Queer West Fest – Toronto – Press Reviews 2007
Toronto’s fab Magazine review of Queer West Fest 2007 (fab is a Toronto gay scene magazine published every two weeks)
“The west end of Toronto has been home to many a queer hipster event but this year marks the first coordinated series of pre-Pride events. Queer West Fest kicks off with a party at the Rhino on Fri. Jun. 15, featuring a mix of DJs and bands, including trans electrolounge singer Mackenzie MacBride.
“She has this amazing voice,” says organizer Bryen Dunn. “I always think of Klaus Nomi!”
The fest includes a community fair at the Drake Hotel, a coffee klatch with former fab editor Steven Bereznai at the Gladstone, a Pride bike tour and a closing retro ‘80s party at Lot 16 on Fri. Jun. 22.
More Info: fab Magazine Toronto (link no longer available for issue #321)
Xtra Toronto’s – Gay and Lesbian Newspaper review of Queer West Fest – Queen West’s Queer West Fest, Jun 15 – 22. by Fred Kuhr / Xtra / Thursday, June 07, 2007
Pick of the Crop – PRIDE 2007 / Toronto isn’t the only Pride on offer.
Not that Pride is a new phenomenon on this side of town. Last year, it was called Parkdale Pride, a name that made it sound like it was limited to that neighbourhood, says self-described “festival innovator” Bryen Dunn. Unlike Pride Toronto, “Ours is not a city festival, it’s a community festival,” says Dunn.
There’s no parade down Queen St. Rather, there are events at a handful of the many queer and queer-friendly businesses in the neighbourhood. These include the official launch party at Rhino Bar And Grill (1249 Queen St W) and the Mix And Mingle Community Fair at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St W).
Dunn says the use of the word “queer” in the festival’s name is not just a play on the word “Queen.” It’s also a more apt way of describing the neighbourhood, its businesses and its Pride.
“While the Church-Wellesley Village is more male dominated, Queen West is much more mixed,” says Dunn. “Not just that we have more lesbians here. We also mean queer in the sense that things are much more odd here.”
Queer West Fest is also a way to get more people to realize that there is indeed a second gay village to be explored all year long.
“We really want to bring attention to Queen West,” says Dunn. “We want people to come out to our part of town and see that there are other options.”
More Info: Fred Kuhr / Xtra / Thursday, June 07, 2007
Calgary’s Outlooks magazine reviews Queer West Fest – TORONTO GETS ITS PRIDE ON By Doug Ross June 2007 issue. Outlooks is Published in Calgary, Alberta
“Queer activity for the near future, our local numbers are steadily growing, which is causing a little stress at its seams. But actually that kind of expansion is a good thing, so out-of-towners are encouraged to check out the radically diverse and very tolerant neighbourhood located along Queen Street West with its thriving underground gay scene that has recently been recognized as a viable “ghetto” alternative.
That funky area’s edgy attitude and discreet, but still significant, gay presence exploded a few years back when The Drake became the hotel/hotspotdu- jour for visiting Hollywood royalty and other “see and be seen” hipsters sporting a metrosexual vibe.
Then not to be outdone, the city’s oldest hotel,The Gladstone—also located along that same gritty, but cool west end strip—underwent renovations wherein a local artist individually designed each room. How chic is that?
Also nestled amongst that area’s fluid mixture of ethnicities and sexualities can be found some very tasty eateries and bars—Lot 16, the Beaconsfield, Beaver Café—that provide plenty of music, martinis, munchies and madness.
On June 16, the Gay West Community Network presents its annual Queer West Fest event that boasts a big attitude with an alternative bent that celebrates all things queer positive. And then that same organization teams up with the Aids Committee of Toronto to present its special Pride Edition of Java Knights on June 19. JK is a monthly forum that features discussions on topics from sex to politics and everything in between.
The non-profit Gay West Village Bike Club presents its Pride Ride 2007 on June 17 that takes place along the waterfront from Sunnyside to the Beaches located at the eastern end of the city. So grab your water bottle and your vitamins and enjoy some good old-fashioned fun and exercise within a positive social atmosphere. Wow, so many great events—yet June only has thirty days!
