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The newbie’s guide to Pride Toronto 2018

Victoria Revay | posted Friday, Jun 22nd, 2018

The countdown to pride weekend is on. If you’ve always wanted to take in the celebrations but didn’t know where to start, here are three expert recommendations about the top things to do, see and try, during pride. Happy Celebrations!

Erick Espinosa
CityNews Associate Producer & Pride Pro

5. Cabana Pool Bar 
Stealing an ideal spot on Toronto’s waterfront at Polson Pier, Cabana Pool Bar is hosting a slew of Pride Month-related parties. But it’s also a great spot for those looking for fun under the sun with a drink in hand and a good time on the mind. Miami-style white cabanas, daybeds, a huge pool and world-class DJs entertain 2500 guests at a time in this spacious summer-favourite venue.

4. Hair of the Dog 
A village staple, this pub is the perfect hangout for those who need to nurse a mighty hangover or they’re ready to get one started. All kidding aside, the corner spot is an ultimate place to people watch, grab a bite and be situated just a throws-away from the hubbub of activity in the village.

3. Toronto Island 
The Toronto Islands are just a water taxi ride away from the downtown core. Offering both adults-only beaches — the clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point is a must-try for those brave enough to take it all off — and the family-friendly Centreville. This year, Pride organizers are bringing it back to where it all started — Toronto’s very first Pride-style celebrations happened on the island in 1971.

2. The Anndore House 
This new concept hotel calls itself a house and for good reason. Each room is unique, offering up an industrial design combined with home-like decor. And in case you need a last minute chop, there is even a barber shop. The best part? The concierge also helps cater Toronto-first experiences.

1. Green Space Festival 
The 519, the community centre that is an essential part of the village, has been running the multi-day festival for over a decade. Offering hours of entertainment through musical performances of all genres. 100 per cent of the proceeds go towards funding LGBTQ+ initiatives for the centre that is one of the most prominent in Canada.

Carlotta Carlisle

Toronto Drag Queen

5. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
One of the most acclaimed performing centres in Canada featuring alternative theatre, for more than forty years, the once nomadic theatre has been at the forefront of promoting queer productions. Leading up to pride weekend, check out Tallulah Pride Party with drag queen performances.

4. The Drink
A gay-owned and gay-operated independent coffee house. Adding a dash of Drag to the cookies and carrot cakes that are available until close, it’s a mix of sweet and boozy atmosphere.

3. The Men’s Room
You can’t do Pride without looking the part, right?  For t-shirts, accessories, flags and more adventurous garb, this clothing store stocks everything from the tame to the more risque: Read, yes there is lots of leather and fetish apparel.

2.  Crews & Tangos
Sure, you could watch RuPaul’s Drag Queen Race on TV — or you could just head to Toronto’s premier Drag Bar to see the action up close and personal. The safe and open environment offers laughs, karaoke nights, and a lot of fun to be had.

1.  Woody’s and Sailor
Dubbed Toronto’s gay equivalent to the bar in the show “Cheers,” the friendly gay bar opened its doors in 1989. Offering drag shows every night during Pride Month and the weekend of the parade, the bar turns into a local meet-up and hang out spot where you will want to take lots of selfies.

Jax Irwin

Radio Host, KiSS 92.5

5. “Queer West” (West Queen West)
On the opposite side to where the village is, from Bathurst to Gladstone streets in the city’s west end, this neighbourhood dubbed “Queer West” is known to be Toronto’s art and design district. More known for its unique clothing shops, street art and galleries, the area is an artistic and unique way to discover pride without being in the thick of it all.

4. O’Grady’s Restaurant
The family-friendly restaurant offers your traditional food and drink options, but adds in an extra large patio to take it all in. Check out the website for their pride weekend event and food guide. Open until 2 am.

3. Yes Yes Ya’ll
Yes Yes Ya’ll’s block parties are known to be epic. And they’re free! Probably one of the most vibrant outdoor dance and music bashes, head to the OLG Centre Stage in the village and just see what happens. Their pride parties are legendary.

2. The Village
It’s the historic urban area for Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community, in the heart of downtown Toronto. And while there are specific spots in the village that you definitely have to see and try, walking around the entire area is an experience on its own. Being that it’s car-free during pride weekend is also a plus.

1. Pride Parade
The 38th annual Pride Parade kicks off at 2 pm from the corner of Church and Bloor streets all the way down Yonge Street to Yonge-Dundas Square. Over 1 million festival-goers and many more watching will see colourful costumes, choreography, music and everything glam.


