Archive for August 2016
Jeremy Willard writes at Torontoist about the many problems facing Toronto’s queer businesses. I did not know that Come As Your Are had closed down.
From the outside, Come As You Are appeared like any other storefront on Queen West. But get a little closer, and the shop slowly revealed itself to passersby: vibrators sat in the front window, and lime green interior walls reflected the bright and adventurous toys sold inside. The shop was unabashedly sexy—and for years, it had been considered one of the most sex-positive and LGBTQ-friendly sex stores in the city.
But, that has come to an end. Come As You Are is now closed, reverting to an online-only store–and another one of Toronto’s queerer businesses has been forced to shut its doors.
The store gave no warning that its final day of business would be Sunday, August 28. Anyone passing by the following morning would have been surprised to see signs in the windows reading, “Goodbye Queen West.”
“We wanted to close quietly,” says Jack Lamon, one of the co-op’s worker-owners. “I guess we didn’t want to spend the last month doing a lot of emotional processing on the [sales] floor.”
Queer businesses are struggling now more than ever. This summer alone has seen the closure of the bar Zipperz—known for its drag king nights and thriving lesbian club scene—and the martini bar and restaurant Byzantium. Glad Day Bookshop, the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ bookshop, is moving to a new location in the hope that expansion will save the struggling business.
CBC News’ Nicole Brockbank reports on the continuing controversies over police and race and Pride Toronto.
Pride Toronto has accepted, and plans to review an official complaint from Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) about the inclusion of police floats in the city’s annual pride parade.
The LGBTQ organization clarified its stance on the hot topic issue at a Tuesday evening townhall event hosted at Ada Slaight Hall on Dundas Street East.
“We signed the agreement with a commitment to work with Blackness Yes!, Black Queer Youth and Black Lives Matter and our communities to strengthen our relationship,” said Pride Toronto board co-chair Alica Hall.
In July, the Pride parade was temporarily blocked by a Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) protest. The event resumed 30 minutes later after top Pride executives agreed to a list of demands for next year’s festival, including a ban on police floats in the festival’s penultimate march.
The next day, Pride Toronto’s former leader, Mathieu Chantelois, said the organization never agreed to exclude police from its events, but would have discussions with the force about what its future involvement would look like.
On Tuesday night, Pride Toronto representatives distanced themselves from that statement, saying the comments made “in the media suggesting we had no intention of meeting these demands … misrepresented our organization’s position.”
CBC News reports on last night’s crying shame at the Canadian National Exhibition.
Youth Day could be scrapped at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) after a series of fights forced the popular event to abruptly shut down, setting off what some called “sheer chaos” in the crowds.
Virginia Ludy, the CNE’s general manager, said she was forced to shut down the event due to a dangerous “crowd dynamic,” among a few groups of teenagers in the midway area. Video of the fights show swarms of people surrounding the fighters, while others rush away from the scene.
Ludy said some 70,000 people were at the Exhibition grounds, a large area of downtown land near the city’s lake shore, so organizers who were monitoring the crowds had to power down rides and call in police around 9:30 p.m.
“You don’t want to create panic and you don’t want to create chaos,” Ludy told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.
But, she said, organizers could not hesitate to close with patrons’ safety at risk.
The Toronto Star‘s Oliver Sachgau reports, with plenty of photos, about the new road murals which will soon be covering the streets of Kensington Market.
You wouldn’t think the colourful paint that was being slathered on Baldwin St. would be controversial in any way.
But the road mural painted in Kensington Market on Sunday is the first of its kind in the city, and comes after a long fight between community activists and city staff.
Five streets will be allowed to be painted between now and October as part of a pilot project.
The mural is part of a pilot project whereby the city is tentatively allowing five streets to be painted between now and October. The Kensington Market mural is the first, and a collaboration between artists, activists and the Kensington Market BIA.
The theme of the Kensington mural is fresh food — something organizer Stas Ukhanov said represents the market’s roots.
“We really wanted to reinforce fresh produce and groceries in Kensington Market. It’s what makes the market this great place,” he said.
The Toronto Star‘s Laurie Monsebraaten reports on the move-in day of new students at Ryerson University’s downtown dorms, the relatively few who did.
It was a potent mix of nervous excitement, swallowed tears and sheer exhaustion.
As police directed traffic and a music boom box blared, hundreds of students and parents pushing trolleys packed with pillows, printers and the odd teddy bear converged on Ryerson University’s downtown campus for residence move-in day Sunday.
Mia Croney of Barbados, who has visited family in Toronto many times, still can’t believe she will be living here.
“I’m pretty excited,” said the 18-year-old arts major as she unpacked a mountain of clothes in the apartment-style residence she will be sharing with three other first-year students. “Ryerson was my number one choice.”