With only one week to go, it seems all of downtown is tarting itself up for WorldPride. Gyms are packed with bunnies prepping their pecs for the parade, while the very crosswalks have been clothed in rainbows — hell, even TD Canada Trust has painted a big rainbow target around its ATM machines (presumably to make it easier for the less-lucid to spot during street-meat-related emergencies).
And while there are plenty of LGBT events happening around the city, the action is still centred on Church and Wellesley streets. To that end, many queer and queer-friendly businesses are setting up temporary digs downtown, including the folks from the Drake General Store.
When I profiled the store last Christmas, I was quite taken with their quirky stock of clothing, sundries and tchotchkes that placed a healthy emphasis on local producers. On that front, they’ve certainly outdone themselves with their Pride offerings this year: a WorldPride T-shirt and tank top that are both designed, woven, cut and sewn right here in Toronto.
“It’s part of our Shared Products line,” says Daniel Okorn, head of marketing for the store. “It’s a perfect fit for us as a Toronto-based Queen Street brand that, whenever possible, likes to support our local community.”
The T-shirt is a collaboration between the Drake General Store and 1 Love TO, a limited-edition variant on the company’s logo featuring a rainbow heart. The tank is a little edgier, with its black maple leaf bisected by a slash of rainbow brilliance.
Both will be available at the Drake General Store’s pop-up in the HBC at Yonge and Bloor, as well as 1 Love TO’s Pride weekend booth in the Village. The price point for both initially caused a bit of a flutter on Twitter, until it was pointed out that the garments weren’t just some tat run up for pennies in China. At $42 for the T-shirt and $38 for the tank, purchasers can be confident they’re supporting clothing manufactured right here in Toronto.
The Drake Hotel will also be hosting lots of Pride-related fun, starting with Nuit Rose on June 21. This contemporary art event will feature Marlon Griffith, DJ Triple-X, Tom Robinson, Urvah Khan and Diggy the DJ, along with House of Monroe, Canada’s first voguing troupe. The fun continues on June 22 with Barbie’s Basement Jewellery sale, featuring entertainment by Sybil and House of Monroe.
Later that night, Jennifer Wells will do her best Liza impersonation while screening Vincente Minnelli’s cult classic The Pirate, starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. A Club Called Rhonda wraps things up on June 26 with their blinding spectacle of sex and self-expression in a disco and house dance extravaganza.