Every June, Toronto comes alive with pride. The parties are epic. The crowds are eclectic and warm and welcoming. Bars and restaurants are all unveiling their Pride signature cocktails. And the Pride flags. So many Pride flags everywhere. It’s wonderful and completely indicative of Toronto.
Around here, every week is Pride Week
Yonge and Charles (our corner) is at the northeast border of what’s affectionally known around here as the “gaybourhood,” and it’s pretty easy to tell by the bars and the clubs and the people you’ll see on the patios. So if you’re planning a last-minute trip in to enjoy Toronto’s gay pride parade, Anndore House is where you’ll want to stay.
The area’s been Toronto’s gay mecca since the mid-1950s when the municipal government chose it to build the city’s first high-rise apartments (many of which still stand a stone’s throw away from us). These apartments were perfect for single 20-somethings who wanted to move into the city; and at that time, if you were a single 20-something, you were probably gay.
But as it turned out, the history of the neighbourhood made it perfect for what it is today. Over a hundred years ago, the land was purchased by Alexander Wood, a Scottish magistrate and closeted homosexual who was run out of town for his sexuality. He’s been immortalized by a statue at the corner of Church and Alexander. It’s about a seven-minute walk from Anndore House and definitely worth a look.
Finding a Pride party won’t be difficult
Almost every bar and pub in the area will have something going on over Pride weekend. Our advice is to party hop them all. But you’ll want to do it on a full stomach because it’ll be hot and the drinks will be flowing. With that in mind, consider starting off at Constantine in the Anndore lobby. The Mediterranean menu is among the best in town, and the dining room is a great place to set the mood for fun.
Toronto Pride Parade — Five Need-to-Knows
1. There’ll be lots of naked people everywhere. The Toronto Pride Parade is about more than celebrating alternative sexuality. It’s about encouraging people to be proud of who they are as individuals and letting that pride (literally) hang out.
2. It’s usually really hot. Many Toronto Pride Parade floats are stocked with water guns (and plenty of fun people using them to hose down the crowd), but you’ll want to bring your own water bottle — though not a plastic water bottle, please.
3. The cops are watching. You may have read or heard about the police not being welcome at the Toronto Pride Parade. That was about them not having a float and not at all about them not being present. They’ll be there and they’ll have very little tolerance for shenanigans.
4. Be prepared to spend a lot of money. The Toronto Pride Parade is by far the most well-attended event of the year in this city, and Pride Month attracts more than 2 million visitors to the city. So the simple law of supply and demand means that everything around here costs more — except for a night at Anndore House which is still affordable.
5. Torontonians don’t take well to litterers. You’ll find bins up and down the street. Please use them.