Pride Parade and other festivities jazz up the weekend, but there are road closures

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND PATRICK LUCIANI | posted Friday, Jun 22nd, 2018

The first weekend of summer is going to bring rain and cooler temperatures, which goes against everything the season stands for. But regardless of the weather, Pride festivities will bring rays of sunshine to the city, topped off with the parade on Sunday.

There will be several road closures this weekend for Pride and other events, so plan ahead before you head out. Line 3 will also be shut down on Sunday for TTC work.


Pride weekend, include parade finale
Pride month will come to a close this weekend in the most spectacular way — one of the highlights being the parade on Sunday. Ahead of the Pride Parade, two marches and a street fair will round up the festivities.

First up is the Trans March on Friday. A rally will be held at 7 p.m. followed by the march at 8 p.m., which starts at Church and Hayden streets and ends at Allan Gardens. Then on Saturday, the Dyke March will take over Church and Hayden at 2 p.m. A rally will be held afterwards in Allan Gardens, which will include performances and community-building activities.

“Pride Parade is not only about Pride in Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA community, but celebrating diversity and the variety of life in Toronto while respecting differences amongst its citizens and visitors, and creating an inclusive experience for all.”

While you are out enjoying Pride festivities from Friday until Sunday, stop buy the Pride Streetfair taking place in the area of Church, Wellesley and Alexandra streets. The fair features local artisans and businesses, health-and-wellness groups, community groups, vendors, and more.

The grand finale is on Sunday with the Pride Parade at 2 p.m. The parade starts at Church and Bloor streets and makes its way to Yonge-Dundas Square. This year, the parade will mark a sombre tone, honouring the victims of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur. Organizers say the parade will culminate with the “Until We’re Safe March,” which will be led by organizers and volunteers wearing black. As the march makes its way along the parade route, other people will join in. During the parade, a moment of silence will be held for the victims and also members of the community who died because of HIV/AIDS, homophobic and transphobic laws and hate crimes.

I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got music
The sounds of jazz will be heard across the city over 10 days starting on Friday for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. The area of Yorkville will be the major hub with more than 165 free shows, while the ticketed venues are spread across the city. Opening weekend includes shows by Seal, Herbie Hancock, Alison Krauss, Gregory Porter, and Holly Cole, and free performances that include gospel legend CeCe Winans and R&B singer Macy Gray. On Friday, they Royal Ontario Museum will be turned into a jazz club for a special edition of Friday Night Live at the ROM. The festival runs until Canada Day.

No rubber duck this time
There may not be a giant inflatable rubber duck this year, but the Redpath Waterfront Festival is promising to impress with something just as large … and inflatable. A total of six beach balls — each six feet five inches tall — will be suspended from a large truss frame, swinging back and forth like a pendulum. The HTO Pendulum Wave stands 22 feet tall, 42 feet wide and 12 feet deep, and weighs a whopping 19,000 pounds. It was custom made for this year’s festival by Canadian event design firm Décor & More. The festival bounces into HTO Park, Sugar Beach, and Sherbourne Common from Friday until Sunday.

Irie it up in Mississauga and Toronto
Everything will be Irie at Mississauga Celebration Square this weekend. Starting Friday night, the 16th annual TD Irie Music Festival will be taking over the square at Burnhamthorpe Road and Duke of York Boulevard. The festival features musical performances from Junior Kelly and Patrice Roberts. Admission to the party is free from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, and 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Then on Sunday, the celebration wraps up in Toronto with a boat cruise on Yankee Lady III. Boarding time is at 12:30 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre, with the cruise around the harbour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 online, or $55 at the dock.

TTC service

Line 3 closure
If you live in the east end and are heading to the Pride Parade on Sunday, trains won’t be running on Line 3 due to track and infrastructure work. Shuttle buses will be running, and Wheel-Trans buses will be available upon request.

Road closures

Starting on Friday

Pride Streetfair: Church Street from Dundas to Bloor streets will be closed from the north side of Dundas Street East to the south side of Hayden Street from 10 a.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. on Monday. Wellesley Street East from Yonge to Jarvis streets will also be closed at that time.

Pride Trans March: The march, which is on Friday, starts at Church and Hayden streets, heads north to Bloor Street East, west on Bloor Street East, south on Yonge Street and east on Carlton Street to Allan Gardens. Roads along the route will be closed from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival: Road closures start at 12 a.m. on Friday and continue until 6 a.m. on Monday. Click here for a full list.

