florida.
His academic research centres on aging-in-place studies and multigenerational housing, including in 2SLGBTQI+ communities. These projects include Aging Together and Queering Home, a partnership with Egale-Canada. Before joining TMU, he worked on various masterplans and designs for independent and assisted living, focusing on seniors with dementia and autism in Boston. On another scale of engagement with the city, Perez-Amado is interested in activating public spaces by designing and building interactive and educational installations in the public realm. His methodology is based on theories of placemaking, where he explores prototyping, visualization, activation, and community engagement. These include installations along King Street West, Ontario Place, Winter Stations in the Beaches, and Toronto Climate Action public parks. His work has been exhibited at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, the World Urban Pavilion in Regent Park, and the Harvard GSD Grounded Visionaries, among others.
Born in Mexico and a refugee in Canada, Viviana Santibañez is a strong community leader working with marginalized communities for over 12 years,
focusing on supporting and advocating for Latinxs living with HIV and 2SLGBTQ+ Latinos refugees. She is also the first Latina woman appointed to the board of directors of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network.
Viviana Santibanez is the founder and director of Vivi’r, a non-profit organization that helps and supports 2SLGBTQ+ immigrants, newcomers, and refugee Latinxs.Viviana connects with the community and refers people to social, legal, and health, running all these services with zero budget. She provides services for non-profit organizations such as Latinos Positivos Toronto, Toronto People Living with AIDS Foundation, Hispanic Canadian Heritage Council, Canada Trans Summit, and Ontario Cohort Studies. Viviana’s work incentivizing the LGBTQ+ community in Latino/Hispanic events has led to work with different communities, institutions, and organizations the support the integration of Latinx to Canada.
Viviana has a background in community health, nursing, community capacity building, and digital communications – She graduated as an Immigration
Consultant and assisted her community at no cost.
Multifaceted, she also represented Canada internationally, bringing the first-ever International Trans pageant title to Canada, where she competed in a trans-advocacy pageant that helped to inspire and empower trans women around the world. She is the first Latina awarded the Inspire LGBTQ Person of the Year in September 2022 by Inspire Awards. She has been recognized as among the 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians since 2022.
I am a world majority, Brown, Carib-Indigenous , trini, Indo, Chinese, callaloo, differently-abled, Jurassic and Bionic DYKE, Rainbow Senior/Elder.
Currently: a co-chair of the board of Pride Toronto, the Toronto Senior Pride Network, the board of ODLAN (Ontario Digital Literacy Access Network), trainer with The 519, the Liaison Committee of the ministry of seniors and accessibility, the VHA (Visiting Homemaker’s Association) Pride Working Group, Sinai Health System “Pride is good for your health” committee, a co-facilitator of the Youth/Elders Program of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, a volunteer at Hennick Bridgepoint rehab hospital, a member of True Davidson Acres LTC GSA (gender sexuality alliance), the city of Toronto SSLTC Working Group – developed “Leading and Learning with Pride – A Tool Kit to Support 2SLGBTQI+ SENIORS” (launched June 24/2022) and a co-author of the 2SLGBTQI Best Practice Guidelines of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. Effective November 2023, a member of the Fabulous Stories Project for The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity – developing Queer Curriculum for high schools and a consultant for The Canada Senior Pride Network.
Humble and privileged recipient of the 2019 Inspire Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2021 Community One Foundation Steinert & Ferreiro Award and the 2023 Jill Andrew (NDP – MPP, Ontario) Community Hero Award.
Featured in the videos “Out At Home”, “The Journey of My Strong Brown Trini Carib Callaloo Dyke Body” – 2016. In 2023, feature length documentary “Supporting Our Selves” from The Community One Foundation.
Honoured DYKE Ambassador and Honoured Rainbow Senior Ambassador – PRIDE TORONTO – 2022
I am an educator, accessibility/accommodation consultant, story teller, sometime actor and a respectful troublemaker, disruptor, infiltrator and agitator 😈.
I live and work from an anti-oppression, anti-racism, Truth and Reconciliation, intergenerational and intersectional perspective. I advocate for Two Spirit, Indigenous, queer and transgender rainbow 🌈 seniors and youth of colour.
I enjoy doubles, dancing, dim sum, a cold beverage and a “trini lime “ anytime.
My EXISTENCE is my RESISTANCE!! Website – lezlieoutofthecloset.com
Anmol Budhiraja, a 26-year-old resident of Toronto, ON, is a dynamic individual with a diverse background and a deep commitment to fostering inclusivity. Originally from Jalandhar, Punjab, India, Anmol embarked on a transformative journey to Canada in 2016, initially as a student and now as a settler on the turtle island, proudly calling Toronto home.
As a proud member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Anmol actively contributes to community welfare as a Crisis Response Specialist at 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations. This role has provided them with a profound understanding of the challenges faced by the Two-Spirit, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+ community, driving their passion for addressing these issues.
Anmol’s professional journey includes impactful roles as an Executive Assistant, showcasing expertise in grant writing, fundraising, and policy advocacy. Having completed a Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences, Honours Health Studies at the University of Waterloo, Anmol’s dedication to community engagement is evident through their role as a Teaching Assistant.
Beyond their professional and educational pursuits, Anmol’s interests encompass cultural competency, leadership, and continuous learning. Proficient in various tools, from Microsoft Office to Google applications, they bring a tech-savvy approach to their endeavors. Anmol’s diverse background, coupled with a strong commitment to community, positions them as an advocate for positive change, actively contributing to fostering inclusive environments and advancing social causes.
