Toronto Approves Pride Funding, With Caveats

May 27th, 2011

Rob Ford marches in a Pride parade.

Despite threats from Toronto’s mayor to pull its funding, a city council committee has unanimously voted to continue supporting the city’s annual Pride festival.

Toronto Pride is Canada’s largest Pride celebration—a massive tourist draw, and one of the city’s largest festivals overall. Mayor Rob Ford had threatened to pull all city funding from the festival, however, due to a stupid controversy over a minor participant in the parade portion of the festival’s weeklong events. That participant, a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, had already indicated that they would not participate this year, but Rob Ford still refused to provide funding, saying that he may grant money after the festival was finished and there was proof that QAIA had not participated.

Now, this committee decision doesn’t really change Rob Ford’s douchey antics—the city will still only pay money after the festival, and only on condition that the group doesn’t march, but at least there is some formal assurance that the money is coming. Committee members have also provided assurance that having a single rogue member of the group wearing a T-Shirt during the parade, or some other unauthorized minor participation, would not result in funding being pulled; only full participation would make the council reconsider the funds.

I guess Toronto Pride needs to find some new drama now. Personally, I suggest the Montréal approach: Foster a silly internal rift until the event gets split into two competing weeklong events, making the summer twice as gay!