Halloween returns to Toronto’s Gay Village

Halloween – a holiday that brought thousands of people together before the Toronto Gay Village pandemic – returns to Church-Wellesley this eerie season.

“Halloween is definitely a joint activity,” said Sofonda, a local drag queen who is back this year performing in person at Woody’s on Church Street. “Finally, seeing people back in the bars, like Woody’s, is certainly liberating.”

Sofonda plans to pull off more costumes ahead of the Halloween show this year and pay homage to classics like Thriller, The Exorcist and Annabelle.

“You can dress the way you want to dress, and I think that’s one of the benefits of Halloween in the Village,” said David Kraft, a bartender at Woody’s, noting that guests came to the bar in costume already at. 15.00 Sunday. . “There is more freedom.”

Halloween drag shows were also expected for The Drink and Flash – where Kiara from season one of Canada’s Drag races was to perform.

When the annual Halloween block party was canceled last month for the second year in a row, Kraft believes crowds planning to go out this spooky season were likely heading to the neighborhood’s local bars – and packed lines of costumed partygoers up and down to Church Street.

Across the road, at Storm Crow Manor, a restaurant and bar that is delightfully haunted every day of the year, guests were particularly eager this Halloween.

“People were extra excited about Halloween this year. Our reservations were sold out long in advance, ”said Stella Simeonova, spokeswoman for Storm Crow. “There was not much point in dressing up last year, but people are coming in full force with amazing costumes this year.”

The mansion did not hold its usual Halloween party due to COVID, but costume contests and giveaways were still going on. They have even handmade a cocktail especially for the spooky season.

Happy Day Bookshop, the first queer bookstore in Canada, hosted a drag brunch on Halloween, with guests and staff dressed in costume, according to a spokesman.

Toronto’s SteamPunkin, an artistic wagon with an old-fashioned adventure wagon, also traveled down Church Street this Halloween with its crew dressed as Cruella and the Dalmatians.

Instead of holding the traditional personal celebration, the neighborhood found in virtual ways to celebrate this year for those who planned to stay in – including an online Halloween event featuring drag queen Lucinda Miu and Toronto Center councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

“Normally we would get together in the thousands on Church Street, where we would haunt each other and crawl along the street,” Wong-Tam said in a recent video uploaded online by Church-Wellesley BIA.

“I know it’s going to be different. Some of you will choose to stay indoors and some of you will choose to go out – it does not matter.”

“What I want you to do is make sure you have a lot of fun.”

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