Board of Directors Questionnaire
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of Toronto’s premier cultural institutions, known for its extensive and diverse collection of art, history, and natural history artifacts. Located in the heart of the city, it offers visitors a chance to explore the world’s cultural and natural heritage through captivating exhibits and educational programs.
ROM After Dark (RAD) was a vibrant 19+ monthly after-hours event series at the Museum, offering a unique way to experience it. RAD brought an immersive atmosphere with curated music, visual arts, pop-up performances, and unique culinary delights, catering to adults seeking an entertaining and art-focused evening.
The TD Toronto Jazz Festival is an annual music extravaganza held in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville neighborhood, known for its diverse lineup of jazz artists and legendary headliners. This festival combines both free outdoor performances and ticketed shows, offering a vibrant celebration of jazz music that captivates music enthusiasts from all walks of life.
The TD Toronto Jazz Fest returned from June 23 to July 2, 2023, in the Bloor-Yorkville neighborhood. This year’s festival proudly featured 2SLGBTQ+ artists, with Begonia headlining the TD Main Stage on July 1. Other 2SLGBTQ+ artists and allies, including Haviah Mighty, Ashanti, Gavin Hope, Jully Black, Maya Killtron, and Phoenix Pagliacci, performed for free on outdoor stages. The festival also presented a lineup of legendary jazz artists in both free outdoor performances and ticketed shows.
Toronto History Museums is a collection of historic sites and museums in Toronto, each showcasing a unique aspect of the city’s rich heritage. With a diverse range of exhibits and programs, these museums offer visitors the opportunity to explore and celebrate Toronto’s past through engaging and educational experiences.
Pride Toronto’s Major Cultural Partner, Toronto History Museums, presented a groundbreaking Artist Mentorship Showcase during Pride Month. Curated by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes, the exhibit featured unique visual artworks by emerging and mid-career artists from diverse backgrounds, emphasizing self-identity and disrupting narratives of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. This showcase spanned all 10 history museum sites and ran from June 23. More details were available at Toronto.ca/ArtistShowcase.
The 519 is a community center in Toronto that actively supports the LGBTQ+ community, providing a wide range of programs, resources, and services. Known for its commitment to inclusion and support, The 519 serves as a hub for education, advocacy, and community engagement.
Experience alfresco parties with world-class DJs, drag queen royalty, and more at Green Space Festival, a major cultural partner of Pride Toronto 2023. This event combined entertainment and fundraising, with all proceeds benefiting The 519, Canada’s largest 2SLGBTQ+ community center. The celebration for a great cause was a memorable part of the event.
The 50/50 Performing Arts Collective is a Toronto-based organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the performing arts industry. They strive to create opportunities for underrepresented voices and artists to have their talents showcased and celebrated on the stage.
Tkaronto Music Festival, Canada’s premier Indigenous Music Festival, proudly celebrated National Indigenous People’s Day. It featured a weekend of stellar Indigenous talent, including Julian Taylor, Susan Aglukark, Amanda Rheume, Semiah Smith, Nimkii Osawamick, The Ra11n, and more. The event included Indigenous culture workshops, kid-friendly programming, and a dance party with DJ Classic Roots and DJ Kookum on Saturday night.
The AIDS Candlelight Vigil is an open community event held annually at the AIDS Memorial to remember, honour and celebrate the lives of the people lost to AIDS. This annual event is planned by a committee representing many Toronto 2SLGBTQI+ and AIDS service organizations, including The 519, ACAS, Action Positive, AIDS Committee of Toronto, Black Coalition For AIDS Prevention, Casey House, ETFO/FEEO, Fife House, Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations, and Pride Toronto. The 39th annual Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil took place on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 at 9 pm at Barbara Hall Park. 2023’s theme was “Still Here.”
Supporting Our Youth (SOY) Toronto is a dynamic program that provides vital support, resources, and a welcoming community for LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth. With a focus on empowerment, education, and inclusivity, SOY Toronto offers a wide range of services to help young people navigate the challenges they may face and thrive in a supportive environment.
Pride Prom: Outcast Paradise was a celebratory sanctuary for 2SLGBTQ youth aged 21 and under, marking the end of the school year. It was an inclusive event filled with youth performances, prizes, a DJ, dance floor, and complimentary non-alcoholic food and beverages. Hosted by the SOY Pride Prom Youth Advisory Committee, this event was brought to you by Sherbourne Health’s Supporting Our Youth Program, known for organizing Canada’s largest Pride Prom since 2001 and the Pride Youth stage since 1998.
St. Lawrence Market, located in the heart of Toronto, is a historic marketplace renowned for its diverse array of fresh food vendors, artisans, and specialty shops. It has been a culinary and cultural hub for over two centuries, offering a wide range of gourmet products and unique finds for both locals and visitors.
You experienced laughter in the picturesque gardens of Toronto’s Campbell House Museum at the ‘Gay AF Comedy Pride-Stravaganza.’ Toronto’s premier comedy event showcased A-List headliners and a diverse range of supporting acts, all hosted by Canadian Comedy Award winner Robert Watson. Headliner Martha Chaves and other top Queer comedic talents delivered an evening of uproarious fun, with free samples from sponsor Cottage Springs Beverage Co. You didn’t miss this Queer comedy extravaganza..
