4 min

Where the wild things party

Pride overfloweth beyond downtown

Many Toronto queers take Pride festivities for granted. As one of the biggest Pride spectacles in the world, some feel that community involvement is missing.

But just a few hours’ drive beyond this city, there are queers in smaller cities organizing and claiming their space. Here’s a sample of what’s on offer.

(And one offering that’s gone — no more Pride York Region. A statement on its website says operations ceased in November 2005.)


Located beyond Shaw (of course, some say beyond the tracks), Parkdale has grown into something of a Church St W. It seems to be having two Prides this year.

Gay West Village Toronto hosts its first annual Parkdale Pride Party on Sat, Jun 10 at the Rhino (1249 Queen St W). There will be a community fair from 7pm to 9pm with vendors and a public forum with activists and community groups.

From 9pm, there will be a dance party with a lineup of Toronto entertainers ranging from DJ TK to Scandelles front femme Sasha Van Bon Bon.

For more info visit Gaywest.-

Meanwhile, the Parkdale Pride Committee is planning an educational Pride event on Fri, Jun 16 from 4pm to 8pm. It’s being coordinated through West Toronto Support Services (80 Ward St). For more information call (416) 653-3535.


Performer Carole Pope graces Hamilton Pride’s main event at the Pier 4 Park from noon to 6pm, Sat, Jun 17. Anticipate various entertainment throughout the day, including rock band Stutter sharing top billing with Pope. There will also be a marketplace, and a food and beverage garden to chill out in after the rally at 11am at city hall (71 Main St W).

Other events in the week, Hamilton’s 10th Pride, include a symposium, “Why Keep Pride Alive?” at 6:30pm on Wed, Jun 14 at the Central Public Library (55 York Blvd), a free gala reception for the Pride Awards at the Sheraton Hotel (116 King St) on Thu, Jun 15 at 7pm and the annual Hamilton Pride Women’s Dance at Centenary United Church (24 Main St W) at 9pm on Thu, Jun 16.

The rainbow flag goes up at city hall on Sun, Jun 11.

For more info visit


Scarborough’s second annual Pride will be held on Wed, Jun 21 from 11am to 3pm at the Scarborough Civic Centre Rotunda behind Scarborough Town Centre (300 Borough Dr). There will be live performances, entertainment, artists, free giveaways and booths.

For more info call (416) 760-2938 or e-mail


From Sun, Jul 2 to Sat, Jul 15, London will be celebrating. There will be various themed nights ranging from a comedy night at the Music Hall (176 Dundas St) on Mon, Jul 3 to a literary night with guest writers Michael Riordon and Olympic champion Mark Tewksbury at The Arts Project (203 Dundas St) on Tue, Jul 4 and film night at 355 Wellington on Wed, Jul 5.

The Pride Parade will start at 1:30pm on Sun, Jul 9. Participants congregate at 12:30pm in the Music Hall parking lot.

For more info visit


The Rochester Pride Parade And Cultural Festival takes place on Sat, Jul 8 at the Village Gate Square (274 Goodman St N) from 4pm to 10:30pm with the parade starting at 5pm at the corner of Park Ave, ending back at Village Gate.

A pre-Pride social is slated for 5:30pm on Thu, Jul 6 at Highland Bowl park. For updates visit


The Pride Committee Of Peel is organizing its third annual 2006 Peel Pride Picnic for Sat, Jul 15 at noon. It’s at the Lakemount II site in the Heart Lake Conservation Area. Last year close to 400 folks attended. This year there will be a shuttle car to pick people up from the public transit and shuttle them to the park and back. If you require this service, please contact

There will be a Pride dance on Fri, Jul 14 at Norma Jeanes (5977 Dixie Rd) at 9pm until close. Cost is $5.

For updates and more info visit


Since it has a beach in the centre of downtown, Sudbury Pride will hold a swimsuit party on Sat, Jul 22 from noon to 4pm at Bell Park’s main beach, followed by a Rainbow Party at Zig’s (54 Elgin St).

Other events include the mayor officially proclaiming Pride Week on Mon, Jul 17 at 10am in the Tom Davis Square. An art exhibition at the Laughing Buddha (194 Elgin St) takes place the next day. The week finishes on Sun, Jul 23 with Market Square Flare with food, vendors, children’s entertainment, performances and live bands.

For more information contact organizer Sheila Bianconi at (705) 675-1151 ext 2405 or at


With claims to be the fastest-growing regional Pride celebration in Ontario, Windsor Pride starts on Fri, Jul 21 running until Sun, Jul 30.

The 10-day event includes a theatrical production, Norman, Is That You?, featuring the set designs of Queer As Folk designer Patrick Antosh at the Capitol Theatre (121 University Ave W) at 8pm on Fri, Jul 21. Part of the proceeds support a local charity.

Other events include an HIV/AIDS vigil on Thu, Jul 20 (the time and place were unavailable at Xtra’s press time). The Summer Sizzle (6pm to midnight on Sun, Jul 29) at the Charles Clark Square will showcase an outdoor barbeque, vendors and performances by drag king troupe The GutterBoyz, local band CityWide Vacuum and Toronto-based drag diva Sofonda Cox. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the park entrance.

Marchers will get ready on Sunday for the 1pm parade (starting location TBA), which will be followed by more entertainment acts at the square, including headliners Nancy Rancourt and the B-Girlz.

For more information and updates visit

Simcoe County

The four-year-old Simcoe County Pride will celebrate its theme “Pride Is County Wide” starting Mon, Aug 21 with a Pride flag-raising, covering the towns of Midland, Orillia, Barrie, Bradford and West Gwillimbury. It will be followed by an evening reception in Barrie City Hall (70 Collier St) with a youth art show and advocacy discussions with town politicians.

On Sat, Aug 26, there will be an all-ages wrap up shindig at Tyndale Park, from 1pm to 5pm, sponsored by the AIDS Committee Of Simcoe County and the Women’s Resources Of Simcoe County with a barbecue, games and picnic. Proceeds will go to the Simcoe County Pride Committee. There will be more info on posters in Barrie or call (705) 722-6778.


In its third year, Pride Cornwall will be celebrating “Many Faces One Voice.”

The Pride Cornwall Festival will be held on Labour Day weekend, Sep 1, 2 and 3, with an unofficial kick off at Murphy’s Pub (917 2nd St W). The gala’s at Murphy’s, too, on Sun, Sep 3. Starting noon on Sept 2, there’s a community day with vendors, presentations and nonstop entertainment in Lamoureux Park. For more info visit