Pride 2018
Pride (Image: Karen Chapelle)
Pride Parade 2018
Photo: Mark Blinch (Reuters)

Toronto Pride is one of the world’s largest Pride celebrations. There are endless events, parties, and things to do and see. So if you are thinking of going to Pride for the first time or if you are just not sure what you want to do this year, keep reading! With Toronto Pride only a a few days away, this is your go-to guide to experience Pride without any fomo! We broke down Pride into 4 categories: Where to Party, Where to Eat, Where to Drink, and Things to See and Do. Check it out and get ready for an AMAZING Pride weekend!

Where to Party

Everyone knows Pride hosts some of the city’s best parties – full of energy and love. Here are some of the Toronto Pride parties that you can’t miss!

Want to get the party started early?  Here are the top parties to check out before Pride weekend!

Starry NightBarbara Hall Park, June 20th, from 5pm until 11pm. Starry Night is part of the Green Space Festival, which helps fundraise for the 519 Church Street Community Centre. Starry night is a free event held in the park behind the Community Centre, and is one of their signature events to kickoff Pride.  Miz Cracker, Monét X Change and The Vixen from RuPaul’s Drag Race will be there to perform, host and meet & greet. The vibe is generally more of the professional after-work crowd who wants to mix and mingle. It is also a place to see and greet the who’s who of the gay community.

Disco Disco (10th Anniversary)Barbara Hall Park, June 21st, from 5pm until 12am. This is another Green Space Festival free event, but this time on Thursday night to carry on the party from Starry Night the night before. Disco Disco will be more of a party with DJs such as Horse Meat Disco.

Now that the pre-parties are out of the way, get ready for the Pride weekend extravaganza!

Friday, June 22nd:

A Night at the AQUEERium Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, June 22nd at 8pm. Join DJ Cozmic Cat for a fun-filled evening of music, live entertainment and dancing, featuring some of Toronto’s favourite drag queens. All of this will be among fishes, sharks and other sea creatures. The vibe will be perfect for some schmoozing with a cocktail (or two) in an amazing and unique setting.

Night at the Aqueerium
Photo: Ripley’s Aquarium Website

Aqua Pool PartyCabana Pool Bar, June 22nd, from 4pm until 10pm. This is the Prism Toronto (host of Pride’s largest parties) version of a pool party. The city views will be amazing, but the party will be more about the beats. The vibe will be more for the folks who are looking to start the night with some drinks and a nice dip in the pool.

There are a few options for Friday – later at night, so pick one that suits your taste:

Le Cirque RevivalRebel Nightclub, June 22nd at 10pm. Considered one of the staple events of the
Prism Festival, it returns to its home inside Rebel nightclub with the theme Le Cirque. The vibe will
be for hardcore partygoers who love dancing and music.  Get your tickets in advance!

Fit PrimpinThe Great Hall, June 22nd at 9pm. This event is all about the great music and vibes,
with a host of DJs, featuring special guest Kim Ann Foxman.

Asian Xpress Pride2018Maison Mercer, June 22nd at 10:30pm. This is Toronto’s great big gaysian boy’s night out. The crowd is generally more diverse compared to the other parties.

Pitbull Pride #LeatherLoveThe Opera House, June 22nd at 10pm. Are you into leather? This is event for you. Get ready to celebrate everything kinky at the hottest fetish party.

Saturday June 23rd:

Mega Pride T-DanceWellesley Stage, June 23rd, from 2pm until 8pm. What’s a T-dance? It’s like going to a club, but instead of in the evening and indoors, it’s outside and in the middle of the day. DJs will include Italy’s Phil Romano and Miami’s Danny Verde.

Return to EdenMaison Mercer, June 23rd, from 10pm until 7am. This is Prism Festival’s main party with a circuit-filled lineup. This one is for the circuit going crowd. You need to get your tickets in advance or plan to pay at the door.

Sunday June 24th:

TreeHouse Greenspace PartyBarbara Hall Park, June 24th, 1pm until 12am. This is another free Green Space Festival event and it is a great way to spend Pride Sunday, especially after the parade. The vibe is more chill to recover from the prior night’s parties, but still alive enough to keep the party going.

Resist – Fly 2.0, June 24th at 10pm. If you still have energy after all the partying, Resist is the Prism Festival closing party. End Pride with a Bang, at Resist. Fly will be outfitted with custom designed LED walls, a spectacular laser show and amplified sound for 11 hours of non-stop beats.