‘Gay AF Comedy’ is a vibrant and inclusive comedy event in Toronto that celebrates LGBTQ+ humor and showcases top comedic talent from the queer community. Hosted by Canadian Comedy Award winner Robert Watson, it promises an evening of laughter and entertainment for all.
The ‘Gay AF Comedy Pride-Stravaganza’ at Toronto’s Campbell House Museum brought uproarious laughter to picturesque gardens, showcasing A-List headliners and a diverse lineup of supporting acts. Hosted by Canadian Comedy Award winner Robert Watson, the event featured headliner Martha Chaves and other top Queer comedic talents, creating an unforgettable evening of humor. Attendees also enjoyed complimentary samples from sponsor Cottage Springs Beverage Co. at this Queer comedy extravaganza.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, located in the heart of Toronto, offers visitors a fascinating underwater world with a diverse collection of marine life and interactive exhibits. Its immersive experience includes vibrant displays, a walk-through tunnel surrounded by sharks and rays, and educational opportunities, making it a popular attraction for families and ocean enthusiasts.
You dove into the year’s most spectacular Pride event at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s ‘Night at the Aqueerium’ on June 16th. The aquarium transformed into an underwater rainbow wonderland with vibrant lights, dance floors, drag shows, music, and fabulous cocktails. You explored all aquarium exhibits, got close to sharks and jellyfish, and even pet a stingray. You kept an eye out for Toronto’s dazzling drag queens and kings, who made a splash with their performances!
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is a prestigious musical institution that delivers captivating symphonic performances and showcases a diverse range of classical and contemporary compositions. Renowned for its exceptional musicians and engaging concerts, the TSO continues to enrich Toronto’s cultural landscape with its melodic excellence.
You experienced the mesmerizing fusion of fabulosity and virtuosity with Thorgy Thor, renowned as the ‘Queen of Classical Music’ from RuPaul’s Drag Race. You watched her live performance alongside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as she delighted the audience with music, song, dance, and side-splitting shenanigans. You didn’t miss this unforgettable symphonic spectacular!
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a renowned cultural institution in Toronto, housing an extensive and diverse collection of artworks from various periods and regions, including pieces by famous artists such as the Group of Seven and Henry Moore. With its commitment to art education and engagement, the AGO provides a rich cultural experience that appeals to a wide range of art enthusiasts.
AGO celebrated Pride Month with an exclusive one-night-only performance by Canada’s sensational popstar drag artist, Priyanka. Joining this special show was the extraordinary Yovska, known as the Drag Plushie of the Underworld. Priyanka invited you to immerse yourself in her world, filled with dance music and captivating visuals. As a multi-talented performer and the first-ever winner of Canada’s Drag Race, Priyanka’s star power and charisma shone brightly.
Cirque du Soleil is a world-renowned entertainment company known for its mesmerizing and innovative live performances that blend acrobatics, theater, and music to create a one-of-a-kind visual spectacle. With a global presence, it has redefined the concept of circus, offering audiences a captivating and immersive experience like no other.
You experienced an innovative journey with KOOZA, seen through the eyes of The Innocent, an endearing and naive clown in search of his purpose. When a mysterious item arrived while he flew his kite, The Innocent embarked on a self-discovery adventure, transported to a strange and exotic world. You followed The Innocent’s captivating journey under the guidance of an enigmatic trickster with extraordinary abilities in KOOZA.
The Luminato Festival in Toronto is a celebrated cultural event that takes audiences on a journey through the city’s unique culture, bringing together art and ideas in an immersive experience. Featuring a wide range of artistic expressions, it showcases diverse talents, making it a captivating celebration of creativity and diversity in Toronto.
Luminato took you on a journey through the heart of Toronto’s unique culture, uncovering hidden gems and where art and ideas converged. You joined ‘Walk with Amal Toronto’ from June 7 to 11, 2023, featuring a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, Little Amal. She explored the Greater Toronto Area for five days, searching for a home, and was met with a heartwarming celebration of art, hope, and unity.
The Downtown Yonge B.I.A. is a non-profit organization that is committed to improving the daily experience of our members, residents, visitors and all stakeholders with an end goal of strengthening the culture and economy of Downtown Yonge community and Toronto.
The Downtown Yonge BIA presented free screenings of ‘Hairspray,’ complete with a pre-show musical performance and family-friendly entertainment. Guests explored the onsite farmer’s market for delicious snacks and found their ideal seating spot for the ultimate viewing experience of all the fun!
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is a fascinating institution dedicated to the art, culture, and history of footwear, offering an extensive collection of shoes from around the world. Its exhibits provide a unique perspective on human civilization and the role that footwear plays in our lives, making it a captivating destination for those interested in the intersection of fashion, culture, and history.
Step into the night with your most fabulous shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum’s inaugural after-dark Pride Party! The event featured a captivating performance by Miss Moço, an electrifying runway show by Fashion Art Toronto, and music by DJ Sophie Jones. Guests roamed through four exhibition spaces to uncover the intriguing history and future of footwear. Attendance entered the catwalk competition and showcased their extraordinary shoes in style.
The Distillery Historic District, nestled in the heart of Toronto, is a beautifully preserved neighborhood known for its charming cobblestone streets and Victorian-era industrial architecture. Transformed into a lively cultural hub, it boasts a mix of art galleries, boutique shops, theaters, restaurants, and distilleries, making it a unique blend of history and contemporary flair.
