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How to Enjoy Toronto Pride With the Whole Family

Sunday’s big parade may be the highlight, but there are plenty of other kid-friendly activities going on

A group of happy young people standing against a parade barricade wave rainbow Pride flags

Bust out the glitter—it’s Toronto Pride! Celebrating LGBTQ+ communities and joining the important conversations surrounding them is not only fun, but also key to spreading the love. The Family Pride team leads, Sallyanne Hadzalic and Kevin Stephney, encourage LGBTTIQQ2S (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited) families and allies to unite for the festivities.

“Both Pride Month and the festival weekend bring people together and form new bonds, both of which are a benefit to the individual and the community as a whole,” Hadzalic and Stephney said over email. “Family Pride is a welcoming and inclusive space that is focused on LGBTTIQQ2S families, aiming to provide a family-centric space within the larger Pride Festival weekend.”

Here are a few ways to celebrate Toronto Pride 2017 as a family.

Take the Kids to Programs Just for Them

Kid-friendly events are running all weekend (June 24 and June 25) on the grounds of Church Street Public School.

A crowd of young children and their parents sit watching a show, the children wear multi-coloured beads and event wristbands 

On Saturday, June 24, there will be stage performances, a community fair and more aimed at kids of all ages and their families. Meet tortoises, lizards and snakes in Reptilia’s travelling exhibits and jump around in an inflatable playhouse.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, the fun continues with more stage shows and the chance to interact with a variety of animals—think birds, lemurs, even kangaroos—from Hands on Exotics.

Bring Everyone to Family-Friendly Events From the Toronto Pride Schedule

Check Out Glad Day Bookshop, the World’s Oldest LGBTQ Bookstore

In addition to a large collection of queer titles and diverse reads for the little ones, the co-op-owned, oldest surviving LGBTQ bookstore also has a coffee shop in its new location on Church Street. Look for the heartwarming story and lively watercolours of And a Tango Makes Three, a tale of two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo based on a true story. Older kids may enjoy feminist gems like the Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book or coming-of-age reads such as Girl Mans Up.

Take a Walk Through the Streetfair

Church Street closes to traffic for the Pride 2017 Streetfair from 7 p.m. on Friday, June 23, until Sunday, June 25, at 11 p.m. Visit the pop-up marketplace and food vendors, or businesses in the village that have decked out their exteriors for the occasion.

Two young people sit behind a table outdoors with craft materials on it, one blowing a large bubble 

Reserve a Seat at Toronto Pflag’s Family Brunch Buffet

Fuel up before you watch one of North America’s largest gay pride parades on Sunday at the Toronto Pflag Family Brunch, which is being held at Pogue Mahone this year. (If you’re interested, you can RSVP here.)

“Everyone is welcome,” says Anne Creighton, president of Toronto Pflag, a support organization for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. “But we like to know who is coming to make sure we have enough.”

Toronto Pflag will also have a booth on Alexander Street for parents who want to learn to navigate having LGBTQ+ kids.

The rainbow Pride flag and Trans flag are seen flying high on a bright summer day 

Whether you’re coming to Pride as an LGBTQ+ community member or as an ally, the Toronto celebration is positive and inclusive, and thrives on love. Happy Pride!