As Julio packs his half of the luggage upstairs before we leave for Toronto this weekend for Pride celebrations in partnership with Destination Toronto, I am sitting at our dinning room table looking at my nails and some videos we’ve been teasing of our drag alter egos Anna & Esmeralda here and here. TBH I’m smiling because it feels like I am coming to understand a certain part of myself as a gay man that I never knew properly. I guess the timing couldn’t be any better since this weekend is a jam packed weekend of events, professional drag performances, the Pride Toronto parade and so much more. If you’re still on the fence on how you should celebrate or can support, here’s your answer!
While those of you who follow us on social media will see how busy our schedule is in real time, I thought it would make sense to make a quick and easy checklist of five ways anyone can enjoy, support and amplify what Pride stands for and the community celebrating this month and this weekend.
- Go to a Drag Show and behave yourself
There are going to be more drag shows than you can attend this upcoming weekend, so go to at least of one them. We’re headed to a few drag events including We Belong Together – A Big Gay Party at Gladstone House and EC Pride Edition: Divas and Drag Queens presented by Festivals of Vaughan. If you have never been to a drag show here are a few tips.
- Do bring small bills ($5, $10 and $20) and lots of them to tip The Queens as they perform
- Do NOT touch the performers without consent
- Do buy lots of drinks for you and your friends, but always responsibly
2. Don’t just limit yourself to just Church Street
Don’t get me wrong, I hope to see each and every one of you on Church Street having the most fabulous time. But let’s not forget about incredible things to do like the I AM HERE: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces at the AGO. I sometimes consider myself and my fellow 2SLGBTQIA+ members mythical beasts so the Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature exhibit at The ROM is a must see! I cannot wait to swim in a see of queer energy and exploration and I encourage you all to do the same.
3. Dine out as much as you can and share on social media. A LOT.
After years of watching friends and institutions close their doors over and over, some unfortunately forever, the food scene in Toronto is slowly coming back to life and they need our support. Some of my best memories during Pride and in Toronto are shared over a cocktail and / or meal with friends and people I love. Get out and enjoy some of our favourites including Chotto Matte (their Jungle Brunch is literally wild on Saturdays), Selva, J’s Steak Frites (a personal favourite), Something in the Water, JONI at the Park Hyatt, Soluna, and many more.
But don’t stop there. Take the video for Tik Tok, share on Insta and check in on your favourite platform. The business you are supporting will be more grateful than you could possibly know. HEY, if you’re so inclined, even write a google review! It’s a fabulous time to share all the beautiful potential in you to make the world more beautiful.
4. Spoil yourself at a fancy hotel
I don’t care if you live in Toronto or are visiting for the weekend, you deserve to pamper yourself not only in the palpable energy the city has during Pride but in a gorgeous hotel room. It’s been a long few years and there is nothing like ordering room service, wrapping yourself in a hotel robe, and knowing that for one night you could spoil yourself as a form of self-care. And if there is any community out there that preaches self-care, it’s the 2SLGBTQIA+ community! I couldn’t be more excited to check in to Le Germain Hotel Toronto Maple Leaf Square – one of the most fabulous properties in the heart of downtown Toronto.
5. Dance somewhere you’ve never danced before
This one I am going to repeat to everyone I see over the weekend. Today and this Pride I am going to celebrate what it means to live in a country where I can proudly walk in the parade with my husband (make sure to say hi when you see us!) Go to the Pride Parade on Sunday and dance amid a sea of people you don’t know. Stackt does have some cool Pride Installations. Go to a gay bar you’ve never been to and dance all night long. Attend every single event, indoor and outdoor, and smile while you move your body in pure joy. Joy is something that is quite contagious and those around you will join in what is meant to be a celebration and safe space.
So that’s my to do list for those of you still on the fence when it comes to Pride Month and Pride Toronto – and for those of you needing a sign to dive head first into the self-care and celebrations….
This is it beautiful. THIS is your sign.
I truly hope to see you this weekend living your best life.
For more inspiration for your upcoming travel plans, make sure to follow @destination_toronto & @pridetoronto and tag #SeeTorontoNow and #PrideToronto – and of course come along with Julio & I if you aren’t following us yet at @dothedaniel & @fashionights on all platforms!
This post is not intended to be seen by persons under the legal alcohol drinking age or in countries with restrictions on advertising on alcoholic beverages. Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.
Photos: Daniel Reyes Cocka and aforementioned participating brands
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
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