The first-ever Distillery District Queer Marketplace at the Distillery Historic District in Toronto, in partnership with Pride Toronto Festival 2023, was explored. This unique event, which ran from June 5 to June 11, was designed to support local artists, artisans, and the 2SLGBTQI+ community. It featured shopping, live entertainment, and the opportunity to snap selfies amid the iconic Heart of the Distillery adorned in rainbow Pride. In addition to the Queer Marketplace, guests had the chance to explore over 70 boutiques, unique shops, galleries, theaters, and world-class restaurants.
The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is a renowned institution dedicated to pushing the boundaries of operatic storytelling through innovative productions and performances. With a commitment to amplifying marginalized voices in opera, COC continues to deliver extraordinary and diverse artistic experiences.
The Canadian Opera Company (COC) hosted the innovative Canadian Opera Company Theatre, dedicated to boundary-pushing operatic storytelling. COC introduced groundbreaking productions like “Pomegranate,” a pioneering lesbian love story. Suli and Cassia’s narrative transcended time and place, illustrating their struggle for love against adversity.
Little Canada is a captivating miniature attraction in Toronto, offering visitors an immersive journey through various iconic Canadian landscapes and cityscapes, meticulously recreated in intricate detail. It provides a unique opportunity to explore the vast diversity of Canada’s cultural and geographical heritage within a small-scale, enchanting world.
In a GIANT way, Pride was celebrated at Little Canada during June. The Pride flag was displayed at Little City Hall, and a Special Pride Scene honored the beauty, love, and resilience of the 2SLGBTQI+ community.
The Magenta Foundation is a respected platform dedicated to supporting emerging and contemporary artists, fostering their creative talents and enabling them to reach a wider audience through exhibitions, publications, and educational initiatives. By championing the work of these artists, Magenta Foundation contributes significantly to the enrichment of the art community.
A celebration of Toronto Pride from the 1970s to the present was presented by The ArQuives. This significant cultural event marked the 50th anniversary of The ArQuives in 2023, in partnership with the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. It delved into Toronto Pride’s profound impact on acceptance and social development through photography, ephemera, posters, and writings by community leaders.
As Canada’s largest urban center, the City of Toronto has thrived as a vibrant, inclusive hub for cultural diversity, economic innovation, and community engagement, while maintaining a rich historical heritage and a dedication to sustainable urban development, establishing its position as a global leader in various fields.
The Progress Pride Flag Raising Ceremony, a major cultural event that took place on June 1, marked the commencement of PRIDE month, celebrating the rich history, diversity, and courage of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQI+ communities. The event was held at various locations, including Toronto City Hall, North York Civic Centre, Scarborough Civic Centre, and Etobicoke Civic Centre.
A 2-Spirit Pow Wow is a traditional Indigenous gathering that celebrates and honors the unique identities and cultural contributions of 2-Spirit individuals within Indigenous communities.
On Saturday, May 27th, 2023, Toronto celebrated the 2nd Annual 2-Spirit Pow Wow at Downsview Park, thoughtfully hosted by 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations. The event successfully brought together the community, offering a harmonious blend of food, music, and dance while emphasizing the significance of 2-Spirit individuals and their role in our Nations. It was a safe and inclusive space for everyone.
Maher (ماهر) immigrated to Tkaronto in 2014 and has acquired a double major in Peace, Conflict & Justice studies, and theatre with a minor in Psychology. Through the research, Maher has centered on decolonization & anti-oppression. Maher has since focused on their artistic journey, collaborating with organizations such as Buddies in Bad Times & Theatre Passe Muraille as an Outreach Coordinator. Maher currently works with ASAAP (Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention) and volunteers for ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto), particularly in sexual health and harm reduction. Maher has served on the Collegium board for St Michael’s College as one of the first out queer & Arab members. In 2016, Maher also served as a Peace Educator in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. Currently, Maher is developing the Voices of Diversity poetry collective.
Maher’s priorities are to ensure sustainable equity and inclusion within Pride Toronto through more inclusive outreach, policies, language, & accountability procedures. Maher believes Pride Toronto as an organization needs to revisit its roots of being an advocate for those marginalized among us and provide safer and more intimate spaces for networking and healing.
Troy has been closely connected in the Canadian retail & tech industry for over 20 years. In 2005, Troy joined Apple to launch Apple Retail in Canada and continues to lead Apple Retail, which includes retail stores, small and medium business teams, and in-store educational offerings. With stores across Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver, Troy continues to stay connected to communities and local issues across the country.
He has a passion for I&D work and has become a leader and ally across many different diversity networks at Apple including: Pride@Apple for North America. He is best known for leading the retail growth that Apple has seen in Canada, for his ability to connect with his teams, and for his passion for his country and community.
Troy is proud to be Indigenous from the Bras d’Or First Nation and has spent many years on a personal journey of reflection, education, and understanding which he instills in his four wonderful children.
Nirmalan is a queer South Asian man, having grown up in Toronto, with strong roots in the Malvern community of Scarborough. Nirmalan is currently a Project Manager with the City of Toronto and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University.
