Summer in Toronto has certainly been looking bleak due to the number of events and festivals that have been cancelled as a result of the global health crisis, but the city's beloved Pride Parade is venturing on nonetheless.
Pride Toronto announced today that the annual parade will take place virtually this year, as will the organization's Pride Month celebrations in June.
"We are excited to announce that Pride Toronto will continue with June Pride celebrations in a new, creative, and unique way that ensures the safety of residents and proper physical distancing," the non-profit said in a statement.
On June 1, the City of Toronto will proclaim June as Pride Month and raise the rainbow and transgender flags. Mayor John Tory will release a special message for the occasion, and residents are encouraged to fly flags from their balconies, windows or doorways in order to spread pride throughout the city's neighbourhoods.
"This event will take you back to warehouse parties and old-school glam with FEEEYASS drag queens and avant-garde spectators, anything goes!" the release sates.
A month of online events featuring a lineup of DJs, performers, drag artists, singers and dancers will follow, with a major emphasis on shining a spotlight on women in music and BIPOC artists.
"We'll be highlighting local collectives, artists, makers, and performers who work so hard all year round and some of whom have been part of Pride Toronto for 20+ years," notes the release.
"Our virtual festival will be our best representation of what you would have experienced on our physical footprint, with a heavy focus on implementing visual arts and community-focused programming."
Then, on June 28, Pride will hold their annual parade online.
"The queer and trans community will continue to trail-blaze and connect our community with innovative and exciting ideas. COVID-19 won’t stop us from continuing to create space for everyone to express who they truly are," reads the release.
"The Virtual Pride Parade will stay true to our political roots and reflect our community. We will honour our courageous past, celebrating how far we have come and will remain vigilant to the ongoing needs of our community. We will help bring issues to light, challenge convention, support our community, and promote safety."
More details about the parade itself will be released as we get closer to June, and updates including a complete list of online special events, schedule of weekly live programming and artist announcements will be posted to the Pride website.
"Pride Toronto has moved quickly to ensure that our community can celebrate innovatively and safely in 2020," said board co-chairs of Pride Toronto Alyssa Mohabir and Shakir Rahim, in a statement.
"It has been hard work to make a digital festival a reality, but thanks to our incredible staff team, dedicated volunteers, creative curators, and generous sponsors; we are ready and proud of what we have to offer. We hope the LGBT2Q+ community and our allies will be too."
by Mira Miller via blogTO