With much fanfare, openly gay MPP George Smitherman presented Pride Toronto with a cheque for $300,000 from the government of Ontario on Apr 22 to enhance Pride’s tourism initiatives.
“The Ontario government recognizes how important festivals such as Pride Week 2009 are in attracting tourism dollars to Ontario,” said Smitherman, the Liberal MPP who represents the riding of Toronto Centre which includes the Church-Wellesley Village. “This is an investment in the celebration of diversity as well as a vital source of revenue for our local business owners.”
Smitherman, the deputy premier and minister of energy and infrastructure, presented an oversized cheque at a public ceremony at Zelda’s on Church St.
“We are thrilled to be receiving this support from the Ontario government,” responded Tracey Sandilands, Pride Toronto’s executive director. “Pride Week 2009 promises to once again attract visitors from all over the world and have a direct impact on Toronto’s economy.”
According to Pride Toronto, Pride Week draws as much as $100 million to the local economy and generates $18 million in tax revenue for governments.
In addition to the tourism initiatives, Pride Toronto announced the names of many of the performers and musical acts who will take to Pride’s stages this year.
One of the musical highlights is a collection of ’80s acts live on one stage, including ABC, Wang Chung, Heaven 17 and Cutting Crew, on Sun, Jun 28. Also performing that day will be Toronto-born divas Deborah Cox and Divine Brown.
Other Pride Toronto performers will include The Cliks, Dance Yourself to Death, Gentleman Reg, Carole Pope, Ferron, Samantha Parton (of Be Good Tanyas fame), The Carps, Woodhands, Fritz Helder & The Phantoms and Esthero.
Superstar DJs coming for Pride include Denise Benson, Jamie Sin, Will Munro, Zahra Dhanani, Nik Red and Cozmic Cat.
A complete schedule will be announced soon.
To promote tourism during Pride Week, Pride Toronto says it has teamed up with Conxity.com and Rainbow High Vacations to offer a rainbow of travel package options for people coming to Toronto for Pride.
The Boy’s Party Package, for example, includes three nights’ accommodations and a Full Prism Pass to all the big parties including Madonnarama, Boot Camp, Aqua Beach, Future Babylon and Revival. The Girl’s Party Package includes three nights’ accommodations plus tickets to the Libido and Drenched parties.
Also offered are Gala, Women’s Golf, Leather, Jersey Boys, Blue Jays, Toronto Highlights, Budget Buster and Wedding packages. The latter is for those planning on coming to Toronto to tie the knot during Pride Week.