Nirmalan has contributed his time to the 2SLGBTQ+ community in a number of ways, from providing event support for Pride Toronto to providing refugee settlement services for Rainbow Railroad. Nirmalan is keen to advocate for equity-deserving groups and has previously volunteered with the not-for-profit group, TTCriders. With his help, TTC riders was successful in advocating for a number of changes for transit users, including the introduction of two-hour transfers. Nirmalan has experience as a media spokesperson, working on policies, managing projects, and lobbying government officials.
I am Courage, Natasha Cecily Bacchus. I am an athlete and performing artist, passionate about Deaf advocacy, fitness, and physical expression. Throughout my life, I have nurtured my passion for fitness, competing as a professional athlete and securing medal positions in the Deaf Olympics, Pan Am Olympics, and many other competitive sporting events. As an actress, I have participated in numerous theatre and film productions and have a strong desire to continue to grow and develop as a performing artist, expanding representation to include differently-abled persons and empowering Black Deaf women in Canada to shine on and off the stage.
Sheldon Dixon p.k.a D!XON is a Queer multi-racial gender non-conforming recording artist. D!XON has many years of experience in arts, and entertainment as a singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, video producer, and show producer. D!XON was also born and raised in Toronto and has been invested in the Church and Wellesley community for 10+ years.
D!XON has over 10 years of experience in community recreation programming and community development. In 2019 D!XON created the first Drag Masterclass in North America through his position with the City of Toronto which provided free professional training to the LGBTQ2S+ youth with mentors such as Sofonda, Priyanka, and Hollywood Jade. This masterclass provided job opportunities to marginalized professionals from our very own Church and Wellesley area and it also created job opportunities for the participants in the Masterclass. D!XON also sits on the Confronting Anti-Black Racism (CABR) Committee with the City of Toronto and has provided countless training centered around CABR and LGBTQ2S+ rights.
D!XON’s mission with pride is to amplify the voices of our local queer recording artists, implement equitable programming with artists in all artistic disciplines, and also be a voice for the Black and Afro/Indo Caribbean community. D!XON hopes to bring positive changes to Pride Toronto through his experience in the arts, entertainment, community recreation programming, and community development.
Yuri got their introduction to Pride Toronto in 2018 when they were offered a Volunteer Team Lead Position for the Pride Parade. They began their life in Cuba and immigrated to Canada in their teens. Yuri identifies as Non-Binary and is incredibly committed to advocating for any/all marginalized communities. With a background in Community and corporate Engagement and a diploma in Family and Community Services; What stands out about Yuri, is their process-driven nature and ability to lead and engage corporate and community groups. Their spare time is mostly spent outdoors, with lots of dog time and anything that involves smashing the patriarchy. Yuri’s goal during their time on the board is to increase the diversity within Pride Toronto by bringing communities together through their lived experience as well as their professional background.
Osmel identifies as a Black queer man of Latin American descent. Osmel is a results-driven individual with over ten years of experience in the not-for-profit sector working within membership-driven environments. Osmel is also a social justice activist with a focus on enhancing the inclusion of marginalized voices.
Osmel immigrated to Canada as an international student in 2003 to pursue a Political Science Degree at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Osmel has called Canada home for 10+ years. During his time working with 2SLGBTQ+ community-based organizations in Ontario, British Columbia and the Yukon, Osmel focused his work on advancing effective grassroots and province-wide social programming, enhancing the inclusion of marginalized voices, pushing for sound public policy, and overseeing effective strategic planning in the non-profit and charitable sectors.
Osmel is tirelessly looking for new ways to engage with his community and always ensures that he provides a voice to all marginalized people, especially QTBIPOC folks. Osmel strongly believes in the power of inclusion to affect lasting
I am a world majority, Brown, Trini, Carib, Indo, Chinese, callaloo, differently-abled, queer, DYKE elder/SENIOR, celebrating 45 years of community activism. I live and work from an anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, intergenerational, and intersectional perspective. I sit on numerous community and government committees, representing the voices of 2SLGBTQI + SENIORS. I am a workshop facilitator, event organizer, and network /community connector. I believe it is essential that queer youth and queer seniors work together to support each other, especially now, during these very challenging times of the Covid pandemic. through collaboration, we can IMPROVE and SAVE our LIVES. my lived experience has shown me the importance of building grassroots community foundations. I enjoy doubles, dancing, dim sum, a cold beverage, and a hot lime anytime, as my self-care.
My EXISTENCE Is My RESISTANCE!
Grant is the Co-Chair of Pride Toronto’s Board of Directors, serving since February 2021, and has served as a Director on the Board since September 2020.
His governance priorities include strategic planning, financial oversight, policy development, and reviews, board management and coordination, engaging in meaningful advocacy, supporting year-round community programming, and providing strategic advice to the Executive Director.
He is a government and stakeholder relations professional, with 10 years of experience. An active community member, Grant is a former President of the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre and is a Co-Founder of the Filipino Canadian Political Association. A civically engaged resident, he was a 2021 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow.
Grant participates in several 2SLGBTQI+ athletic leagues, including Downtown Dodgeball, Dodgeball Society, and the Toronto United Flag Football League. He is dad to Miko, a Samoyed troublemaker.
From August 24th-27th, GAYDAYS: In Celebration of Lesbians and Gay Men, is held. This was the first year Pride Day was celebrated at Cawthra Park, with ceremonies on the steps of the 519 Community Centre and a beer garden in the park.
Some speakers generate controversy by supporting intergenerational sex and S/M. A PrideFair is also held at Queen’s Park.
