Pride in Toronto is a pretty big deal, spread out over more than a week and apparently involving a million people. Today I marched, and checked out Mariko Tamaki, the fabulous Ember Swift, uh huh her and The Hidden Cameras.
The organizing committee brings in great entertainment, and it’s all free. A lot of straight folks have caught on, and they come for the concerts as well as the usual have-your-picture-taken-with-a-drag-queen novelty. I think it’s good for the community, because while the straight public might come to see Melanie C. for free, they’re also exposed to us at our most outrageous.
Also, I’ve noticed an interesting thing about food prices at Pride. Usually special events involve very high prices for food, drink, etc., but Pride doesn’t seem to clamp down on street vendor competition the way so many festivals do. All the convenience stores, hot dog stands and take-out restaurants in the gaybourhood do well during Pride, and there are some pretty good deals to be had – today I noticed one restaurant advertising sushi, spring rolls and a pop for $4.99.
Of course, within the official beer gardens, drinks are ridiculous, and the most popular restaurants on Church street bring in special “Pride menus” and enforce a $10 per person minimum, as a sort of rent for on sought-after tables.