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The first physical, Global Black Pride LGBTQ festival is coming to Toronto in Canada next summer.
Global Black Pride, which aims to unite Black LGBTQ communities around the world, began life in 2020. Because of the pandemic, all events in both 2020 and 2021 took place online. This year’s event included video messages of support from President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
The 2022 festival will run July 28-31. It’s coming to Toronto thanks to a partnership between Pride Toronto, Global Black Pride and the Canada-based community collective, Blackness Yes!
In a press statement, Global Black Pride vice president Rikki Nathanson said, “After having two virtual events, our team longed for the day when we would see our beautiful LGBTQI+ siblings basking and shining in their powerful Blackness in person. We are thrilled to be partnering with Pride Toronto and Blackness Yes! to bring our first-ever in-person Global Black Pride event to life in Toronto, Canada.”
Sherwin Modeste, Executive Director of Pride Toronto, said: “Being the host city of the first in-person Global Black Pride is indeed an honor and we are looking forward to creating that global village where we can talk and play. I am truly looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Toronto in 2022.”
Related: 10 gay escapes to explore in Canada now that it’s reopened its borders
Blockobana and Global Black Pride unite
Blackness Yes! Has a 21-year history of creating community events for gay, queer and trans Black communities. The organization behind Pride Toronto’s much-loved Blockobana events for the past 11 years, its team say they look forward to playing a major role in ensuring the 2022 Global Black Pride programming honors the historical context of Toronto’s Black community.
Although the 2022 event will have physical events in Toronto, Global Black Pride says it’s committed to remaining accessible across the world. In other words, expect plenty of online activities and streaming to also take place.
“As we build this global movement, we are also committed to an inclusive and wide-reaching movement that brings all Black LGBQTI+ experiences and equity to the forefront unapologetically,” said Gerald Garth, GBP Head of Events and Communications.
Global Black Pride takes place separately from Pride Toronto, which runs June 2022 and culminates with marches on June 24-26.
In 2016, Black Lives Matter activists brought the main Pride Toronto march to a halt when they blocked the route. They refused to walk on unless Pride Toronto organizers pledged to do more to support Black queer youth. Pride Toronto promised to do so. It subsequently banned police floats and participation in the parade in 2017 (one of the BLM demands), a ban that remains in place.
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Five things other things to do in Toronto
• Visit Church & Wellesley
Church & Wellesley is Toronto’s gay neighborhood. It’s difficult to miss. The street signs have rainbows on them and there are also rainbow sidewalks. This is where you’ll find many of the gay bars, clubs and bathhouses, such as Woody’s and Black Eagle.
• Enjoy some drag at Crews and Tango’s
Crews and Tango is a Toronto institution. The bar and restaurant is famed for its drag shows, which take place on Wednesdays to Sundays. Book a ticket in advance to secure entry.
• Buy something at Glad Day Bookshop
Glad Day in Toronto, Canada, is believed to be the oldest gay bookstore in the world. Its history dates back to 1970 when activist Jearld Moldenhauer became a mobile library and began hauling LGBTQ books around in a backpack to community meetings. It now occupies premises at 499 Church Street, in the gay village, and offers a cafe and numerous events, besides the books and magazines.
Related: Why Glad Day is North America’s oldest surviving–and thriving–gay bookstore
• Toronto Island
Perhaps not for winter, but if you plan to attend during Pride season, Toronto Island is a fun day out. Footbridges connect small chain of islands, located within Lake Ontario. You reach them via a short ferry ride. The car-free islands provide the perfect summer escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Hanlan’s Point is a clothing-optional beach popular with gay people.
• Ascend the CN Tower
Well, it is Toronto’s most famous landmark. The iconic structure, completed in 1976, soars to a height of 553 meters. This makes it the tallest man-made structure in North America (it misses out on ‘skyscraper’ status as it’s not an habitable building). Purchase tickets online in advance to visit the observation deck. Aim for weekday mornings if you want to avoid too much queuing.