The Barracks Bathhouse raids take place. Customers are arrested and police inflict extensive damage to the premises.
This year was our chance to show the world who we are and what we’re about with the theme of “Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop.”
International Grand Marshal, Victor Juliet Mukasa, Parade Grand Marshal, El Farouk Khaki, and Honoured Group, AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) guided the community through amazing stories of equality, human rights, respect, diversity, honour, love, and acceptance at several human rights rallies and events.
This year brought about the debut of “Project Parade,” which partnered art students and creative individuals with community groups in the artistic direction of parade entries. This offered a platform for their creative talents, while fostering ties with community and supporting a worthwhile cause.
Honoured Dyke this year was Faith Nolan, a community builder, queer feminist, and musician who dedicated herself to social activism for more then three decades.
Honoured Dyke Group was the Toronto Roller Derby League (ToRD), an entirely female organization and the largest flat-track derby league in North America. Part of their mission is to include women of all shapes, sizes, and colours, whether they sit in the stands or join on the track. All of their bouts are wheelchair accessible, queer positive, and kid friendly.
Major performers this year included Deborah Cox and Kelly Rowland (formerly of Destiny’s Child).
First Trans March.
The theme this year was “Unified!” and this was put into play with the addition of a new stage in George Hislop Park, which featured performances by trans artists from across North America.
The third-ever International Grand Marshal was Gareth Henry, former Co-chair and Program Manager of JFLAG (the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays) and Co-founder of the Sunshine Cathedral in Jamaica. He was also the recipient of the 2006 Human Rights Watch Award and the Canadian HIV Legal Network Award.
The Parade Grand Marshal was Enza “Supermodel” Anderson, a trans woman who challenged what it means to be “queer” in mainstream society through her trailblazing and high-profile work as a columnist for Metro, her candidacy for Mayor of Toronto, and her years of tireless efforts raising funds on behalf of a variety of LGBT organizations. Honoured Group was Friends for Life Bike Rally, the second-largest fundraiser benefiting HIV/AIDS in Canada.
Honoured Dyke was Anna Willats, an instructor at George Brown College and a member of the boards of the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and the Mayworks Festival of Working People in the Arts. She was an activist with a long and successful history of supporting queer and trans rights in the community.
Honoured Group at the Dyke March was the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club (TNG), whose mission is to provide a safe and positive space for all women to explore the sport of boxing. They developed outreach programs, including free classes for youth in the Children’s Aid Society, pursued funding for programs for at-risk youth, and also set for full inclusion of trans women in their activities.
Pride Week in 2008 also saw some major celebrity action: Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours tour (featuring the B-52s, Rosie O’Donnell, Indigo Girls, and The Cliks) came to Toronto as part of our Pride Week Events, former Spice Girl Melanie C performed on our main stage, and comedian/singer Sandra Bernhardt hosted our annual Pride Toronto Gala and Awards, as well as performing at Massey Hall during Pride Week.
Pride Week this year was “Unstoppable!”
The International Grand Marshal was Rosanne Flamer-Caldera, founding member and Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND, the only mixed LGBTIQ organization striving for equality for all orientations and gender identities in Sri Lanka.
Parade Grand Marshal was Russell Alldread (aka Michelle DuBarry), a drag performer for the past 50 years and member of the Imperial Court of Toronto since its inception 20 years ago.
Honoured Group was PFLAG Toronto, one of over 60 chapters nationally aiming to end discrimination and secure equal rights.
Honoured Dyke was Rachel Epstein, who developed Dykes Planning Tykes (with local midwife, Kathie Duncan) as part of the LGBT Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre. This group also led the Dyke March as Honoured Group.
The theme for Pride Week 2006 was “Fearless.”
Pride Week 2006 saw a return to Pride’s political roots. The Parade, lead by Pride Toronto’s first International Grand Marshal, highlighted the issues of inequality faced by our brothers and sisters worldwide and honoured the heroes of Toronto’s own queer community past and present. The second annual Pride Toronto Gala and Awards grew into a major community event this year, with a diverse group of award winners from all parts of the queer community in attendance.
Grand Marshals Donald Middleton & Clayton Wilson and Robert Berry & Les Sheare are two couples that have been together for a combined 100 years. Donald and Clayton met in London, Ontario in 1956 and “lived without fear in a time when it wasn’t acceptable.” Robert and Les met on March 17th, 1956. After being together for 47 years they got married on August 9th, 2003.
International Grand Marshal Bill Schiller, Secretary General of the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network (ILGCN) Information Secretariat. He embodied this year’s fearless theme as co-founder of Tupilak, a Nordic organization of lesbian and gay cultural workers, campaigning tirelessly to shed light and support to our sister queer communities experiencing oppression, neo-Nazi violence, fascism, and state sanctioned violence throughout the world.
There were two Honoured Groups this year, Primetimers Toronto and SOY (Supporting Our Youth). Both of these groups represent a range of people, from youth to those in their “prime,” reflecting what makes the Pride Parade so special — diversity. Primetimers is a social group of gay men over the age of 40 who meet monthly to discuss and ensure the value of diversity. SOY caters to youth of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, experiences and passions. They assist in improving the lives of queer youth through arts, culture and recreational programs.
