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‘Through Love We Can Accomplish Great Things,’ New Exhibit Celebrates 50+ Years of Toronto Pride

Some of the students behind Joy. Sorrow. Anger. Love. PRIDE ( Courtesy: Dev Banfield) 

There is an exciting new exhibit in downtown Toronto that is dedicated to celebrating the history of Toronto Pride from the 1970s to present day! Joy. Sorrow. Anger. Love. PRIDE focuses on the last 50-plus years of Pride in the city with an art exhibit presented by the Magenta Foundation in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of The ArQuives, Canada’s only nationwide LGBTQ2S+ archive. 

Located at the Collision Gallery from June 1 to July 22, the exhibit features hundreds of images and other artifacts that showcase the history of Pride and queer community in Toronto. 

“Toronto Pride’s first exhibition and publication feature enlarged archival photographs, print media, and ephemera carefully selected from among the archives’ holdings and a public call for submissions,” the Magenta Foundation said in a statement. 

Now Toronto had the chance to speak with some of the people behind the project ahead of the grand opening to find out what visitors can expect, and what organizers hope to achieve. 

MaryAnn Camilleri is the Magenta Foundation’s president and the project’s originator. She explained that she first came up with the idea when trying to develop an experiential learning project for fine art and curatorial students. After contacting The ArQuives with a project idea, representatives of the archive told her that they were celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“Nobody in the 50+ year history of Toronto Pride put Toronto Pride together [in an exhibit],” Camilleri said, adding that students from OCAD and TMU have been working on the project.

“We broke down the categories of what Pride is. Pride is the public, Pride is the community, Pride is the history,” she continued, explaining that every student was then assigned an area that they worked on to bring the gallery to life.

Camilleri shared that they decided to dedicate the project to focusing on Pride as she felt it would be fun to highlight something that Toronto loves. 

“Pride is a big deal here. In 2014, we had World Pride, we had a million people come to this city. So it is not a small feat to put Pride together. But also I really wanted to bring the community back together and remind everyone that through love we can accomplish great things.”

Camilleri also explained the decision to name the project Joy. Sorrow. Anger. Love. PRIDE. came from the timeline of Toronto Pride celebrations.

“First there was ‘let’s have a Pride parade,’ then AIDS came and people got mad and we rioted to change things. There was also [the fight for] gay marriage in there. Going back 30 years, the history wasn’t so good, but then we came together with love and now we celebrate.”

With this project, Camilleri shared that her team is wishing the city a happy Pride, but also issuing an important reminder.

“To live in a country that allows and embraces diversity and sexuality, I think is a really great thing. Especially when you’re looking at the states, our neighbours, and all of the horrible things that are happening there, it’s a good reminder that it’s pretty incredible to be here and doing the things we do.”

The cost of admission is free, and the gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m.

The team behind the exhibit is also selling a publication that showcases the project. The book is available for $65 and encompasses the entire exhibit and more. 

“It’s this plus a thousand,” Camilleri explained as she gestured around the exhibit.



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