Events / PRIDE

How to Survive the Toronto Pride Parade

29 June 2016 / by Daryl Wallbank (author)
Olivia Chow, Pride 2014 (photo: CC BY 2.0 - Olivia Chow)
Olivia Chow, Pride 2014 / (photo: CC BY 2.0 - Olivia Chow)

Pride thumbs up

Pride thumbs up

Yep, it is that time of year again. Pride is in the air, and this Sunday, July 3, people from the LGBTQ community and their allies will gather together for the culmination of a month long celebration of all things queer: the Pride Parade.

Each year, spectators numbering near the million show up to watch the floats, community groups and drag queens. And with a little planning, you can have a totally awesome time cheering them on.

The trick to make for a perfect day is to go prepared!

Arrive early: the show starts at 2pm, but don't expect to get a great view if you show up last minute. People begin claiming their spots early -- sometimes several hours early. With a good book or a couple great friends, the time will fly by.

Grab a seat: standing for hours is not everyone's idea of a good time. Show up early with your lawn chair and you can grab a prime spot and enjoy the show in total comfort. Just remember you'll have to carry it around with you after the parade.

Choose sides: most of the parade takes place on Yonge Street. Those who have chosen to stand or sit on the west side of the street, preferably near a tall building, will get a little respite from the hot sun with some late afternoon shade.

Slop it on: your mama has drilled it into your head: wear your sunscreen! Don't go home early from a burn or sun stroke.

Top it off: another way to keep the sun from ruining your day is to wear a hat and sunglasses. All the cool kids are doing it.

Leave your umbrellas at home: be prepared to get wet if it rains (and from squirt guns during the parade). Umbrellas make it difficult for people behind you to see, and will result in angry glares from the people being poked in the eye beside you.

 

Toronto Pride Parade 2016 route

Toronto Pride Parade 2016 route

Drink and be merry: water is your best friend. Stay hydrated. Know where the closest restrooms are. Don't be tempted to sneak in some alcohol; drink too much too fast on a hot day and you're just going to make yourself sick. And no one, not even your girlfriend, wants to hold your hair back in the alley while the parade is going on. You can always grab a pint later while relaxing on a patio.

Give a hoot, don't pollute: bring along an extra bag for your garbage. It's just the right thing to do.

Power on: make sure your phone or camera are fully charged. The parade can last several hours, meaning there'll be lots of cool pics to be taken. It's also super easy to lose friends in the crowd, so your phone will keep the gang together.

Share the love: show your support by coming out to Trans March on Friday, July 1 and the Dyke March on Saturday, July 2. 

Accessibility concerns: the Trans and Dyke Marches as well as the Pride Parade will include raised accessible viewing stands along the parade and march routes. [Note: It is recommended that people arrive early for performances and/or to watch the Trans* March, Dyke March and/or Parade, as seating and access is limited.]

Have fun: enjoy yourself. Be you! Be proud! 

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Daryl Wallbank

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