Honoured Dyke Zahra Dhanani. “Women hold some of the world’s most sacred truths and are vessels of unimaginable power. As we move into an era where women will be ascending to the greatest heights imaginable, we need more than ever to be FEARLESS – in our love of self, our love of each other and our willingness to be who we are against all odds.” — Zahra Dhanani.
Honoured Dyke Group is WRIB (Women in Recreation and Business). WRIB is a networking organization for lesbians and bisexual women in the Greater Toronto Area. The organization has been providing a safe environment for its members since 1991 where they can share and learn from each others’ experience. They foster fearlessness in the community with their wide range of programs such as dinners, dances, and seminars.
International Conference on LGBT Human Rights with over 2,000 held.
The theme for Pride Week 2005 was: Pride 25: “25 years and counting”.
Grand Marshal Salah Bachir is a generous philanthropist, successful businessman and visionary patron of the arts. Salah Bachir has long been a fervent supporter of the gay and lesbian community. As Chair of The 519 Capital Campaign he has raised more than $5-million for the expansion and renovation of The 519 Community Centre – $750,000 of which was donated by himself. A longtime member of CANFAR’s board of directors, Bachir has organized countless fundraisers for AIDS research and patient care. Somehow, he also manages to fit in a day job as President of Famous Players Media Inc., and Publisher of Famous magazines.
Honoured Group: Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto
MCC Toronto has achieved much in the areas of human rights and social justice over the last 32 years, most recently with the landmark same-sex marriage court case. In an age where the increasing trend in World Religions is towards discriminatory fundamentalism, more and more people reject Religion because they see it as an agent of their oppression. It is crucially important that there be growing, vibrant congregations like MCC Toronto.
The theme for Pride Week 2004 was: “Bursting with Fruit Flavours”.
Grand Marshal George Hislop was a longtime community activist and hero. He was an integral part of the early beginnings of Toronto’s first gay rights group, the University of Toronto Homophile Association. He also served on the board of Directors of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, the Hassle Free Clinic, and recently won an important court victory for CPP survivors pensions in a national class action.
The Honoured Group for 2004 was The Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal Foundation (LGCA). The LGCA has been a cornerstone of Toronto’s LGBTTIQ community for almost 25 years, raising funds to support more than 767 projects that have benefited countless individuals, groups and organizations. For more information http://www.lgca.ca
The theme for Pride Week 2003 was: Pride 3D: “Diverse • Defiant • Divine.”
Grand Marshal John Fisher, Executive Director of Egale Canada, was recognized for his hard work and dedication to issues of justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender people across the country. In his eighth and final year at the helm of Egale, he was also appreciated for his part in building up this, Canada’s first national queer rights organization.
Honoured Group T.E.A.C.H. (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia), a program of Planned Parenthood of Toronto, is made up of youth aged 15 to 25. T.E.A.C.H. volunteers provide important anti-homophobia training in high schools across the city of Toronto. Entering it’s 10th year, T.E.A.C.H. has worked hard to address systemic oppression and eradicate the teasing and violence often experienced by LGBTQ youth.
“Uncensored!” was the theme for the 2002 Pride Toronto celebrations.
J.P. Hornick and Rachel Aitcheson of the Toronto Women’s Bathouse Committee are this year’s Grand Marshals, while the Glad Day Bookshop is the Honoured Group. Coinciding with Canada Day celebrations, the opening of Dundas Square, and with an extended parade route, this year’s Pride Parade is expected to break all records. Come on out, and help us make her/history!
“Love” is in the air at Pride 2001.
Our LGBTTIQ community proudly unites to discover, celebrate and express love for our partners, our communities, and ourselves. For the first time, the City’s Official Proclamation of Pride Week includes bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgendered persons. Grand Marshal is Mirha Soleil-Ross and Honoured Group is the 519 Community Centre. The Globe and Mail reports that Toronto’s Pride parade has become “a Canadian institution.”
With 850 spectators, including 60 representatives of the media, and tight security, Rev. Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community church presided over a double same-sex wedding Elaine and Anne Vantour and Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varmell.
“Heroic Past, Proud Future” – a time to look back on all that LGBT communities have accomplished and gird our loins for battles yet to be won. Heroes Sky Gilbert and Michelle Douglas join the parade as Grand Marshals.
September 2000, Pussy Palace Raid – The Pussy Palace Raid so called because the women’s event that night was Named “The Pussy Palace”. The raid and charges brought against the Pussy Palace organizers were condemned by the LGBTQ community. On Oct. 28th, the Pussy Palace Panty Picked Protest was held in front of police headquarter, 52 Division. Protesters waved panties and boxer briefs as well as posters with slogans – “No more raids,” “Peeping@Panties” “Sluts can’t be shamed” and “Fuck you, 52” (slogan used in protests established through Black & Caribbean LGBTQ communities).
On January 31, 2002 Judge Peter Hryn declared that the five male officers violated the Constitutional rights of the women attending the Pussy Palace event. It was his opinion that women were entitled to a safe place to explore their sexuality without the imposition of men. He went on to compare the raid to a strip search, and that it was “one of the clearest cases” of inappropriate law enforcement. All charges were dropped, the Police were forced to pay $350,000.00 and issue an apology from the officers who conducted the raid and a commitment from the force to beef up sensitivity training for its 7,260 members.
Pride Week’s theme is “One Pride Fits All.” Young people raise their profile at Pride, with a large contingent in the parade and the addition of Fruit Loopz as one of the entertainment events.
