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Toronto Pride In High Gear

(June 23, Toronto) All it took was the blowing of a whistle, and Church Street in Toronto's Gay Village came to a halt.  The cop at the other end of the whistle was signaling the street was being closed off and the last car of the Friday night rush hour sped off.

On location
Barricades went up and the three day party began.  By sundown Friday a three storey stage and rigging had been erected at the lower end of Church, by Maple Leaf Gardens, the spot where the first gay settler homesteaded in Toronto 150 years ago.  Further up the street vendors began setting up.

As the clock ticked past 10 the street was packed with thousands of gays and lesbians greeting old friends, meeting new ones.  By 11 the crowd has swelled to more than 15 thousand.  Lineups to get into the popular clubs crisscrossed one another.  No one seemed to mind the wait.  There was plenty of entertainment.  A second stage set up in a parting lot half way up Church Street featured a variety of artists.

As the night wore on, the crowd moved downtown to Industry, the giant club in the Entertainment District for Unified Military.  Three-thousand people watched Colt Man of the Year Billy Herrington strut his stuff at the leather and uniform party.

Like thousands of Holly Golightlys the party goers staggered home in time to see the garbage trucks roll by.

Saturday starts off early, if you have been out dancing all night.  The fifth annual Pride and Remembrance Run for AIDS begins at 10 and at 3 several thousand lesbians hold the annual Dyke March.  This event has grown from only a few dozen women several years ago to thousands today.  More gala parties are scheduled for Saturday night.

On Sunday, the giant Gay and Lesbian Parade gets underway at 3.  Some 750,000 people are expected to line the streets.

Hotels throughout Toronto are filled this weekend and at one point Friday night border crossings into Canada at Niagara Falls and Fort Erie reported a two hour wait.

Pride Events Listings can be found in's Gay Toronto Section