Toronto Pride 2012: Out, Loud, and Proud
Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel: Imagine stepping out of your hotel into the thick of the Toronto Pride Parade. That’s what happens when you’re a guest at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, located at the intersection of Church and Bloor Streets, exactly where the Parade kicks off. On Pride Sunday, the crowds are five-deep behind the barricades - and you step out of the Marriott Bloor Yorkville into the delirious mayhem of it all.
Apart from the Parade, the Marriott Bloor Yorkville is also perfectly located for shopping along "Mink Mile" (aka Bloor Street). All the usual suspects - including Cartier, Vuitton, and Hermes - are a quick walk from your hotel room. Refresh yourself with a glass of Champagne at La Société - and if you’ve maxed out your credit cards, there’s a well-stocked grocery store next door to the Marriott.
In other words, the Marriott Bloor Yorkville is all about location. Rooms are cozy and clean, with beds that are deliciously comfortable. Pillows are either feather, down, or foam - or all three - and the breakfast buffet includes a nice assortment of fresh fruit and local produce. The hotel’s limo service offers a reasonable fare to Pearson Airport.
Situated at the crossroads between the Gay Village and Bloor Yorkville, the Marriott Bloor Yorkville enables you to satisfy multiple fetishes and cravings - within easy walking distance.
LINK: Marriott Bloor Yorkville
WHAT TO DO:
Rainbow High Walking Tour: Ever since the 1981 bathhouse raids, which served as a wake-up call for Toronto’s LGBT population, Church Wellesley has been an ever-evolving neighborhood, increasingly filled with bars, shops, boutiques, theatres, and restaurants.
One of the best ways to discover the roots behind this vibrant community is to take a tour with Liz Devine. A long-term resident of Church Wellesley, Devine’s love for her neighborhood is matched by her commitment to LGBT equality.
To walk Church Wellesley with someone so well known is to witness firsthand the intense connection that Torontonians have to their city and their gay village - and to hear Devine speak about the neighborhood’s evolution is a lesson in gay history.
We didn’t just arrive here, kids: there were pioneers who fought for us.
LINK: Rainbow High Walking Tour
Art + Design Walking Tour: She’s nothing less than the Mayor of West Queen Street West - and every bit as fascinating as the neighborhood of art and design through which she’ll lead you on a walking tour. She’s Betty Ann Jordan, a Toronto art writer, educator, and columnist who specializes in the Toronto gallery and museum scene.
Tours depart from the lobby of the Gladstone Hotel, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Toronto, now one of the city’s more innovative art hotels.
Nearly every block in this Art+ Design District contains under-the-radar boutiques, resto-lounges, bakeries, cafes, and tearooms - and an afternoon spent walking through West Queen Street West is a scavenger hunt of Toronto treasures.
LINK: Art + Design Walking Tour
Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives: Currently the second-largest LGBT archive in the world, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives was founded in 1973 with a mission dedicated to "keeping our stories alive."
A recent move into an extensively renovated 1858 house on Isabella Street has enabled the CLGA to expand its outreach and programming. Collections at the CLGA include the National Portrait Collection of notable LGBT Canadians, as well as posters; photographs; artifacts such as t-shirts, banners, and buttons; periodicals; and recordings.
An afternoon spent at the CLGA will remind you that you are not alone - and never have been.
Learn your history - and honor those who came before us.
LINK: Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
EdgeWalk @ CN Tower: While you might have been one of the more than two million annual visitors who take the 15 mph elevator to the top of the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere, you can’t say you’ve touched the sky until you’ve walked the EdgeWalk.
Opened on May 1, 2012, EdgeWalk is the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk on a five-foot ledge encircling the Tower’s main pod. Awarded "Highest External Walk on a Building" by Guinness World Records, EdgeWalk isn’t for the faint of heart - and requires a breathalyzer before stepping into the clouds.
Stash your vertigo with your jewelry and fly like Spider-Man.
LINK: EdgeWalk @ CN Tower
(Travel feature continues on next pages: Where to Eat, Getting There...)