Starting on Saturday

Pride and Remembrance Run: Wellesley Street East between Jarvis Street and Queen’s Park Crescent East, and Queen’s Park Crescent West between College and Bloor streets, will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Dyke March: The march on Saturday starts at Church and Hayden streets, heads north to Bloor Street East, west on Bloor Street East, south on Yonge Street and east on Carlton Street to Allan Gardens. Road along the route will be closed from noon to 6 p.m.

Rotary International: Bremner Boulevard from York Street to the Air Canada Centre will be closed daily Saturday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fairbank Village BIA – Flavours of Fairbank: Eglinton Avenue West between Ronald Avenue and Dufferin Street will be closed from 2 a.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday.

Junction BIA – Summer Solstice: Dundas Street West from High Park Avenue to Indian Grove will be closed from 4 a.m. on Saturday to 7 a.m on Sunday.

Starting on Sunday

Pride Parade: The parade on Sunday runs from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. It starts at Church Street and Bloor Street East, heads west on Bloor Street East, south on Yonge Street and east on Dundas Street East to Victoria Street. Rosedale Valley Road between Park Road and Bayview Avenue will be closed from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Several roads in the area will also be closed from noon to 7 p.m.

Luminato Festival: The southbound curb lane of Victoria Street from Shuter Street to Queen Street East will be closed from 10 a.m. on Sunday to 10 a.m. on Monday.

Kensington Market Pedestrian Sundays: Parts of Kensington Avenue, Augusta Avenue and Baldwin Street will be closed on from noon to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Man stabbed in the head in Moss Park

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 21st, 2018

One man is in hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries after he was stabbed in Moss Park.

It happened on Queen Street East near Jarvis Street around 1 a.m. on Thursday.

Toronto police say there was some sort of fight, which led to the victim being stabbed in the head.

There’s no word on suspects at this time.

Female under arrest after man stabbed near York University

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 21st, 2018

A woman is in custody after a man was taken to hospital after being stabbed near York University.

York Regional Police were called to the UPS distribution building in the area of Jane Street and Steeles Avenue West around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday night.

A man was rushed to hospital suffering a minor stab wound to his stomach.

Police say it’s unknown what may have led up to the stabbing.

Legal pot FAQ: Your burning questions answered

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Thursday, Jun 21st, 2018

Oct. 17 is officially the day recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada.

With legalization come new rules governing everything ranging from where you can use pot to how it will be marketed and distributed.

In the run up to decriminalization day, CityNews asked viewers and readers to send in their concerns about navigating the changes. We then reached out to experts in the field to weigh in.

Pam Kaufman, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and Brad Poulos, lecturer at Ryerson University answer your burning questions.

NOTE: The questions and answers below have been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Q: Who controls the restrictions on advertising legal pot and will they be similar to those on tobacco products?

Poulos: The federal government determines all the rules on advertising and other forms of promotional items.

Kaufman: In Ontario, the only place that will be allowed to sell cannabis is the Ontario Cannabis Store which will be subject to government rules. These rules are still being worked out.


Q: Will pot have similar restrictions as those imposed on tobacco products, like warning labels and health advisories?

Poulos: Similar but still different to satisfy the differing needs of the products and industries. There will be warning labels similar to tobacco, and severe restrictions on packaging, limiting the ability of the producers to build their brands.

Kaufman: It is likely that products will be sold in plain packages with warning labels.

Q: Can pot advertising be geared towards youth and children by using, for example, a cartoon character?

Poulos: No. Anything appealing to youth, or implying that use of cannabis is cool or glamourous, or that it brings excitement, vitality, or daring will be allowed. Neither are the use of cartoon characters, celebrity endorsements, or a person, character or animal (real or fictional).

Kaufman: The proposed federal Cannabis Act does not allow the promotion of cannabis (or a cannabis accessory or service). This would include advertising that appeals to young persons, such as the use of a cartoon character.

Q: Will the rules governing pot use in public spaces be similar to those governing smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol?

Poulos: More or less. This will be down to the municipal level in some cases so will vary widely by province and city or town.
In Ontario, while there could be municipal variance, the basic rules are that you may only smoke it in your home or property, and that you may not consume cannabis in any public place, workplace, or vehicle.

Kaufman: You will technically not be allowed to smoke cannabis in public places or parks or while walking down the street.

