Chad Simon is not only one of the reasons World Pride is already the massive success that is – did you know he also has a silver medal from the World Out Games? There’s a lot you should probably know about Chad Simon…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and moved to Toronto in 1996. Here I have been a proud member of the LGBT community for almost 19 years. I have worked in real estate and now in higher education at Ryerson, advising the students of today. However the most exciting stuff comes from my work in the community: Over the past five years on the Board for Pride Toronto, along with owning my own promotion company, I have been able to create some incredible parties for people to enjoy. But don’t let this fool you – I am really broad in my likes. I am I huge wine lover, but I’ll go and play sports with the best of them. I won a silver medal in badminton for the first World Out Games in 2006.
What have been the biggest challenges and greatest rewards gearing up for World Pride Toronto?
One of the biggest challenges would be getting together a community of different people with different ideas and trying to make everyone happy. The LGBT community is very passionate about what goes on, and this can be a good and a bad thing. Another challenge is the logistics and financing of the events. Remember, Pride is a free festival so all of our stages and shows are free to get into. However, at the end of the day, Pride Toronto has to find a way to make it happen. I would always give the credit to Ben Freeman – he is a miracle worker for sponsorship funding. The greatest reward… well, a successful festival! We are bringing together 2.5 million people from all walks of life, cultures, backgrounds, and ages in a celebration of equality. I think for me to impart that feeling will be the greatest thing I could give and love to see others enjoy.
What events are you most looking forward to at World Pride?
There is so much happening during Pride, but I think my three top things are: Carly Rae Jepson produced by MTV on the Friday night of Pride at the Wellesley Stage – that’s my No. 1. The next is the parade happening on the Sunday of Pride. This year we have around 300 different registrations up from 170 or so the year prior! And the final but certainly not last is the Closing Ceremony after the Parade starring Tegan and Sarah!
What makes Toronto such a special city, specifically with regards to LGBTTIQQ2SA communities?
Toronto is the most welcoming and tolerant city in the world! The city supports us unconditionally and we have community support for all the city groups that make up Toronto.
What’s one Toronto restaurant you’d recommend World Pride visitors try and why?
Oh, this is tough. There are so many amazing places to eat in the city. But if I have to pick one based on Pride and the Village, I would suggest The Churchmouse. It’s right on the main corner in the heart of the village with a sexy patio to watch everything and everyone.
What are three things you can’t live without?
1. My best friends Rob, Dennis, Markus, and Dave. For nearly 20 years, these guys have been there through everything. They are the type to be in trouble with me and not the ones bailing me out!
2. My Family. They have been my strength through all things good and bad in my life. My brother was the first to say, ” I don’t care that you’re gay. You’re my brother and I love you.”
3. Wine. If any of the above don’t work, wine will always be there.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How do we stay up-to-date with you?
You can reach me on Facebook or through my Pride account, chad.simon [at] pridetoronto.com.