Several Pride organizations in the region are putting their heads together this year as they offer a variety of queer fests.
Organizers in three regions – Durham Region, York Region and Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo – are putting together consolidated Prides. And Windsor’s Pride is back this year, too.
“Windsor’s LGBT [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans] population was left feeling very disenfranchised,” says Robert Vitella, Windsor Pride chair, about 2004’s last minute cancellation. Displaying their committed efforts, Windsor organizers will have a new Pride Guide out this June with a launch party likely around the same time.
Cambridge, Guelph & Kitchener-Waterloo
Tri-Pride organizers have a whole week of festivities planned to celebrate their 10th anniversary. So make sure your rainbow flags are freshly pressed and mark Sat, May 28 to Sun, Jun 5 as a vacation (ideally with pay).
Throughout the week there will be Pride festivities: Scotch doubles bowling at Brunswick Frederick Lanes on May 28, Clay Pride, an exhibition of the sculptural work by R Bruce Flowers, on May 29 and Lesbo Bingo on Tue, May 31. Why yell out “Bingo” when you could be yelling out “Lesbo”?
The week of festivities ends with a fair on Sun, Jun 5 in Victoria Park in Kitchener. There’ll be a free barbecue hosted by Parents, Family And Friends Of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG), a beer garden, vendor market, children’s area, silent auction and stage show featuring Ashley MacIsaac. Toronto’s Swamperella and multitasking talent Charlena Russell will also perform. The stage is set for 1pm. For more info, go to Rainbow.on.ca.
From Sun, May 29 to Sat, Jun 4 York Region will be celebrating Pride in several locations. Look for displays celebrating Pride diversity at libraries throughout the region including the Aurora Library (May 30 to Jun 11), Georgina Library (May 28 to Jun 10), Markham Angus Glen Library (May 30 to Jun 17), Markham Village Library (May 29 to Jun 4), Newmarket Library (May 28 to Jun 11), Richmond Hill (May 29 to Jun 30) and Vaughan’s Bathurst Clark Library (May 28 to Jun 30). For more info go to Prideyorkregion.com.
After coming dangerously close to being cancelled, it turns out Halton’s sixth annual Pride picnic is a go. The event is to be held at Bronte Creek Provincial Park (Brekon shelter, area F) on Sat, Jun 4 from 11am to 4pm. Organizers are still desperate for new staff and volunteers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-429-4242.
Durham Pride is working a little differently this year with its theme “We Are Family” on the Sat, Jun 11 weekend. For the more than 530,000 residents of Durham Region, Pride will include Oshawa, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Clarington, Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge. On the Saturday, there’s a Pride barbecue at Heydenshore Park (589 Water St) in Whitby from 12pm to 4pm.
If you’re not beat after a day in the sun, there’s a drag show and dance at Club 717 (717 Wilson Rd S, 905-434 4297) in Oshawa. On Sunday there’s a walk/bike/run/skate in Whitby’s Heydenshore Park starting at 12pm. For more info and updates go to Durhampride.org.
Hamilton seems to be where it’s at this year with loads of free entertainment.
A free sing-along Wizard Of Oz kicks off this year’s Hamilton Pride on Sun, Jun 12 at 2pm presented at The Werx (121 Hughson St N) by The Hamilton AIDS Network. The flag-raising at City Hall is on Mon, Jun 13. The gala reception for the Pride Awards with silent auction and entertainment will run at the Sheraton Hotel on Thu, Jun 16 from 7pm to 10pm. The women’s dance starts at 9pm on Fri, Jun 17 at a to-be-announced location.
Also on Friday and Saturday, Piccadilly Circus presents the play Torch Song Trilogy at The Players Guild Of Hamilton (80 Queen St S) starting at 8pm. The rally and march starts at 11:15am on Saturday, featuring performances by Kelly And The Kellygirls and The B-Girlz at the festival’s food and beverage garden (free), which runs from 12pm to 6pm. The Centenary United Church holds its Pride service at 11:30am on Sun, Jun 19. For more info, check out Hamiltonpride.com or call (905) 528-0207 ext 45.
Throughout the week of London Pride, there will be everything from art shows to standup comedy.
Things start with a film festival running Sat, Jul 2 and 3, then a literary night on Wed, Jul 6 and fashion show on Sat, Jul 9. An outdoor festival starting on Fri, Jul 8 will bring the people together and the Sunday parade will solidify the mood. It’s all at the Music Hall and on downtown Dundas St. The comedy night’s on Fri, Jul 15.
You can leisurely stroll through local London galleries which will be showing queer stripes. For the most up-to-date information on times and locations go to Pridelondon.ca or call (519) 495-6915.
After 2004 Pride didn’t happen, chair Robert Vitella confirms that the current committee is entirely new and has “gone to great lengths to bring Pride back to Windsor.”
Windsor Pride is scheduled for Fri, Jul 15 to Sun, Jul 24.
On Fri, Jul 15, City Hall will conduct its flag-raising at 10am; then there’s a candle-light vigil by the AIDS Committee Of Windsor from dusk until 11pm. Have some cheese with your wine at Walkerville Pizza (1731 Wyandotte St E) starting at 11pm. DJ Steven Dearborn spins on Sat, Jul 16 at the Spritz party from 2pm to 10pm and Afterglow from 10pm to 3am, both at The Complex (634 Chilver Rd).
There’s a pre-cruise party on Sat, Jul 23 with drag bingo on Sun, Jul 24. Both events at The Complex; no cover. Tickets for the cruise itself, which runs on Saturday 2pm to 5pm, are $25. The big day is Jul 24 with the fair running in Charles Clark Square from 9am to10pm.
Throughout the whole week, there are art shows presented by the Arts Council Of Windsor. For more info with dates and times go to Windsorpride.com.
Get out your sundress and mark Sat, Jul 16 for Peel Pride. Again this year there will be a picnic at the Heartlake Convention area located at Heartlake Rd north of Bovaird. Volunteers are more than welcome. Queer-friendly businesses can inquire about booth rentals to email@example.com. Go to Pride-eventspeel.com or call (905) 846-7176 for more information.
Our friends across the lake will be celebrating Buffalo Pride the weekend starting Fri, Jun 3. The kickoff is at The Tralf (622 Main St) that night with its Fabulous Party running from 9pm to 4am. Toronto’s own Juno Award-winning Paul Grace will be guest DJ; bring your ID because it’s an over-21 venue.
Ember Swift hits the main stage after the Dyke March on Sat, Jun 4. The ladies gear up at Eckerd parking lot on West Utica at 7:30pm.
The Pride caravan on Sun, Jun 5 starts at 11am, travelling from Kleinhan’s Music Hall down the Elmwood Strip, ending at Bidwell Parkway. Expected on the main stage later that day is GLADD nominee Suzanne Westenhoefer and hosting the show is Channel Two News’ Maryalice Demler. For more dates and times, check out Pride-buffalo.org.
Motor City Pride organizers are hosting a killer performance lineup for Sun, Jun 5. “Growing larger and larger every year, we’re expecting an even bigger turnout this year,” says events coordinator Stephanie Newman. Attendees at the one-day event in downtown Ferndale (outside Detroit) can expect to see Martha Wash, Martika (Toy Soldiers) and Barb Payton take the main stage in a musical series celebrating Pride’s colours. The fest runs from 12pm to 7pm near the corner of Nine Mile Rd and Woodward Ave. For more info check out Motorcity-pride.com.