Q: Will smoking pot in public result in a ticket or fines if caught?

Poulos: The police will now have the ability to ticket someone who is using cannabis in public.

Kaufman: The penalty for using cannabis in public is up to $1000 for a first offense and up to $5000 for subsequent offenses.

Q: Is it true that those living in apartments or condos cannot grow or smoke pot?

Poulos: According to the Ontario regulations, as they currently stand, that is true. For medical cannabis, one can get an exemption from such rules.

Kaufman: You will be able to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence (not per person). However, if you live in a multi-unit building like an apartment or condo, whether you can grow cannabis or smoke it on the premises depends on your building’s rules or lease agreement.

Q: Can a landlord refuse to rent to a tenant if they want to grow pot on the premises?

Poulos: Yes, and they can insert clauses in the lease preventing using or growing cannabis in the premises.

Kaufman: Landlords can set their own rules about whether this is allowed in their building.


Visit this page often as we continue to update this list and have your questions answered.

Send your questions to us on Twitter: @CityNews or our Facebook Page: CityNews Toronto

No regulated response times for patient alarms at Ont. nursing homes

Cristina Howorun | posted Thursday, Jun 21st, 2018

It’s a jarring noise — a constant alarm sounding off — warning of a patient in distress.

It’s a sound that Nellie DeJong says she often hears when visiting her mother at Maple Manor Nursing Home in Tillsonburg, about a two-hour drive from Toronto.

“I actually had heard the alarms going and I timed it and it was 25-30 minutes before the alarm was answered,” DeJong said.

DeJong became so frustrated with the slow response time that she videotaped a walk through the halls of the long-term care home. The video, only thirty seconds long, shows no staff and very few residents in the halls while the alarm is sounding.

“I have grave concerns over my own mother’s personal care,” she said.

She also questions whether a quicker response to an alarm could’ve prevented a death there earlier this month.

“I absolutely believe that. I absolutely believe that. I believe it was a poor response time.”

Danny MacNeill, 69, died at the home after he allegedly became trapped in his bed rail.

His son, Kevin, wonders if a slow response time to his bedside alarm may have contributed to his father’s tragic death as well.

“Every time I was there it worked fine, when I helped him get up to get dressed it would go off. And just that day it went off and nobody got to him in a quick time. I mean, I don’t know exactly the time, they’re trying to figure it out. That’s a major factor,” Kevin tells CityNews.

Marlene Van Ham, the home’s administrator, declined to comment on the specifics of that incident, saying that it’s still under investigation.

CityNews repeatedly asked what the average response time or best practices were for responding to patient alarms, and she again declined comment.

According to regulations under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, every home is required to have a resident-to staff communication system that:

  • can be easily seen, accessed and used by residents, staff and visitors at all times;
  • is on at all times;
  • allows calls to be cancelled only at the point of activation;
  • is available at each bed, toilet, bath and shower location used by residents;
  • is available in every area accessible by residents;
  • clearly indicates when activated where the signal is coming from; and
  • in the case of a system that uses sound to alert staff, is properly calibrated so that the level of sound is audible to staff.


According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, “there is no requirement in the Long-Term Care Homes Act and Ontario Regulation 79/10 that specifies a standard time for a response to a patient alarm.”

“The Residents’ Bill of Rights as outlined in s.3(1) of the LTCHA, says no resident is to be neglected by the licensee or staff and has the right to be cared for in a manner consistent with his or her needs,” ministry spokesperson David Jensen told CityNews in an email.

“The ministry expects LTC home staff to respond to alerts/calls in a timely manner to ensure the care needs of the resident are met.

LTC homes would have their own internal policies and procedures on this matter.”

“That shocks me. It should be addressed immediately, You don’t know what’s happening, ” DeJong says.

“They could be choking, something could be going on and there’s nobody there. Somebody should be sitting with them at all times. And if there’s an alarm going off, they need to address that.”

Recreational marijuana to become legal Oct. 17

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 21st, 2018

Recreational marijuana will become legal in Canada as of Oct. 17.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons, which is expected to rise for the summer break after Wednesday.

He says the government has delayed the legalization schedule in order to give the provinces and territories more time to implement their regimes.

The federal government is reminding Canadians that up until Oct. 17, pot remains illegal in this country until the Cannabis Act goes into effect.

“I urge all Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told a news conference Wednesday in the foyer of the House of Commons.

