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Celebrate summer's arrival with Pride fun, music festivals

Last Updated Jun 23, 2017 at 11:01 am EDT

A participant walks the route during Toronto's Pride Parade on June 28, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

If you had to pick one weekend to do it all, then this is it. There is so much going on, you will need a to-do list to get you started.

The weekend kicks off with U2: The Joshua Tree Tour concert at the Rogers Centre on Friday. It is going to be epic.

If you couldn’t get tickets to the U2 show, don’t be too sad. This weekend is going to be a happy one, with Pride events, music festivals, films in the park, a barbecue party, and the excitement surrounding the capybara pup naming.

If you live in the east end and planning to head downtown, Line 3 (Scarborough RT) will be shut down this weekend for TTC work.


Pride Parade
Costumes, choreography and colour will be taking over city streets this weekend for the 37th annual Pride Parade. The event is the culmination of Pride Month in the city. The parade begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Bloor and Church streets. It will travel south on Yonge Street to Yonge-Dundas Square. With over 150 groups marching, the Toronto Pride Parade has become one of the largest in North America. It will feature performances, floats, marchers, and of course, glitter. Drag performer Miss Conception will be Pride Toronto’s first-ever parade emcee.

People take part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on July 3, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Willms
People take part in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto on July 3, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Willms


This year’s event has not been without some controversy. In January, Pride Toronto voted to remove uniformed officers and police floats from future parades. This followed a request made by Black Lives Matter Toronto, which halted the 2016 parade until Pride executives agreed to a list of demands. Non-uniformed officers are still welcome to march with community groups, the city or their own group.

Trans and Dyke marches
Ahead of the Pride Parade on Sunday, there are two other marches taking place this weekend. The Trans March starts with a rally at Church and Hayden streets at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by the march at 7 p.m. It then makes its way along Bloor, heads south on Yonge Street and east on Carlton Street to Allan Gardens.

The Dyke March is on Saturday and kicks off with a rally at Church and Hayden at 1 p.m. The march is at 2 p.m. A post-march rally will be held in Allan Gardens.

Click here for a list of Pride events taking place this weekend.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival
The sounds of jazz and soul, as well as rock music, will take over the city starting Friday. The festival, which has a new location this year, runs until July 2. The festival has moved to Yorkville and the Concert Hall, formerly the Masonic Temple. Canadian rock Randy Bachman kicks off the event on Friday at the Concert Hall, a historic venue that is being revived as a music hall. The queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, performs at the Sony Centre on Canada Day. Aaron Neville headlines the Yorkville Avenue stage with a free show on Saturday. Click here to see a list of the shows this year, searchable by date, artist and venue.

Aretha Franklin performs at the Austin City Limits Live Moody Theater in Austin, Tex. KEYSTONE PRESS/wenn.com


Irie Music Festival
Get a head start on Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations at the 15th annual TD Irie Music Festival. The event kicks off Friday night at Mississauga Celebration Square. The two-day festival celebrates African-Canadian culture with music, dance, spoken work, art, food and drink from the Caribbean. International and Canadian musicians will take the stage, representing genres including reggae, soca, soul and R&B. The celebration continues next month, with the Irie Boat Cruise set for July 23.

Capybara Pup Announcement Party
The time has come – the capybara pups will be officially named this weekend. The chosen names will be announced on Saturday at noon with a celebration at the Capybara’s Pen at High Park Zoo. The parents, Bonnie and Clyde, escaped from their pen at the zoo in May of last year and spent weeks on the lam before being found. Their three pups were born in February and the public was offered the chance to submit potential names and vote on a shortlist of 10 trios. Voting closed on Monday.

Toronto's famous capybara couple, nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde, are now parents to three capybara babies. TORONTO PARKS AND TREES FOUNDATION
Toronto’s famous capybara couple, nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde, are now parents to three capybara babies. TORONTO PARKS AND TREES FOUNDATION


Junction Summer Solstice Festival
The celebration marking the arrival of summer continues on Saturday with the solstice festival, taking place from noon to midnight. It features walking tours, live music, food and other vendors, farmers’ and artisan markets, aerial acrobats, kids activities, and more. The street parts runs along Dundas Street West from Quebec Street to Indian Grove.

Christie Pits Film Festival
If you like movies and spending time outdoors, then combining the two activities makes perfect sense. Starting Sunday and until August 20, enjoy a movie each week at Christie Pits. This year’s theme is “competition and the beating of odds.” The opening night movie is Harold Lloyd’s silent comedy “The Freshman,” with an original score performed live by Toronto musicians The Holy Gasp. Some of the other movies include “The Maltese Falcon,” “Bee Nation,” “Strictly Ballroom,” and “Best in Show.” The screenings start at sundown. Organizers suggest a $10 donation but admission is pay what you can.

Brew & BBQ at Canada’s Wonderland
Canada’s Wonderland is hosting its second annual Brew & BBQ this weekend. The festival features over 70 craft beers and ciders from the province’s best small batch craft breweries and cideries. Guests can sample beverages and enjoy gourmet cuisine from noon to 10 p.m. in the ‘action zone.’ There will also be live music and entertainment both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is included with entrance to the park. Tokens must be purchased in exchange for beer, cider and food.

TTC and road closures

Line 3 shutdown
Another weekend, another subway closure. This Saturday and Sunday Line 3 (Scarborough RT) will be completely shut down from McCowan to Kennedy stations. The closure is for life extension, track and infrastructure work. Shuttle buses will operate between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy stations during the closure. Regular service is set to resume at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Road closures
TD Toronto Jazz Festival: Yorkville Avenue, from Bellair Street to 101 Yorkville Ave., and Bellair, from Yorkville to Cumberland Street, will be closed from 11:59 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m. on Monday. Hazelton Avenue, from Scollard Street to Yorkville, will be closed from 6 a.m. on Monday until 6 a.m. on July 3.

Church Street Pride Festival: Church Street from Carlton to Hayden streets will be closed from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. on Monday.

Trans Pride March: Rolling road closures will be in effect along the march route from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday. The affected streets are: Church Street, from Isabella to Bloor streets; Bloor Street East from Church to Yonge streets; Yonge Street from Bloor to Carlton streets, and Carlton Street, from Yonge to Sherbourne streets.

Pride Streetfair: Church Street, from the north side of Carlton Street to the south side of Hayden Street; and Wellesley Street East, from Yonge Street to Jarvis Street, will be closed from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. on Monday. TTC buses won’t be able to access Wellesley subway station.

Pride and Remembrance Run: Wellesley Street East from Yonge to Jarvis streets will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Wellesley from Yonge to Queen’s Park Crescent East, and Queen’s Park Crescent (east and west) from Bloor to College streets, will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon.

Dyke March: Road closures will be in effect in the area bounded by Church Street, Hayden Street, Bloor Street, Yonge Street and Carlton Street noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Pride Parade: Road closures will bounded by Church Street, Bloor Street, Yonge Street, Dundas Street and Victoria Street from 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday.