Gay Pride Day in Toronto, 1985
• The 1985 Pride Day festivities were held on June 30 under the theme "Coming
Together." According to PrideToronto.com, 8,000 people were in attendance at
the celebrations in Cawthra Park.
• Organizers of the 1985 event planned a public education campaign about AIDS, hoping to clear up misunderstandings that the disease is one that affects only the gay community. "There's a lot of straight people that have misconceptions about AIDS and ... how can they contract it by even knowing gay people, which is totally untrue," one woman states in the clip.
• In 1986, Mayor Eggleton once again refused to proclaim Lesbian & Gay Week, but 10,000 people still celebrated in Cawthra Park. The first [Toronto] Pride Committee was formed to organize the event. The logo focused on AIDS and depicted an "electrocardiogram recording the last heartbeats of people dying of AIDS." Despite all the hysteria surrounding the AIDS scare, the event had corporate sponsorship for the first time.
• In 1987, 15,000 attended the event in a year where sexual orientation was included in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
• In 1988, Pride Day got its first parade grand marshals: Karen Andrews and
Svend Robinson. A temporary AIDS Memorial was installed in Cawthra Park.
Despite the mayor's continued refusal for proclamation, 20,000 attended the
• In 1996 the first Dyke March was held on the Saturday of the two-day event. The turnout was 8,000.
• In 1998, the first Pride Week was proclaimed by new "mega-city" mayor Mel Lastman. Lastman got in on the festivities by riding a fire truck in the parade and getting soaked by revelers with water guns.
• By the new millennium, the weeklong event was attracting over a million people and had become a major summer boon for the city's economy.
Broadcast Date: June 30, 1985
Guest(s): Kyle Rae
Reporter: Marina Mirabella
Last updated: June 29, 2012
Page consulted on June 29, 2012
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