Skip to Content
Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

A Timeline Of Toronto Pride

Know your history, Toronto…or at least the highlights…

Toronto’s first “Gay Day Picnic” is held on the beach at Hanlan’s Point on Sunday, August 1. The groundbreaking event was organized by Toronto Gay Action, the Community Homophile Association of Toronto and the University of Toronto Homophile Association, with around 300 people from neighbouring cities as far away as New York City and Detroit attending to show their support.

On July 9, the second annual Gay Day Picnic is held as part of a series of events for the first Gay Pride Week. The week includes a festival, film night, Pride Dance, rally and march to Queen’s Park.

Pride Week is held from August 17-26. The organizers ask Mayor David Crombie to recognize the event, but are turned down. Permission to march down Yonge Street is also denied.

Pride Week is held from August 17-24 and includes another Pride Picnic on Ward’s Island, a theatre night and a church service at Metropolitan Community Church. More than 100 people march from Allan Gardens to Queen’s Park in an effort to pressure legislators to add sexual orientation to the Ontario Human Rights Code.

After no organized events were held from 1975 to 1977, GAYDAYS: In Celebration of Lesbians and Gay Men is held from August 24-27. This is the first year that Pride Day is celebrated at Cawthra Park, with ceremonies on the steps of The 519 Community Centre and a beer garden in the park.

After no organized events were held in 1979 and 1980, Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Toronto is legally incorporated and 1,500 people celebrate Pride Day on Sunday, June 28 at Grange Park. Just months earlier, on February 5, Metro Toronto Police had raided various bathhouses as part of “Operation Soap,” arresting 306 men.… In spite of the politically charged atmosphere, Lesbian and Gay Pride Day is billed as a time to relax and celebrate, and as “an afternoon of fun and frolic.”

After previous Pride events at Grange Park (1981 and 1982) and King’s College Circle (1983), the annual festival makes a move. For the first time, Church Street – the heart of Toronto’s queer village – is closed and people dance in the street.

Mayor Art Eggleton refuses to proclaim Lesbian & Gay Pride Week – the theme of which, ironically, is “Coming Together.” Eggleton will become Toronto’s longest-serving mayor (from 1980 to 1991), and through his entire tenure he will refuse to proclaim Lesbian and Gay Pride Day.

Toronto City Council proclaims Pride Day for the first time, and Councillor Jack Layton reads the proclamation at the opening ceremony. Eggleton refuses to attend.

June Rowlands becomes the first mayor to sign a Pride Day proclamation, though she does not attend the actual parade.

Barbara Hall becomes the first mayor in Toronto’s history to not only speak on the Pride stages, but also to attend and walk in the parade.

The first-ever Dyke March is held on Saturday, June 29, and it has a turnout of 5,000 people – police had projected an attendance of 50.

After initial reservations, Toronto’s new “mega-mayor” Mel Lastman participates in the annual Pride Parade. He ends up having a fantastic time, riding on a fire truck and getting soaked by revellers with power water guns.

For the first time, the City’s Official Proclamation of Pride Week includes a mention of bisexuals, transsexuals and transgendered persons.

The First Trans March is held after Karah Mathiason organizes the event. It is not recognized by Pride Toronto as an officially programmed event but is supported by the group.

Toronto hosts WorldPride 2014, the first to be held in North America and the largest event of its kind.

Toronto Pride celebrations take over the city when the event becomes one month long. On Sunday, July 3, Black Lives Matter brings the Pride parade to a standstill to force the annual celebration of LGBTQ equality to answer for its “anti-blackness.”

Pride Toronto cancels its full in-person festival weekend, which includes the Pride Parade, the Dyke March and the Trans March, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Virtual events, parties, performances and seminars are held throughout the month instead.

Related Articles

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 9 Episode 11 Recap: Grand Finale Variety Extravaganza: Part 1

The All Star queens get ready to compete one last time, have a one on one with mother Ru,  and an old All Stars twist appears ahead of the last episode

July 19, 2024 / Entertainment Latest

Here’s Legendary Drag Queen Tandi Andrew’s Epic “Holding Out For A Hero” Performance That Roxxxy Paid Tribute To On All Stars 9

Roxxy Andrews channelled her drag grandmother (and drag mother) to win her lip sync against Jorgeous. Here’s a little more on Roxxxy’s inspiration

July 18, 2024 / Entertainment Latest

Boys Of Summer

Mr. Man spotlights the men steaming up theatres this season


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *