Toronto Pride: The Queen City

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Another pride season is in full swing and the first stop on my itinerary was Canada’s most populous city, Toronto.  My boyfriend Sean and I arrived the evening of June 25th which seems to be accepted as the official start to the Pride weekend.  After settling in at the place we were crashing for the weekend, we decided to go out & about on Church Street to grab some dinner.  Stepping outside I could tell that the city was already in Pride spirit- the entire street was parked and it was a nightmare trying to find a place to eat and have a beer!  After dinner, Sean and I met up with the boys that we were staying with and we all went out to Straight (www.straightonchurch.com/)  to have some drinks and start the weekend off right.  Thursday night was also the first night of Toronto’s amazing Prism parties beginning with Madonnarama at Fly Nightclub. At first we were unsure if we were going to check out but it took less than a little convincing to realize that if we were going to party, we were going to party hard!  Obviously it turned into a shirts off dance party until the wee hours of the morning.  After the fourth remix of Jump we all turned it in to get some much needed rest before the weekend really got crazy.


Friday turned out to be a scorching hot day, most of the daytime was spent shopping and staying inside wherever there was air conditioning.  After attending T.O. pride 2 years ago, I knew how important it was to stay out of the sun as much as possible if you wanted to be able to make it through to the evening events.  I also knew how much fun I had at the Friday night Prism Bootcamp party (http://www.prismtoronto.com/event-bootcamp.html) .  This party is a little more raunchy than the others, it’s dark and fairly dirty… needless to say, military gear and leather is rampant!  I managed to pick up a camo tank top (which stayed on for all of about 5 minutes at the party) and that was the gist of my military theme.  The adult entertainer that night, Francois Sagat, was in much more appropriate attire, until he took all of his clothes off and obtained sexual favours from some of the audience memebers… (really!!!?).

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 All in all, Bootcamp was just as awesome as I remembered it being 2 years ago.  DJ Patrick Guay and DJ Abel kept the dancefloor packed until the sun came up and everyone had a great time. 

Saturday was another scorcher which was perfect for the Aquaparty at Sunnyside Pavillion (http://www.prismtoronto.com/event-aqua.html).  Of all of the weekend’s events, this one was the one I was looking second most forward to.  There’s something to be said for drinking copious amounts of alcohol while dancing outside in the hot summer sun, not to mention the fact that KELLY ROWLAND was performing live on stage!  The Aqua party was incredible, the performances were spectactular and DJs Brett Henrichson and Isaac Escalante KILLED it.  When Kelly Rowland performed her new hit “When Love Takes Over” she had the whole crown screaming at the top of their lungs.  After a few too many beers in the sun, we took off around 7pm in order to get a little rest in before the Saturday night party, Future Babylon.

Check out Kelly Rowland’s performance at Aqua:

 The Saturday night Prism party Future Babylon (http://www.prismtoronto.com/event-future.html) was held at Sound Academy, and a very good friend of mine, DJ Jeremy Khamkeo (http://www.myspace.com/djjeremykhamkeo) was the warm up DJ for the evening and his set was spectacular.  He definitely kicked the party into high gear!

This video (taken from my phone) shows how packed the dance floor was: 

Unfortunately, due to a lack of sleep from the night before, I wasn’t able to stay for much more of the party after Jeremy’s set so Sean and I took off back to the apartment.  I was upset that I missed Deborah and Sofonda Cox’s  performances but I heard from friends that they were incredible!

Check out Sofonda Cox’s wicked performance:

Deborah Cox ripped it up:

 After getting a full 10 hours of sleep, we woke up the Sunday morning to a rainy thunderstorm.  Even though conditions outside weren’t optimal for pride Sunday, the streets were packed with partiers!  Sean and I went out for lunch on Church Street and watched the craziness unfold.  Finally, at about 2:00pm the rain stopped and it began to clear up.  By 4:00pm it was completely sunny and hot so we left for the Green Space beer garden to check out DJ Jeremy Khamkeo’s set.  The Green Space was already packed when we finally got through the line up and DJ Jeremy had the party pumpin’.  We stayed for the sets of Isaac Escalante and DJ Ana Paula who both managed to keep up the high energy level (although I’m partial to DJ Ana Paula who came out from the booth and danced with the crowd even though it started pouring rain again!).   Around 9:00pm the group of us left back to the apartment to get ready for Revival, the party I’d been waiting for all weekend.

Just like it was 2 years ago, Revival (http://www.prismtoronto.com/event-revival.html) was definitely the party of the weekend for me.  The Guvernment is probably my favourite nightclub on the planet and there’s no question that the one talent I look up to the most as an aspiring DJ is no other than the one and only, Peter Rauhofer.   

DJ phenomenon Peter Rauhofer during his Revival set:

Even though it must have been close to 40 degrees Celsius inside the club, the main dance floor was so packed that you couldn’t even get onto it without squeezing in between hot, sweaty men!  Personally, even with my shirt off I could only take in small bouts of the steamy main room.  I spent a lot of time cooling off upstairs on the outdoor SkyBar where Deko-ze threw another kick-ass party that kept rockin’ until the sun rose! 

Back down in the main room, Tel Aviv sensation Maya performed her new hit, Illusion:

I managed to make it through till 7:00am Monday morning at which point I felt like my legs were going to give out from under me.  Even though the sun had already been up for a good 2 hours, the party was still packed when we left to head back to the apartment for some much needed rest.  Although we had planned to leave that same evening at 6:00pm, I still wanted to check out DJ Jeremy’s set during the Rise and Shine afterparty at the Barn club (by that point, who needs sleep right?).  When we got home we decided it was in our best interest to push back our flight to the next day.  I made it to the after party just after 8:00am but unfortunately, even though the music was amazing and the club was packed, my exhaustion got the best of me and it was back to the apartment after less than an hour.    

All in all, the weekend turned out to be a huge success both for the promoters and for the party goers.  My favourite parties (if I had to choose), were the Green Space beer garden, Aqua, and Revival, with Revival taking the top spot.  Even though throughout the weekend there had been an ongoing garbage strike accompanied by some pretty intense heat, neither seemed to darken the pride spirit; it was clear that everyone was there to have a great time and nothing was going to stand in the way of that.

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As a final note, I just want to send a big homorazzi.com shout out to Prism organizer, Gairy Brown and to DJ Jeremy Khamkeo for the parts they played in making my Toronto Pride trip such a fantastic event.  Thanks guys, you both killed it!

  • Mathieu Chantelois

    Great review! Bravo: it brings back tones of memories…

  • Thanks Mat! There was definitely some nostalgia for me as well while I was writing the article.