Our guide to the best free things to do at Toronto Pride

Pride weekend is finally here, and it’s going to be a great one. Even with some rain in the forecast, there are plenty of things to do in the city to celebrate — including some free events. Here are nine of the best free things to do this Pride weekend in Toronto.

Take part in a march

@inozzphotoworks/Instagram

We all know about the Pride parade, but that’s not the only march happening this weekend. This Friday night, you can take part in the Trans Pride Rally, which begins at 7 p.m. and ends with an afterparty at the Garden Stage. On Saturday, the Dyke March celebrating lesbians is happening at 1 p.m., and also ends with an afterparty and community fair at the Garden Stage. Finally, on Sunday, queer and trans Torontonians and allies can join the Pride Parade at 2 p.m., which will have over 100 groups marching.

Get loud at the Drag Ball

Pride Toronto is hosting an extravagant Drag Ball on Saturday night, and if you’re a fan of drag, you won’t want to miss it! Happening at the TD Main Stage at Nathan Phillips Square, the fabulous lineup of drag performers includes Sasha Colby, Anetra, Jimbo, Landon Cider, Icesis Couture, Gisèle Lullaby, Jada Shada Hudson, Pythia, Miss Fiercalicous, Kimmy Couture and more! At at time when drag is being protested by homophobic groups and even banned in some areas in North America, show up to celebrate the drag community and show your support!

Celebrate Pride with your pup

@miss.picklesthepug/Instagram

For the queer folks (and allies) who can’t go anywhere without their dog, this Saturday afternoon event might be the place for you. Head out to Ramsden Park Dog Park and shop for Pride swag for your dog, cool your pup down with dog ice cream, enter giveaways to win prizes for your pet and even meet Miss Pickles the drag pug before heading down the Church Street festivities with your pup gang in tow.

Enjoy an open-air movie night

On Friday night, College Park will be home to an open-air cinema, where you can watch season two of Amazon Canada’s The Lake, followed by a special screening of MGM’s The Birdcage (1996). And special guest, Ontario’s Jordan Gavaris who stars in The Lake, will be there as well!

Grab your bike and go for a Pride Ride

Calling all cyclists! Trek Bicycle Queen West is hosting a Pride Ride on Sunday, so head out to Tommy Thompson Park, bring your friends, bring some water and bring a good mood, because there’s going to be snacks, free goodies and plenty of fun!

Enjoy a queer art exhibit

All month, Stackt Market has been hosting solo exhibitions of queer artists. Now, to close off Pride Month, on Thursday the market will be hosting a closing reception featuring all of the Toronto-based queer artists. The exhibition includes three artists, each with their own distinctive style and narratives — Kelsey Timmons Chan, Jason Zante and Nicko Cecchini. 

Celebrate Pride with the whole family

Pride Toronto is hosting a Family Pride event all weekend for you to bring the little ones along for events catered just for them! Head to Church Street Public School for face-painting, puppet theatre, story time with Fay & Fluffy and even a magic show — it’ll run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday so you can make the most of your weekend.

Get down with Dirty Disco

All afternoon and into the night on Sunday, the OLG Centre Stage on Church Street will be transformed into a Dirty Disco party! Enjoy an incredible lineup of DJ legends including JELO, Jerome Robins, Robb G, Ticky Ty, Jules Worth and Chiclet, along with U.K. hitmaker Essel. With a two-decade legacy behind this performance, you won’t want to miss this!

Celebrate 25 years of Pride Toronto’s hottest party

@pridetoronto/Instagram

Blockorama is celebrating its 25th year and is officially Pride Toronto’s longest-running stage! This amazing party spotlights Toronto’s 2SLGBTQI+ African, Black and Caribbean community through performers, DJs, artists, drag, ballroom, health workers and activists curated by Blackness Yes!, and will be happening at the Bud Light Wellness Stage on Saturday and Sunday. 

 

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO