The Pride Parade is officially cancelled this year – but Pride Month will still happen.
Mayor John Tory made the announcement today during his daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
Tory confirmed that Toronto is cancelling all city-run events and city-permitted events by outside organizers through June 30 on the advice of medical officer of health Eileen de Villa.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Toronto is cancelling all city-led major events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs,” he said, “and is also cancelling all city permits for major events organized by external groups at civic centres, squares, parks, public spaces – including road closures, city-operated museums and cultural centres. All of those permits will be cancelled through June 30.”
“It is doubtful the health environment will where it needs to be on the originally scheduled spring dates if these events are to happen in a healthy, safe and stress-free way,” Tory added.
Tory said he spoke with representatives of Pride Toronto today. “I thank them for their understanding of the decision and expressed my enthusiasm for Pride Month, which will proceed in June. So stay tuned.”
Other events impacted include Doors Open Toronto and Indigenous Arts Festival. Organizers for June events NXNE and Luminato recently announced cancellations or postponements.
Pride Toronto tweeted that the organization will respect the city’s decision and cancel its Festival Weekend on June 26-28, which includes the Pride Parade, the Dyke March and the Trans March.
Reached for comment, reps for Pride said sponsors are continuing to stand by Pride and programming will continue on an annual basis. The organization is also exploring ways to hold Pride celebrations in ways that respect safety and physical distancing guidelines.
“The Pride Toronto team is working hard to take this challenge and turn it into an opportunity for creative collaboration and innovative programming,” Pride Toronto’s director of sponsorship and strategy Amber Moyle said in an emailed statement. “We are grateful to those sponsors and granting partners who have confirmed their dedication in standing behind us during this difficult time, without which we would not be able to continue with alternative planning. We are inspired by the conversations we have had with our major cultural partners and we look forward to finding new ways of supporting the 250+ LGBT2Q+ artists we program annually. We will be sharing more information with our community soon.”
“We know this decision will come as an immense disappointment to many, but our community is creative and resilient,” Pride director of operations Bobby MacPherson added. “We will continue to find ways to celebrate and be proud.”
The city said in a statement that the end date for the cancellation period will be reviewed every two weeks following today’s announcement. It may also be extended beyond June 30 depending on the medical officer of health’s advice and the status of provincial restrictions on mass gatherings.