WorldPride 2014, the fourth WorldPride and the first such celebration to be held in North America, will be coming to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for ten days from June 20 to June 29. Organized with the help of Interpride, WorldPride first started in 2000 in Rome and has since been held in Jerusalem (2006) and London (2012). This year it comes to Toronto, where city officials estimate that five million tourists from all over the world will converge on the city for ten days of gay celebrations.
WorldPride Toronto organizers believe the event will “turn streets into parades, parks into parties and strangers into friends.” The mission of WorldPride Toronto is to celebrate gay pride and incorporate activism, education, and the history and culture of global LGBT (and related) communities. WorldPride Toronto will also highlight Canada’s progress in the LGBT rights and human rights arenas, as well as the diversity of Toronto, Canada’s largest city and only “alpha world city” as judged by the Global Economic Power Index.
Many internationally-known entertainment acts will be performing at various times throughout WorldPride Toronto. Here’s a rundown of the biggest acts:
Singer-songwriter and political activist Melissa Etheridge will be performing on the first day of ceremonies, Friday, June 20, in Nathan Phillips Square. She will be performing her peace anthem “Uprising of Love,” among other fan favorite songs. Etheridge wrote “Uprising of Love” after learning of the Russian government’s discrimination and mistreatment of its LGBT population.
Canadian recording act Carly Rae Jepsen, who became famous for her international hit “Call Me Maybe,” will be performing at the “Pop Goes Pride” show at the TD Wellesley Stage during WorldPride’s Street Fair on Friday, June 27. A native of British Columbia, Carly Rae Jepsen first became famous in her home country for her participation in the reality show Canadian Idol.
Indie rock duo Tegan and Sara, natives of Calgary, Alberta, will be performing to Canadian and international crowds on the final day of WorldPride, Sunday, June 29, in Yonge-Dundas Square. “The Canadian singer/song-writer duo have become a force on the world stage…Tegan and Sara are the perfect artists to spread WorldPride’s message of love, hope and tenacity with their infectious sound,” TK, Arts and Culture Manager of Pride Toronto, said.
Other well-known performers who will appear throughout the week are Canadian R&B singer Deborah Cox, former “Weather Girl” Martha Wash, and DJs David Morales and Quentin Harris. For exact performance dates and times, check back to worldpridetoronto.com closer to the event.
No Pride is complete without a parade, and WorldPride doesn’t disappoint with an extended route and more time for floats! This year, WorldPride Toronto helps Toronto Pride celebrate 34 years of celebrations by extending the parade route and adding an hour to the festivities. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, on the corner of Bloor Street East and Church Street. The parade then turns from Bloor Street to Yonge Street and continues all the way to the corner of Dundas Street.
The international grand marshal for WorldPride Toronto is Marcela Romero, an Argentine activist who is the regional coordinator for the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People. Romero has been lauded for helping to advance gender identity laws in Bolivia, El Salvador, Brazil and Guatemala.
If you’re interested in taking a vacation to Toronto for WorldPride, here’s what you need to know. You now need a passport if you are flying from Florida to Canada. If you are a citizen of another country, check beforehand if you need a visa before you can enter Canada. You can do so by going to cic.gc.ca. Air Canada is the official airline for WorldPride Toronto and everyone can receive a 10% discount on airfare if the destination is booked as Toronto and the discount code K8Y4ADR1 is used. Book your ticket online at aircanada.com. Hilton Hotels are providing a special “Go Out” package to attendees of WorldPride Toronto and other Pride celebrations throughout Canada and worldwide. Go to worldpridetoronto.com/travel/hotel to book your room and get all of the amenities offered to you!
Millions of people will be feeling proud and overjoyed in Toronto this June at WorldPride. Will you be one of them? Let the organizers know by liking them on facebook at facebook.com/pridetoronto.