Next week, brace yourself as World Pride heads to Toronto. The fourth iteration of the international LGBT celebration, and the first ever held in North America, World Pride will take everything that already makes Toronto great and dials it up to 11.
Toronto’s local pride has attracted over a million people in years past, and organizers expect that record to shatter at this year’s World Pride. There are over ten days of parties, concerts, art exhibitions and marches to give LGBT folk all over the world a chance to come together and celebrate under one flag.
Toronto is situated in many US readers’ minds as the filming location of Showtime’s “Queer as Folk.” It’s longtime gayborhood and World Pride epicenter, Church-Wellesley Village, has all the charm and attractions of that show’s Liberty Avenue without the threat of Steelers Fans. Watering holes like Woody’s and Crews and Tangos offer a cross-section of Toronto’s gay population and a little something for everyone.
On the other side of town is the Queer West Village, which is more Williamsburg than Chelsea. The neighborhood is hipper and the gay bars grungier, with record shops and boutiques instead of smoothie stands and jockstrap stores. It’s a paradise for the tattoos and rock music crowd, or at least those who want a few hour break from Ke$ha music.
With so much to do over one short week in one gigantic city, we decided to help you break things down a little. Below is a guide to all the best that Queerty and GayCities could find, on the beaten path and off, to help you get the most out of your World Pride.
Friday, June 20th:
Everyone likes fireworks. Come soak them in at the World Pride 2014 Opening Ceremony at 7 pm in Nathan Phillips Square. Melissa Etheridge joins a host of other musicians and performers, including the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Choir.
Saturday, June 21st:
Pride of Bloor-Yorkville at 7:30 PM at Cumberland Park, Toronto. A third neighborhood gets in on the act with this mini-festival, which features a concert by Mia Martina in support of a local HIV/AIDS charity.
Sunday, June 22nd
Monday, June 23rd
–House of Filth Family Showcase: World Pride Edition @ The Beaver: Some famous locals behind the party Bad Tuck debut a new drag night. Never has the combination of glitter and garbage looked so seductive.
Tuesday, June 24th
–Queerty Presents DeadBeat Club with DJ Zack Rosen and Regina @ The Beaver: Queerty goes international for World Pride when local luminary Regina Thegentlelady (Light Fires, Hidden Cameras ) joins forces with DJ Zack Rosen (ex-TheNewGay.net) for a different kind of pride party.
DJ Zack Rosen (yes, the author of this post) is best known for getting kissey with The Black Lips, getting dancey with Go! Team and getting inspirational with The New Pornographers. He’s also DJ’d all over DC since 2008, opening for acts like Jessica 6, Little Dragon and Cazwell.
Regina TheGentleLady is Toronto queer royalty, having rocked in queer canon acts The Hidden Cameras and Light Fires, shared a stage with talent as varied as Broken Social Scene, Diamond Rings and Margaret Atwood, mastered high heels and dueted with Owen Pallet.
–Quizzed in the Face @ Henhouse: Come for the trivia night, stay for the amazing jukebox.
Wednesday, June 25th
–Punk Rock Bingo – World Pride Edition at The Beaver: First it’s a bingo night. Then it’s a midnight live show with rockers Artificial Dissemination. And then it’s a late night dance party featuring old school vinyl favorites. Because we all want a three-for-one on Pride.
–TRANS PRIDE PARTY – End of The World Pride @ Bovine Sex Club: Come celebrate Trans Pride with host Judy Virago and a boatload of guest musicians, djs, and hostesses. The performances alone at this party will keep you talking through pride 2015.
–Miss Teen Filth 2014 with Allysin Chaynes and Igby Lizard! – Henhouse: 4 “ingenue queens” compete for the title in a pageant with a touch of “Heathers.”
Thursday, June 26th:
–Steers & Queers – Night of 1000 Dollys pt. IV @ The Gladstone Hotel: A gay country/western party with drag, burlesque, a Dolly choir and Dolly look-alike contest. Stay away, Jolene!
–A Club Called Rhonda: World Pride Edition @ The Drake Hotel : The “pansexual party palace” storms up from LA with 3 floors of something you won’t be telling your parents about. Come for the sexy marketing, stay for the sexy DJs.
Friday, June 27th:
–Balls @ The Beaver:
Billed as “Dirty, Disco, Druggy, Ravey,” Toronto’s most offbeat gay bar gives you another night to get sweaty. Just watch out for Ladybugs.
–Regretro – My So-Called Pride Edition @ Henhouse: A 90s/early-2000s party that encourages you to let out your inner Angela and make that pass at Jordan Catalano. There’s also a photobooth if you’d rather act out an Alicia Silverstone/Liv Taylor fantasy instead. Hope you packed flannel.
-The Annual Trans* Pride March goes down at Church Wellesley North Stage at 7 pm.
-Dragonette fans can see the bad ass band live, with a few other stars, at MTV Presents POP Goes Pride.
Saturday, June 28th
Nomi Ruiz, of Jessica 6 and Hercules & Love Affair, is both an international musical treasure and the good-humoured subject of one of my more-awkward video interviews. You’ll regret passing up the chance to see her live, especially since the dancing afterwards goes till 4 am.
Cub Camp World Pride BBQ and Speedo Party @ The Beaver: Much-loved boys party Cub Camp is taking it’s bow at the Beaver in the best possible way: Daytime BBQ, nighttime dance party, all in speedos. It’s the one time you’ll be glad you don’t have your huge notebook to hide a Sandy Frink surpise boner.
GendurrWTF – Genderf*ck Pride Show @Pride Toronto North Stage: An hour of performances by local gender renegades celebrates the “fluidity of gender and smashing the binary.”
– 2014 World Pride Dyke March celebrates the “strength, diversity and passion” of queer spectrum women and trans folk.
-AQUA: Massive WorldPride T-Dance Edition @ Yonge and Dundas: All day dance party with DJs, Drag queens and burlesque.
Sunday, June 29th:
World Pride Parade at 1 pm: This one speaks for itself. I can’t imagine where I’d ever see more gay people in one place.
Drip w/ Hercules and Love Affair (DJ Set) and special guest Bruce LaBruce @ 580 Church St: Herc’s Andy Butler is a hot redhead and skilled DJ. Bruce LaBruce is a godfather of art porn. Last call is 4 am. You’ll find something to drip about.
–World Pride 2014 Closing Ceremony @ Yonge-Dundas Square: An extensive lineup of queer musical acts, including Tegan and Sara and Hunter Valentine, closes out the official parties.
–Karaoke @ The Beaver:
No better cap to Pride than going right back where we started from and performing “Right Back Where We Started From.”
Monday, June 30th:
See the complete GayCities guide to World Pride