Jearld Frederick Moldenhauer – Photographer, Bookseller, Naturalist

Toronto Gay Pride Week 1972

Introduction for Toronto Gay Pride Week 1972

On August 20th, 1971, members of Toronto Gay Action (about a dozen of us) held what should be remembered as the first Gay Pride March in Toronto. We had no parade permit, and simply marched down the sidewalks on Yonge Street with our signs. The March ended at City Hall Square.

By the summer  of 1972, the movement had really taken off; not just in Toronto, but in most urban centers in Canada. Sometime in the spring or early summer of 1972 CHAT rented the old synagogue on Cecil Street near Spadina and – in August – a week long Pride Festival was held there. It included a panel discussion and an art show, among other events.

CHAT Headquarters was also where gays and lesbians gathered for the first major march, held on August 26, 1972. I’m not sure of the entire route, but University Avenue – with both Canada Immigration offices and the Provincial Buildings at Queen’s Park – was where I took most of my pictures. Gay people from New York, Detroit, Vancouver, Ottawa, Guelph, Waterloo, Windsor, and London participated.

(For the life of me, I have never understood how and why so much of the ‘gay media’ during the last two decades, consider the first Pride events to have “begun” when official government recognition was finally won sometime in the 1980s.)