More Info: Outlooks Canada June 2007 edtion PDF no longer available online?
About Magazine reviews Queer West Fest ( About Magazine is published in Toronto and Buffalo)
In the June issue 2007 P13, under the title: A Proud Challange, By Heather O’Connor writes about Pride celebrations in Buffalo N.Y., Toronto, Hamilton, Ontario and surprisingly the Queer West Fest, which isn’t a Pride event, it just happens to be taking place during Pride week in Toronto.
O’Connor says “Buffalo, the Hamilton Pride Festival and the Queer West Fest have spent the greater part of this past year planning and organizing their 2007 events. The difference is they have to work primarily without the funding and sponsorship from huge corporate donors. Whether this be by choice or by scale, it means they must face the challenge of finding their own means to pull off their events, looking to local business owners and relying mainly on volunteers. That makes them truly community affairs. Throughout the year the gay and lesbian communities in Buffalo, Hamilton and Queer West support the gay friendly businesses and establishments in each of their Respective neighbourhoods or cities. Pride allows the businesses a chance to repay the community by offering their space, services, donations and sponsorship. It is this give and- take relationship that helps bring together the entire community as a whole.”
O’Conner closes her story with a kudo to the Toronto’s new west end queer community.
“Toronto has joined the list of international cities that boast more than one “gay village.” The Queen Street West area of Toronto extending between Bathurst and Roncesvalles has had a growing gay presence over the past years and it has now been dubbed Queer West Village. This year, the community is set to launch its first week-long Queer West Fest, June 15-22 – overlapping with a significant chunk of the week-long Toronto Pride event. For Queer West and Toronto, 2007 marks the debut of what will hopefully be an annual week of pride celebrations for the west end of the city.”
More Info: About magazine June 2007 Page 13 in PDF no longer available, magazine folded in late 90’s.
NOW Magazine reviews Queer West Fest ( (NOW is Toronto’s weekly news and entertainment voice, published every Thursday)
Queerest of them all – Queer Westers push boundaries while neon mall vibe and high-priced martinis swamp Church
By ZOE WHITTALL – NOW Magazine – Thursday June 21, 2007
“I like that all these things are happening organically in an area that’s not designated expressively as queer anything it’s just part of the way things have grown. At same time, as the queer presence grows, what started as a joke calling Queen West Queer West is becoming part of our vernacular.”
“There is currently a movement to officially designate a Queer West Village. There’s a website and even our own Pride festival.” Whittall wrote.
NOW Magazine reviews Queer West Fest ( (NOW is Toronto’s weekly news and entertainment voice, published every Thursday) Second Article
West’s Pride divide
By JENNY YUEN – NOW Magazine – Thursday June 21, 2007( with audio clips)
“A week before the official pride parade, with its big rainbow flags and expensive floats, another queer festival in the west end is showing its true colours.”
“Queer West Fest, a volunteer-driven alt-event in the Parkdale area, shifts the focus from Church/Wellesley to a more grassroots approach. Last week it featured a community fair, bike ride and events bringing artists and queer-friendly businesses together.” Yuen wrote.
But QWF organizers say they were not approached as a community partner by ( Pride Toronto). “You’d think they’d want to work with us. We were quite upset,” says event founder Michael Paré.
Bryen Dunn, another organizer, notes that while the vibe in the Church-Wellesley village is male-dominated, Queen West is much more mixed. “It’s not just that we have more lesbians here; we also mean ‘queer’ in the sense that things are much odder here,” he says.
But Pride Toronto co-chair David Anderson contends they have tried to engage QWF in the parade several times over the years. ” We’ve been criticized for centring on the downtown. Now that we’re trying to diversify our sites, we’re still getting criticisms.”
[Queer West Fest Committee replies to Andersons comments:] 2007 was the first year for Queer West Fest. Pride Toronto never tried to engage Parkdale Pride Party (former name) at anytime! Ross Chapman, a director of InterPride, (Region 7 Canada) and board member of Pride Toronto, did contact us in March this year. He told the QWF committee, he would work to unite the two organizations as community partners. This never happens.