This time, Mayor Lastman is armed with his own “supersoaker,” giving back to the crowd as good as he gets. Corporate sponsorship revenues are higher than ever and put Pride on firm financial footing for the next year.
“MegaPride” is the theme for the first Pride Week celebration in the newly amalgamated “megacity” of Toronto, June 22nd-28th. After initial reservations, new “megamayor” Mel Lastman has a fantastic time on a firetruck in the parade, getting soaked by revelers with power water guns. 12,000 women take part in the Dyke March.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in response to the murder of Rita Hester.
Pride’s theme is “We Are Everyone’s Family.” The Grand Marshals are four lesbian couples who won the right to adopt their partner’s children. 750,000 celebrated during Pride Day and throughout the three-hour parade. The first ever Dyke March is held, with a turnout on Saturday of 5,000 – police projected an attendance of 50!
The Pride stage runs for two days at 11 hours each day of continuous queer music, featuring Carole Pope, the Parachute Club, and comedian Elvira Kurt. The City of Toronto and the Pride Committee study Pride’s economic impact and show that over 46 million dollars is spent by Pride tourists.
First Pride and Remembrance Run takes place.
For “Remember, Celebrate, Make a Difference”, the parade Grand Marshals are Jim Egan and Jack Nesbit, who lose a spousal benefits decision but win a Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution recognizes the equality of lesbians and gays.
The Pride Committee collapses in February due to a mass resignation of a majority of the Board of Directors in a vote of non-confidence against the board itself. Kyle Rae assists community members to reorganize a new committee which in 15 weeks organizes Toronto’s largest Pride Day, and North America’s largest at 650,000 official celebrants.
New Police Chief David Boothby allows four lanes on Yonge Street to close for Canada’s second largest parade, which takes over three hours. MPs Svend Robinson and Bill Graham, and Mayor Barbara Hall speak on the stages and walk in the parade.
The Supreme Court rules that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act, gays and lesbians cannot be excluded from entering the Canadian Forces. The federal government does not appeal the ruling.
“Breaking the Silence” is Pride’s theme. This year the Grand Marshals are children of gay and lesbian parents. 120,000 people attend.
For “Viva la Difference,” Pride Day gets its first parade Grand Marshals; Karen Andrews and Svend Robinson.
The temporary AIDS Memorial is installed in Cawthra Park.
Aids Action Now (AAN) held landmark demonstrations at the Toronto General Hospital to protest the drug trials that were playing Russian roulette with Aids patients and delaying the release of Pentamidine, a lifesaving medicine that was already tested and approved by the FDA.
20,000 people attend Pride celebrations. Official proclamation is again refused by Mayor Eggleton.
Pride is held on July 1st, Canada Day, in Cawthra Park with 5,000 celebrants.
Reviving the political aspect of Pride, the theme for this year is “We Are Everywhere: 150 Years of Faggots and Dykes.” The event was a commemoration of “diesel dykes, street kids and drag queens (as still being) our dispossessed.”
For the first time Church Street is closed and people dance in the street.
On February 5, Metro Toronto Police raid various bathhouses – known as “Operation Soap”, arresting 306 men, in the largest Canadian mass arrest except for the October 1970 FLQ crisis. Again, extensive property damage is inflicted by police. For added public humiliation, the “found-ins” are herded into the streets in towels to be processed. The names of those arrested are publicized by the police and local media, destroying several lives.
A major demonstration is held at Yonge and Wellesley the next day by hundreds of Toronto queers and their supporters, closing down the street. Activists start working, and the group Gays and Lesbians Against the Right is formed. Future mayor Barbara Hall is among the legal counsel defending those arrested.
Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Toronto is legally incorporated. 1,500 celebrate Pride Day on Sunday, June 28th, at Grange Park. In spite of the politically charged atmosphere that year, the day is billed as a time to relax, celebrate, and as “an afternoon of fun and frolic.”
Anita Bryant declares her war on homosexuality.
Teenager Emmanuel Jacques is raped and murdered above Yonge Street, and a strong backlash is levelled against the Toronto gay community.
Quebec becomes first province to include sexual orientation in its Human Rights code.
Pride Week is August 17th-24th and includes another Pride Picnic on Ward’s Island, a theatre night and church service at Metropolitan Community Church.
More than 100 people march from Allan Gardens to Queen’s Park in an effort to include sexual orientation in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The mainstream press reports on the events for the first time. The Globe and Mail misreports the numbers of those involved and the mood of the event, characterizing the marchers as “beating a hasty retreat”.
The Brunswick Four – Four Lesbian feminists took to the open mike night – sang “I Enjoy Being a Dyke” – arrested for promoting Lesbian Riot.
On July 9th, the second annual Gay Picnic is held as part of a series of events for the first Gay Pride Week. The week includes a festival, film night, Pride Dance, a rally and a march to Queen’s Park. Activists present a brief to the Ontario government.
On the 28th of that month, under police watch, the first gay demonstration in Ottawa takes place. 100 activists attend. “We Demand” demonstrations held – lobbied for “true equality” on Parliament Hill – Ottawa.
The Judy Garland Memorial Bowling League one of the oldest queer sports in North American, holds the first banquet to raise money for gay and Lesbian charities. In 1983, US Custom Service seized the leagues registration forms when members attempted to participate in the Int’l Gay Bowling Tournament. The league continues to play today and teams compete for the coveted “Red Ruby Slipper” trophy!