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2 min

Peacock proud

Pride thrills & spills

Now that the confetti has been cleared away and we’re all more or less recovered from the homo high holidays, it’s time for a look at the Pride weekend that was. Xtra had an ear to the ground to catch all the rumblings on what people liked — and what they really didn’t.

THUMBS UP.
The Friday night street closure. The decision to close Church St to cars right from the start of the Pride weekend is one that was long overdue.

THUMBS UP.
Bigger was better. With Church St closed from Carlton all the way up to Bloor there was a lot more room on this year’s Pride site to be part of the party without feeling lost in the crowd.

THUMBS DOWN.
Corporate floats in the parade and commercial vendors in the marketplace that made no effort to relate to the spirit of the parade.

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The dearth of dykes on bikes at the front of the Pride parade. There were just six compared to the dozens there’ve been in past years, and of those only three were from the local queer women’s biker group the Amazons. Could it be the registration policies instituted last year are keeping them away?

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Injecting international politics into the Parade. This year there were eight silent marchers at the front of the Pride Parade, just behind 2007 international grand marshall Rosanna Flamer-Caldera. Each of the eight individuals, who were all cloaked in black, carried the flag of a country where queers face state-sanctioned torture, imprisonment or death. Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Russia, Jamaica and Honduras were all represented.

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This year’s Pride Parade Award winners, including the Latino group Hola for most fabulous float, Evil Dead The Musical for most fabulous choreography and the AIDS Committee Of Toronto for best celebration of the theme, Unstoppable.

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Heavy-handed searches on the way out of the beer gardens. In attempts to prevent partygoers from taking booze out of the licensed areas Pride security were confiscating a lot of water bottles filled with, yes, water.

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The weekend’s entertainment. From the great selection of old guard and new acts, the stages were buzzing with excitement and the crowds were happy. While many steered clear of the literary stage, those who loved it, loved it a lot.

THUMBS DOWN.
Moving Blockorama. While the new major stage at Wellesley was a big hit, the Blockorama party, which had been in its spot for the previous eight years, was shunted off to a much smaller and less accessible stage in The Beer Store’s parking lot on Church St.

THUMBS UP.
The overall energy of Pride 2007 partygoers. From the spectators watching the parade to the endless promenade up and down the main drag to the people dancing in the streets, there was more celebratory spirit at this year’s Pride than the last few years combined.