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A drag ball with Brooke Lynn Hytes, a sidesplitting stand-up show and six other best bets for Pride Week

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A night at the museum 
1Every summer Friday, the ROM opens its doors to partygoers for a night of revelry. This weekend, they’re hosting a glittery spectacle to celebrate Pride, drag and all things rainbow. The country’s best drag kings and queens—including Mango Sassi, Fay Slift and Jade LeQueen—will sissy their walks in their highest stilettos, and works from drag photographers David Hawe and Quinton Cruickshanks will be on display throughout the museum. Also taking place: a pre-historic disco called “Dinosaurs of 54,” brought to you by drag artist Fisher Price. Friday, June 14. $17. ROM.

A queer art fair
2Nuit Rose, a LGBTQ-tinted spin on Nuit Blanche, is a meandering street festival showcasing more than 300 queer artists and performers from around the world. This year’s theme is arcades (with an emphasis on workshops, like how to make a zingy protest sign, and interactive installations) and will stretch from Church and Wellesley down to West Queen West and up to College and University. At sundown, neon enthusiasts can bring their favourite illuminated objects (lightsabers, glow-in-the-dark necklaces, glow sticks) to Alexander Street Parkette for an electrifying Light Parade. (And yes, there will be fire breathers.) Saturday, June 15. Free. Multiple locations.

A colourful evening under the sea
3Ripley’s Aquarium can be pretty magical when it’s not filled with school kids. This year, the underwater oasis gets a vibrant makeover for Pride. Partiers dressed in their rainbow best can roam the space, sipping cocktails and snapping selfies with a kaleidoscopic range of 20,000 aquatic creatures—no screaming toddlers allowed). There will be tunes spun by DJ Cozmic Cat and Lucie Tic, and a girl power–infused performance by the Spice Queens. Friday, June 21. $50. Ripley’s Aquarium.

A celeb-studded drag ball
4If you’re already in RuPaul’s Drag Race withdrawal, you can get your queen fix at this year’s Drag Ball, where serious drag talent from Toronto and around the world will lip sync and death drop the house down. The top three contenders from Drag Race Thailand will open the star-studded show, followed by local drag sensation Tynomi Banks. The highlight of the evening, of course, is Toronto’s beloved Brooke Lynn Hytes (a.k.a. the Queen of the North), whose gorgeous runway looks and balletic lip sync techniques made her the runner-up on the last season of Drag Race. After her performance, DJ Kitty Glitter will take over, giving partygoers the chance to try replicating BLH’s best moves. Saturday, June 22. Free. TD Main Stage.

A grand parade
5Even if you’ve been every year for the past decade, the Pride Parade is still worth catching—if not for the over-the-top floats, then at least for the chance to see an ecstatic, sweat-drenched Justin Trudeau. This year marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village and the start of the modern LGBTQ movement. The thousands-strong procession starts at 2 p.m. at the corner of Church and Bloor and winds down Yonge to Dundas Square. Bring your quirkiest, loudest, skimpiest outfits and be prepared to get drenched. Sunday, June 23. FreeThe Village.

A poignant photography exhibit
6Speaking of the Stonewall Riots, the Stephen Bulger Gallery is exhibiting a portrait series by American photographer Robert Giard paying tribute to the key figures of the famous queer protest. Throughout his career, Giard photographed hundreds LGBTQ individuals—including Edward Albee, Allen Ginsberg, and Adrienne Rich—who were essential figures in art, politics and the activism that ultimately led to change. Saturday, June 15 to Saturday, July 27. Free. Stephen Bulger Gallery. 

A hilarious stand-up show
7Screenwriter Dawn Whitwell, who’s responsible for a long list of sidesplitting Baroness von Sketch Show sketches, takes the stage at Buddies to host a slew of Toronto’s best queer comedians, musicians and, yes, even more drag performers. This year’s smorgasbord of joke-crackers includes She’s the Man, Zoe Whittall, Elvira Kurt, Fay Slift and Hoodo Hersi. Saturday, June 15. $25. Buddies and Bad Times. 

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A drag ball with Brooke Lynn Hytes, a sidesplitting stand-up show and six other best bets for Pride Week
Photo by Adam Pulicicchio Photograph by Adam Pulicicchio

A drag queen read aloud  
8The library may be an unlikely stage for a drag show, but Toronto’s queens know how to make the literary glittery. At this family-friendly read aloud, the queens read LGBT-themed picture books and teach kids about gender fluidity and next-level dress up. Friday, June 21. Free. City Hall.

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