Can’t believe we are half way through summer already! It has been such a busy, yet exciting time. The summer kicking off with the first issue of theBUZZ was one of the highlights for sure! All the hard work seems to be paying off, as I have heard from so many people, that the magazine has achieved what we set out to accomplish: to be a positive and diverse voice in the community.

inspire awardsI am also on the Board of Directors of the INSPIRE Awards so just 2 weeks before we held the 4th annual INSPIRE Awards at Hart House. I was honoured to be able to present an award for “Person of the Year.” Congratulations Francisco Alvarez! I have been involved with the INSPIRE Awards now for over 2 years and must say that seeing such inspirational individuals, organizations, and businesses be recognized and the look on their faces when they come up to the stage to get their award, is what really makes all the hard work I put in worth it.

Probably the award category that is the most inspiring to me is the “Youth of the Year.” To see young people doing so much good in the community is so amazing. I can’t believe how mature and dedicated these young people are to making a difference in their community. This year’s recipient, Justin Preston is truly a role model for youth. A victim of bullying himself he launched an online campaign called “Rise Against Bullying.” and has appeared on national television and has thousands of followers that now look up to him.

justin brandon

I got to ride on the INSPIRE Awards WorldPride float this year with Justin, and other award recipients.

Speaking of WorldPride … what an incredible experience for Toronto! I had the opportunity to attend many of the events including, the opening ceremonies. Here is just some of the people I got to meet at the opening.

Other memorable moments of WorldPride for me was Nuit Rose. This art event, curated by James Fowler (one of the artists on the first issue of theBUZZ) was really awesome. The artistic installations kept me entertained for hours.

Me playing

Me playing

Nuit Rose

Nuit Rose

WorldPride was a good time to meet some political candidates. I was happy to attend, and support Olivia Chow’s event at Woody’s and Kristyn Wong-Tam‘s party at Church on Church. Both are truly big supporters of the LGBTQ community and have done a lot for us!

Olivia Chow

Olivia Chow

Kristyn Wong-Tam

Kristyn Wong-Tam

The last weekend of WorldPride certainly was a celebration I will never forget. I got to help present the “Canadian LGBTQ Icon INSPIRE Award” to Carole Pope. She is truly a Canadian rock legend and a LGBTQ community member who made it big in Toronto and worldwide.

The summer of Pride has not ended yet!   Montreal Pride parade will be happening from July 11 – July 17 and Ottawa Pride from August 15 to August 19.  I will be in Ottawa for Pride and will film some footage for BUZZ TV.  I was born in Ottawa so it is always fun to go back and visit my home town.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.