The government’s companion legislation on impaired driving is also expected to pass soon, said Wilson-Raybould, but she added that driving under the influence of drugs has always been – and will remain – against the law in Canada.

Bill C-46, a companion bill that Wilson-Raybould predicts will give Canada the strongest impaired-driving rules in the world, will also become law “in the near future,” she said.

Until then, “I would like to also remind the public that driving while impaired by drugs is, and will remain, illegal.”

It was clear, however, that there are still more questions than answers about what Canada’s nascent legal-pot landscape will look like – how police will test motorists, what to do about those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules governing home cultivation will work.

Quebec and Manitoba have already decided to ban home-grown pot, even though the federal bill specifies that individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to end its opposition to certain aspects of the federal bill, most notably the plan to permit Canadians to cultivate marijuana plants at home. A proposed Senate amendment would have prevented legal challenges to their constitutional right to do so.

Wilson-Raybould called the legislation – which still requires royal assent to become law – “transformative” and predicted it would protect young people and keep organized crime out of the pot market.

“C-45 marks a wholesale shift in how our country approaches cannabis,” she said.

“It leaves behind a failed model of prohibition, a model that has made organized crime rich and young people vulnerable…. our shift in policy will protect youth from the health and safety risks of cannabis and keep those same criminals from profiting from its production, distribution and sale.”

Senate passes cannabis bill

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 20th, 2018

Canadians will be able to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana by mid-September at the latest after the Senate voted Tuesday to lift almost a century-old prohibition on cannabis.

Senators voted 52-29, with two abstentions, to pass Bill C-45, after seven months of study and debate.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said the provinces will need two to three months after the bill is passed before they’ll be ready to implement the new legalized cannabis regime.

“We have seen in the Senate tonight a historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition of cannabis in this country, 90 years of needless criminalization, 90 years of a just-say-no approach to drugs that hasn’t worked,” said independent Sen. Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the upper house.

Canada is the first industrialized country to legalize cannabis nationwide.

“I’m proud of Canada today. This is progressive social policy,” Dean said.

However, Dean and other senators stressed that the government is taking a very cautious, prudent approach to this historic change. Cannabis will be strictly regulated, with the objective of keeping it out of the hands of young people and displacing the thriving black market in cannabis controlled by organized crime.

“What the government’s approach has been is, yes, legalization but also strict control,” said Sen. Peter Harder, the government’s representative in the Senate.
“That does not in any way suggest that it’s now party time.”

Conservative senators remained resolutely opposed to legalization, however, and predicted passage of C-45 will not meet the government’s objectives.

“The impact is we’re going to have all those involved in illegal marijuana peddling right now becoming large corporations and making a lot of money and they’re going to be doing it at the expense of vulnerable people in this country,” said Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos, predicting young people will have more – not less – access.

“When you normalize the use of marijuana and you’re a young person and you had certain reservations because of the simple fact that it was illegal, there’s, I believe, a propensity to have somebody be more inclined to use it.”

But Dean countered that the Conservatives have been making the same argument since the bill landed in the Senate seven months ago, regardless of what they heard from expert witnesses. And he suggested that’s because they received marching orders from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to do everything in their power to delay or block legalization.

“That tells me that maybe they haven’t been open to learning and listening the way that other senators have in this place,” he said of the Conservatives’ unchanging position on the bill.

By contrast, Dean said many independent senators were initially opposed to or uncertain about legalization but changed their minds after hearing from more than 200 expert witnesses who testified before five different Senate committees that examined the bill minutely.

The Conservatives are the last remaining openly partisan group in the Senate, to which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has chosen to name only non-partisan, independent senators recommended by an arm’s-length advisory body.

Senators last week approved almost four dozen amendments to C-45. The government accepted 27 of them and tweaked two others. But it rejected 13 amendments.
Among the rejected amendments was one which would have authorized provinces to prohibit home cultivation of marijuana if they choose.

Quebec and Manitoba have already decided to ban home-grown pot, even though the bill specifies that individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling. The purpose of the Senate’s amendment was to prevent legal challenges to their constitutional right to do so.

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan attempted Tuesday to have the amendment reinstated in the bill – which would have meant the bill would have to be bounced back to the House of Commons and could have set the stage for a protracted parliamentary battle between the two houses of Parliament.

But senators voted 45-35 not to insist on that change.

Sen. Yen Pau Woo, leader of the independent group of senators, said C-45 was “a bit of a stress test” for the new, less partisan Senate.

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