This month, there are plenty of ways for kids to get in on Pride celebrations. Here are eight of our favourite family events
By Russ Martin
June will be the most colourful month of the year in the GTA thanks to Pride’s month-long festivities. While there’s plenty of adult revelry on the books, the festival also has a wealth of kid-friendly activities for families, whether you’ve got a family member who identifies as LGBTQ+ or you’re allies looking for some inclusive fun.
Here are eight other awesome family-friendly events to check out this month.
1 Short LGBTQ+ Films for Youth (FREE!)
Last month’s Inside Out Film Festival was the unofficial kickoff to Pride Month in Toronto, but the fest continues its programming well into June with its free short film screening series. Aimed at teens aged 13 to 19, the series will run at various Toronto Public Library branches all month long, snacks included!
Good to Know: The series is aimed at LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. The only requirements for your teen to attend is a positive attitude and an open mind.
Every year, The 519, a United Way-supported agency and community centre in the heart of Toronto’s downtown LGBTQ+ Village celebrates families of all types during its Family Pride extravaganza. Aimed at children six and under, the event provides a vital space for diverse families to meet in a supportive environment. Expect snacks, music, games and even a mini parade around the park behind The 519.
Good to Know: There’s a splash pad out back, so pack swimsuits and sunscreen!
When: June 9, 10:00 a.m. Where: The 519, 519 Church St., Toronto Cost: Free
Sun’s out, fun’s out! The most colourful day of the year at Brampton’s Wet ‘N’ Wild will undoubtedly be June 16. The water park is hosting a family-friendly party for PFLAG Canada, hosted by Big Brother Canada’s Gary Glitter. For $50, you get admission to the park and all you can eat BBQ.
Good to Know: Children under two are free. When: June 16 at 10:30 a.m. Where: Wet ‘N’ Wild Toronto, 7855 Finch Ave. W., Brampton, Ont. Cost: $50
Recently, drag queens across the GTA have stepped out of the bars and into the city’s libraries. Drag queen story time events—where queens read to kids—have become a full-on sensation thanks in large to Fay and Fluffy, two Toronto queens who popularized the concept. On June 16, the pair is hosting a House Party for families of all ages (including big kids!) at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, but there will also be free drop-in drag queen story time events at Toronto Public Library’s Fairview, Sanderson, S. Walter Stewart and Riverdale locations throughout Pride Month.
Good to Know: Kids are encouraged to dress up at most story time events, so pull your children’s favourite colours and costumes out of the closet. When: June 16 at 1:00 p.m. Where: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., Toronto Cost: $15 for adults, $5 for kids
Toronto’s Pride festivities may be the largest in the GTA, but they’re far from the only place to celebrate Ontario’s diverse LGBTQ+ community. York Pride has programming scheduled in the York Region throughout June, including its big parade down Main Street on June 16. This year the fabulous drag queen Sofonda will be performing as part of the festivities.
Good to Know: If you’ve got older kids, stick around Riverwalk Common for a fireworks display at 10:30 p.m. Where: Main Street South, Newmarket, Ont. (The parade takes place between Ontario and Water Streets) When: June 16 at 3:00 p.m. Cost: Free
Catalyst is the perfect way to introduce older kids to festival life—and awesome Indigenous music. Presented by Revolutions Per Minute, a “global Indigenous music platform, label, and artist collective,” the lineup includes homegrown talent like Anishinaabe electronic artist Ziibiwan, as well as queer Indigenous rapper Dio Ganhdih and feminist rapper and poet Chhoti Maa.
Good to Know: If you’re hitting up any of the large stages with kids in tow, make sure to pack reusable water bottles to keep the whole fam hydrated. When: June 22 at 7:00 p.m. Where: TD Village Stage, 77 Wellesley St. E. Cost: Free
While the Pride parade and street festivities provide plenty for children to marvel at, Family Pride is the main hub for kid-friendly activities during Toronto Pride’s biggest weekend. Face painting, performances, story time, crafts and sports make Family Pride just like daycare with an extra dose of glitter.
Good to Know: The Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws is a large, air-conditioned oasis for snacks and bevvies if this weekend turns out to be a scorcher. When: June 23 and 24 Where: Church Street Junior Public School, 83 Alexander St., Toronto Cost: Free
There’s no event louder or prouder than Toronto’s official Pride Parade. Expect everyone from activists to celebrities to float by as the massive mobile party moves down Yonge Street. Last year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even joined in on the fun! While you’re in the neighbourhood, make sure you hop one street east to take in the revelry of the Street Fair down Church, Wellesley, and Alexander streets.
Good to Know: We’re not kidding about how loud the parade is! Consider packing a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to protect your babe’s ears. Where: The parade starts at the corner of Bloor and Church streets and snakes down to Yonge and Dundas Square When: June 24 at 2:00 p.m. Cost: Free
Peel’s Pride celebrations kick off next month, but they’re well worth adding to your calendar. This year marks 15 years of Pride events in the region; in celebration, Peel Pride is partnering with the City of Brampton for a very special parade in the center of the old town of Brampton.
Where: The Four Corners of Brampton When: July 8 at 12:00 p.m. Cost: Free