Pride Parade

Pride Cowboy 

Pride Cowboy

The 2008 Toronto Pride Week wrapped up the week’s festivities on Sunday with the Pride Parade. For those of you who have been hiding under a rock, Pride is a worldwide festival that celebrates the queer community: gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals. 

M. appeared less than enthused about going to the parade. “Just because you go to watch the parade doesn’t mean you’re gay,” I assure him. So we join the million people lining Yonge Street craning for a glimpse of the marchers.

That’s right. One million.

St. Louis also celebrated PrideFest at Tower Grove Park, touted as the largest gay and lesbian festival in the Midwest. The crowd was estimated at about 80,000. Of course, Toronto is a much larger city, and its citizens are generally less uptight about queer people. Or at least those who are uptight hide under a rock, as far as I can tell.

The parade featured, of course, the requisite number of scantily clad guys, gals — and a few whose gender was anyone’s guess — gyrating to Abba. Other characters included a bare-buttocked cowboy, wearing nothing but chaps, knee-high boots, a cowboy hat and a bandana, cracking a bull whip; geishas twirling parasols; drag queens showing off impossibly shapely legs; gladiators, clowns, fairies and other costumed creatures.

But joining the more colorful marchers were regular, everyday people, waving rainbow flags or hoisting rainbow umbrellas. Police officers. Engineers. Teachers. Students. Politicians. People with AIDS. Even members of the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Expanding on the rainbow theme, many of the floats featured ethnic groups: Chinese, South Asian, Jamaican, Japanese. There was even a small group representing gay Muslims. One marcher dressed in Saudi garb carried a sign pointing out that this type of demonstration would not be allowed in that part of the world.

I may not be queer, but I felt a sense of pride.

(More photos of the 2008 Toronto Pride Parade after the jump)

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Bienvenue au Canada

Toronto. Six months. Pourquoi pas?

The idea started festering earlier this year. Husband M. was traveling for work every week, mostly to his company’s office in Toronto. I was getting restless in St. Louis, thirsting for adventure in a new town.

M. first floated the concept to his boss, who gave the thumbs up. Check. The director of the community development corporation where I work offered to hire a temp during my absence and allow me to continue working on the website from Toronto. Check. After hours of internet research, I found a condo to rent in a great neighborhood. Check.

So in May, we packed the beagirls and a bunch of stuff in the purple PT Cruiser and headed to Canada.

Our first week was less than pleasant. A two-hour detour after driving in the wrong direction on the trip up. A persnickety Canadian border agent who nearly blocked our way into the country. An odorous welcome to our rented condo, followed by days of cleaning and organizing. A painful kidney infection ending in a trip to the emergency room. Damp, chilly days. 

On the bright side, I began to explore my North Toronto neighborhood and the rest of the Queen City. In the posts that follow, I’ll share my experiences and perspectives of T-dot-O.


July 2018
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