Pride Toronto to return with in-person events after 2-year pandemic hiatus

After two years of online programming, Toronto’s Pride month and festival is returning with in-person events across the city in June.

Initial programming lineup for festival announced Thursday

Volunteers with Pride Toronto carry a large rainbow flag during the 2019 Pride Parade in Toronto, Sunday, June 23, 2019. The festival is bringing back in-person events this year. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/The Canadian Press)

After two years of online programming, Toronto's Pride month and festival is returning with in-person events across the city in June.

Executive Director Sherwin Modeste said the organization is thrilled to get back to face-to-face events after the festival shifted online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is going to bring the city to life!" Modeste said, in a statement. "Throughout Pride Month, we will be continuing our new initiatives to include different art forms and will give everyone a reason, time, space and something to celebrate. We cannot wait to welcome back our community to honour the history of protest and celebrate the future."

Pride 2022 launches with a kick-off party and mini-ball at El Mocambo on June 8, and continues with an assortment of parties and events intended to foster community connection, like the Black Queer and Trans Excellence Live Podcast Recording at Hotel X on June 21, an online human rights series and localized neighbourhood events in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke. 

Pride rallies and marches will also be held on these dates:

  • Trans rally and march: June 24
  • Dyke rally and march: June 25
  • Pride parade: June 26

A full list of events will be available online Friday.

"After two long years, we are beyond excited to bring together — in person — the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Toronto and beyond to celebrate the 2022 Pride Festival," said board co-chairs Yuri Hernandez and Grant Gonzales, in a statement.

"While we celebrate how far we have come as a community, Pride Month is also a critical time to lift up and advocate for many vulnerable groups within the 2SLGBTQ+ community who continue to be marginalized and left behind."

At a news conference Thursday morning, Mayor John Tory said he's eager for Pride to come back in person. 

"The past two years, let's face it, they just weren't the same," Tory said, adding that he often tells people, "You haven't lived until you've had the experience of being in the Pride parade.

"When you are there, you see this amazing crowd that represents everybody in the entire city coming out together to celebrate, and to support and to express, just by being there, our values that we live by in the city."

This also marks the first Pride being held since the organization apologized after an accounting firm it hired found that Pride Toronto could not prove that it completed several projects despite receiving $1.85 million in federal grant money.

The organization also said at the time that it was apologizing to individuals and organizations who it "wrongly, and without their permission or approval, made false representations claiming their support for Pride Toronto's grant applications."