Toronto kicks off first-ever Pride Month

In a first for Toronto and for Canada, the city will be marking Pride with a month of festivities, workshops, and cultural events. Events kicked off Tuesday with a lunchtime ceremony and BBQ at city hall.

'This June, everyone is at home in Toronto,' co-chair of Pride says

Toronto Mayor John Tory launches the city's first ever Pride Month at city hall. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

It's a first for Toronto: after 35 years of Pride Week, Tuesday marked the launch of the city's — and the country's — first-ever Pride month.

Festivities kicked off with a noon ceremony downtown, as the rainbow and Trans Pride flags were raised at city hall.

This year will also see another first: Justin Trudeau marching in the annual Pride parade. He will be the first sitting prime minister to do so.

In his remarks Mayor Tory acknowledged the history of Pride, noting that when it began "it took to the streets in the form of a protest following the [bathhouse] raids in 1981, and here we are 35 years later, where a protest has become a parade...embracing a respect for right, but also for people."

The origins of Pride actually go back even further: in 1971 a Gay Day Picnic was held at Hanlan's Point; Toronto's first Pride Week was commemorated one year later.

Mayor Tory was joined by Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, who gave opening remarks at today's event, leaders from Pride Toronto, more than a dozen council colleagues, and excited members of the public. 

"This June, everyone is at home in Toronto," Aaron GlynWilliams, co-chair of Pride Toronto's board of directors, told the assembled crowd.

GlynWilliams also made some frank comments about relations between the LGBT and other communities, saying that "our community can be especially discriminating along intersections of race, gender identity, and age," and pledging that Pride was putting an emphasis on bridging those divides.

Black Lives Matter activists will help lead the Pride parade this year.

Many of the major cultural institutions in Toronto will also be taking part in Pride Month, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Art Gallery of Ontario, TIFF, and the Royal Ontario Museum.