Where to Eat

There are so many food options in Toronto, but here are our top choices in the village so that you can stay close to all the action.

The Keg Mansion – Eating at this mansion just outside of the village, is a unique dining experience. The Keg serves American cuisine and is best known for their steak.

Smith – Located right in the village, this 3-story restaurant serves regional American comfort food in a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.

Smith Restaurant
Photo: @smith_to (Instagram)

Hair of the Dog – Looking for a local pub experience? Head down to the Hair of the Dog for great drinks and pub favourites. Hair of the Dog is located on the southern edge of the Village.

Fushimi – This all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in the Village serves up as much sushi as you can eat for both lunch and dinner.

Street food – Church Street and parts of Wellesley Street will be closed for the annual Pride Street Fair, which will include some delicious food vendors. Walk around and let your nose guide you.

The Village will be packed with people and it will be super busy, so consider the following out-of-the-village options, if you feel like escaping the craziness for a quiet meal.

Benny Brunch at Bosk (Shangri-La Hotel) – If you are looking for a weekend treat before the evening parties, check out Bosk’s prix fixe brunch menu featuring 8-10 different eggs benedict variations and access to the mimosa trolley (in case you want to get the party started early).

Figures – A hidden restaurant where nostalgia for 80s comic books unfolds into a fine-dining experience. Read more about Figures here.

Toca Restaurant (The Ritz-Carlton) – Traditional Italian dishes prepared with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant – a collaboration with renowned chef Oliver Glowig, is also home to Canada’s only cheese cave.

Pick 6ix Restaurant – Located in the heart of downtown at 33 Yonge St, it features an open-concept rooftop patio completely enclosed with glass. Read more about 6ix here.

Where to Drink

Woodys – This is a Toronto institution where most visitors and locals alike, start their night. Woodys is known as the spot where they filmed parts of Queer as Folk. This is the perfect place to grab a few drinks and make some new friends.

Woody's Toronto

Boutique Bar – Located right across Woodys, Boutique serves delicious cocktails and has a great patio area overlooking Church Street.

O’Grady’s On Church – Just up the street from Woodys is one of the liveliest patios on Church Street. O’Grady’s is the perfect spot to hang out with friends, enjoy a craft beer or delicious cocktail.

“Drinks On The Go” program – This year’s pride will allow festivalgoers to purchase and consume alcohol while continuing to explore the pride licensed area. This means you can buy a drink from O’Grady’s and take it with you down the street. Interested attendees can purchase a wristband online or onsite for $10 a day or $25 over the weekend.

Things to See and Do

Get your tiara and heels ready because there will be a lot to see and do over Pride week. Here are a few highlights to get you started:

AIDS Candlelight Vigil – Barbara Hall Park, June 19th at 9pm. Commemorate those lives lost and affected by HIV/AIDS. This year’s Vigil theme is Strength in Communities, embrace and look out for one another.

Trans March – The march begins at Church and Hayden Street on June 22nd at 7pm, making their way along Bloor, south on Yonge, east on Carlton, and ending at Allan Gardens.

Opening Night with Headliner KehlaniYonge-Dundas Square, June 22nd, from 5pm until 11pm.

Pride and Remembrance Run Church and Wellesley, June 23rd at 10am. Annual 5k fun-run to raise money for local charities.

Dyke MarchThis march begins at Church and Hayden Street on June 23rd at 1pm, making their way along Bloor, south on Yonge, east on Carlton, and ending at Allan Gardens.

Drag BallYonge-Dundas Square, June 23rd, from 6pm until 11pm. Featuring international queens, a who’s-who of the top Toronto queens and kings, and a few surprises.

Toronto Pride ParadeThe parade begins at Bloor and Church St on June 24th at 2pm, making their way along Bloor, south on Yonge, and ending at Yong-Dundas Square.

World pride 2018

Music and Performance Stages – Located throughout the Village area, including the Bud Light Wellesley Stage across from Wellesley station, TD Village Stage right at Church and Wellesley, OLG Central Stage on Church between Alexander and Maitland, Yonge-Dundas Square, and the Pride Bud Light Living Room by Dundonald and Church Streets.

Street Fair – Church Street from Charles to Carlton, parts of Wellesley and Alexander streets, will be closed for the weekend for the annual Pride Street Fair.

Closing with Headliner Brandy – Yonge-Dundas Square, June 24th, from 5pm until 11pm.

Now go out there and enjoy Pride!!