Toronto Pride 2006

First published 26 June 2006.

100_2305So how does a card-carrying member of the oppressive conservative hetero patriarchy end up at a big Pride Day bash?  It’s a long story.  Early last week, Wanda mentioned going to the beer gardens with a work colleague and his partner.  Said colleague also mentioned that the parade was a giant waste of time and that the happening joints were actually the beer gardens / concert stages spread out along Church Street.  Sun, beer and music always sounds like a good combination to me, so I said sure, let’s go.  The colleague later backed out because he was an assignment or two behind on his MBA studies, but we guilted him into going on the grounds that his assignment was already past due (what’s one more day?) — plus he’d sold us on the beer garden plan and could not in good conscience leave a giant void in the afternoon’s social agenda.  Party vs. homework should never be a hard sell, right?

Some quick observations regarding the the Pride Day festivities:

  • There’s a lot of techno music involved.  If you can deal with the sound levels inside the average Richmond Street nightclub then you’ll have no problem at any of the venues — they are a few decibels quieter and you can actually manage conversation.  Bylaw enforcement officers with the little sound meters do patrol these things.
  • One of the stages (TD Canada Trust North Stage, I believe) featured a lot of female performers singing godawful folk songs.  To me folks songs equal the blasted talentless pseudo-topical hippie anthems of yesteryear.  I would rather perform home dentistry than listen to folk music, so I didn’t stick around there very long.  Disposable techno always beats lugubrious folk.
  • I’m not sure why but they make you buy drink tickets first and then take the tickets to the various booths to get your light beer, imported beer, or vodka cocktail.  The drink-ticket booth and the drink-dispensing booths are only a couple of feet apart.  I’m not sure how this contributes to safety / speed / efficiency et cetera, but there’s got to be a good reason for it.
  • No hard liqour beyond vodka, at least in the concert / beer garden areas.  Organisers, please try to line up a scotch distillery as sponsor next year.  Vodka’s okay, but it’s a twenty-year-old’s drink.
  • I know it’s too much to ask for any metal in the DJ rotation so forget it.
  • I did not see any full frontal nudity in the beer gardens but the street was another story.  I know they’re trying to make it a little more family friendly but random nekkid people on the street make that a tough proposition.  The concert stages / beer gardens featured no full frontal nudity as far as I could tell.
  • Get there before 3pm or you will never ever get a nice shady table with seats.  You can see the remnants of the parade on giant portable TV screens so again, skip the parade part.  The lineups to get into the concert venues will be several blocks long and completely stationary by 5pm so do not delay.
  • Royal Bank must have had some kind of major sponsorship deal.  There were loads of people — presumably bank employees — wearing special royal blue RBC Pride Day shirts with the company logo.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s being upstaged by the lackeys of other soulless conglomerates.  It’s time to demand that the Firm get in the game and crank out its own Pride Day shirts next year.  They gave us special corp-logoed shirts for the Ride for Heart, so why not this?  How are we going to have a West Side Story rumble with other corporate gangs if we’re not wearing our colours?
  • It is reasonably entertaining even for the hetero crowd, just not quite family-friendly.
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