In Toronto, Pride is a month-long affair and a year-round mindset. Here’s how to celebrate the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ experience whenever you visit. 

With over a million locals and visitors participating in Pride Toronto’s (June 1–30, 2024) annual Pride Parade, Dyke March, Trans March and other Festival Weekend events (June 28–30, 2024), Toronto throws the biggest Pride party in Canada.

But the celebration doesn’t start or end in June. The city’s vibrant 2SLGBTQ+ community is busy year-round, with events and activities that embrace arts and culture, sports and recreation, creativity and community no matter what season you visit. Here are some ideas for the to-do list.

Visit The Village

Queer or not, you can’t visit Toronto and not pop into Church-Wellesley Village (aka the Gay Village), anchored at Church Street and Wellesley Street East.

This gaybourhood is jumping and thumping with great casual restaurants like Hair of the Dog and iconic watering holes like Woody’s and Sailor, drag haven Crews & Tangos, the leather-forward Black Eagle, and the gentlemen’s members club Flash on Church.

Outside the Village, Queen Street West—from Trinity Bellwoods Park west to Roncesvalles Avenue—is also known as Queer West.

Among a ton of 2SLGBTQ+ positive restaurants and bars-in-the-wall along Queen, Ossington Street and Dundas Street West, Sweaty Betty’s is the area’s go-to dive bar for DJs and drag shows.

Mama’s Liquor and Lounge, which often stages burlesque and drag shows and hosts Gaydaze twice a month, is also in the area. On College Street, the legendary El Convento Rico remains Toronto’s longest-running Latin drag bar, open since 1992.

Hit the film festival circuit

The annual Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival (May 24–June 1, 2024) is a chance for audiences to see films created by and about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people of all ages, races and abilities.

A series of screenings are also scheduled throughout the year, with a satellite festival in Ottawa. In September, movie fans line up in droves for the Toronto International Film Festival (September 5–15, 2024) which typically includes an abundance of queer-centric films in its lineup each year.

Enjoy some live theatre

Having premiered almost 1,000 new works for the stage for more than one million people with its year-round program, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is the biggest and longest-running 2SLGBTQ+ theatre company in the world.

Founded in 1978, it champions queer theatrical expression and holds absolutely nothing back. February’s annual Rhubarb Festival is an audience favourite, a melting pot of new works for theatre, dance, music and performance art.

Conveniently and happily, the theatre is attached to Tallulah’s, a cabaret bar that sets its own stage for events and shows, including cocktail hours, open-mic nights and karaoke.

Get sporty

Muddy York RFC is Toronto’s gay rugby league, with exhibition matches during the summer, including The Beaver Bowl tournament over Labour Day weekend.

Toronto’s MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays, kick off Pride Month 2024 with their Pride Weekend matchup against the Cleveland Guardians Twins (June 14, 2024), with a rainbow hat giveaway for the first 15,000 fans at the Rogers Centre.

And if your stay in Toronto includes an extended winter visit, consider bonspieling with Riverdale & Rotators, the largest 2SLGBTQ+ curling leagues in the world.

Catch a drag show

The hair is big, the heels are high, the music is loud, and the makeup is… well, also loud. New York’s celebrity drag queens have nothing on Toronto’s talented group of gorgeous and funny drag performers.

Savour the high drama and low blows of the seasoned pros and the stars of tomorrow at various clubs and bars across town almost every night of the week. 

Check out the listings at bars such as Woody’s and SailorCrews & Tangos and El Convento Rico. Drag brunches at Lula Lounge and Glad Day bookshop hit the G-spot.

Also see: The Most Iconic Drag Brunches in Toronto

Go to church

We’re not talking Church Street, but actual, honest-to-God church.

All Inclusive Ministries is a Catholic community for 2SLGBTQ+ people that provides equal access to worship and resources. The St. Andrew’s Church Gay Association began in the 1970s and continues today with its support of the community.

The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto is an increasingly vibrant and inclusive centre for 2SLGBTQ+ people with a large and active congregation. And Toronto’s Queer Muslim Network shares a variety of programs and resources for queer and trans-Muslims.

The city’s commitment to the freedom of religious expression and the acceptance of difference is both moving and inspirational. When Toronto says, “All are welcome,” we mean it.