Pride month will officially begin on June 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm with the flag raising at City Hall. Pride Toronto have also announced their opening night headliner on Friday, June 22nd at Yonge -Dundas Square, with actor, and R&B recording artist, Brandy. Programming will begin at 5 pm and continue until 11 pm, with full bar service in the Square.  The Grammy and American Music Award Winner will headline Pride Toronto’s biggest stage, alongside Toronto’s own Kapri

The 38th Annual Pride Parade will begin at  2pm at Church and Bloor, with Toronto’s own play-by-play announcer Miss Conception will call the shots from Yonge and Hayden streets with  live streaming via CP24. This year promises to be one of our largest ever, with over 120 marching groups and 40 floats already registered, including the cast from the hit CBC comedy, Schitt’s CreekDaniel Levy, Noah Reid, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, Sarah Levy and Karen Robinson.

After the parade, the party continues at Yonge Dundas Square once again, with entertainment by pop RnB star, Kehlani, and special guests. In April this year, the singer  tweeted repeatedly about her fluid take on sexuality.

For those more interested in politics than partying, everyone is encouraged to dress in black and march in silence at the end of the parade to honour those individuals lost in the senseless tragedies of the recent serial killing spree and Yonge Street van attack. The Black March also will remember community members lost to AIDS over the past 35 years, aligning with Pride Toronto’s 2018 theme, “35 Years of AIDS Activism”.

Signature Events and Showcases

There are dozens of events planned throughout the month of June, leading up to Pride weekend, including: AGO First Thursday Pride Month Launch Party on June 7, Aqueerium, DRAG BALL, Blockorama’s 20th Anniversary, Yalla Barra and so many more!

On Thursday, June 14th Pride Toronto is hosting a Pool Party at Cabana with the terminally delightful, Ben DeLaCremePresented byCaribbean Pride and Pinnacle Vodka ‘Til Sunrise Island Party is on Sunday, June 17th from 1pm-9pm, sponsored by Sauza Tequilla. Join the party at Artscape Gibraltar Point on the island for an all-Toronto party in the sun! DJ performances include: Phil VilleneuveJohn CafferyPhillippe, and DJ DJON complete with mermen on the beach! 

New Initiatives

The Pride Street Fair and Marketplace is being extended, and the entire stretch of Church St. from Bloor St. to Dundas St will be closed to traffic and become a fully enclosed pedestrian zone. This adds an additional 14 city blocks of programming space, which will include: A Wellness Zone sponsored by Tweed, a highly anticipated Art Zonewith a pride pop art vendor village and cafe, and an Environmental Zone, all anchored by our new Chum FM South Stage. Loblaws has also partnered with Pride and will be hosting the Canteen Stage inside their flagship store at Church and Carlton, with DJ’s, drag shows, and food demonstrations.

As well, Drinks to Go, will allow festival attendees to walk freely with purchased alcoholic beverages throughout a designated parameter on Church St. between Charles and Carlton). This will eliminate the often frustrating routine of not being able to leave a beer tent or bar once a drink is purchased. Yes, that’s right, the plan is to allow patrons who purchase cocktails at any licensed establishment or beer garden, to then leave and stroll the festival grounds with drink in hand. While this maybe a new concept to Toronto, it has been happening in Montreal for years, and Europe as well. Toronto passed a bylaw a few years back allowing more flexibility with alcohol restrictions at outdoor festivals, and Pride Toronto is the first organization to full embrace and give it try.

More details on the entire festival can be found in the digital guide. Updates can also be found on the website or social media channels.

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.