News and Events
CMG CBC Toronto Has A Long History Of Celebrating Pride
•  Posted on  June 4, 2021  

By Matt Guerin
Treasurer of Toronto CBC CMG Location Unit

This June marks Pride Month across Canada and in many parts of the world.   It’s a month to celebrate the history, courage, and diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, of which I am proud to be a member. 

Our CBC Toronto location unit of the Canadian Media Guild has a long history of joining in this celebration.  

CBC Toronto at the Pride Parade

CMG CBC Toronto members participate in the Pride Parade in Toronto

Prior to the pandemic, that included regularly participating in the annual Pride Parade in Toronto.  

One of our biggest parade turnouts was in 2014 when Toronto hosted World Pride.  Many guild members will remember carrying our banner down Yonge Street on that hot day and later gathering together for food and drinks to celebrate.  

We’ve also celebrated Pride in other ways over the years.   

Outdoor showcases at Simcoe Park

The band Torrent play at Simcoe Park in Toronto

Mike Nash (centre) introducing The Torrent at one of the Pride showcases at Simcoe Park.

For a few years up to 2011, Toronto CMG member and CBC media librarian Mike Nash organized outdoor music and talent showcases staged in Simcoe Park.  Some key performers included musician Carrie Chesnutt, singer Kal Cheung, the heavy metal band The Torrent, and George Boylan, aka Toronto’s Notorious Drag Queen Georgie Girl, who was introduced that year by Denise Donlon, executive director of CBC Radio’s English-language services.  

Pride event sponsorships

CMG CBC Toronto members in the atrium

Naomi Robinson, Helen Bagshaw, Matt Guerin, Mark Pariselli, Jonathan Nathaniel, Duane Brandow, and Glen Guerin at the CMG 2013 Pride Week LGBT Short Film Festival.

In 2012 and 2013, with the cooperation of the CBC, the local Guild sponsored two Pride short film festivals in the former Graham Spry theatre, which many will remember used to be located just inside the Wellington Street entrance of the Broadcast Centre.  I was very proud to curate the films and organize the festivals both years which were open to the public, highlighting some awesome Canadian and international filmmaking talent.  

Pride Mixers at CBC Toronto

CMG CBC Toronto has also sponsored Pride social mixers either near the CBC building or in the Church Street village in years past.   

In 2020 before the Covid pandemic was declared, we proposed holding for the first time a joint Pride mixer event with outCBC, the CBC Employee Resource Group (ERG) for 2SLGBTQ+ employees.  Unfortunately, the CBC said no to this request.  So instead, the local union made plans to hold its own Pride bbq in June 2020.  

A continued demand for meaningful action

But of course, once the pandemic struck, all such Pride events including the Toronto Pride Parade itself were cancelled for the year.  Instead of celebrating in person, the CMG local did post a history review about how the union was instrumental in gaining rights to same-sex benefits for Canadians thanks to the case of Denis-Martin Chabot.  

2020 was also marked by the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which ignited a renewed push to fight anti-Black racism around the world.  

Since then, the CBC has been showing more sensitivity and compassion in its messaging around issues of anti-racism and inclusion.  CMG CBC Toronto will continue to demand the CBC back up that talk with real and meaningful action.   

The very recent and tragic discovery of the unmarked grave containing the remains of 215 young Indigenous children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School has also triggered horrific memories and inspired new resolve to acknowledge and atone for our collective mistakes and history.   

Both the union and our employers must all do better to promote respect and inclusion and fight all forms of hatred and discrimination.  That awareness and determination must extend to the 2SLGBTQ+ community, both in terms of how we are treated and also how we treat each other.   

There’s much more work to be done.  We will continue to do that work.

While the third wave of Covid-19 finally seems to be dissipating, sadly it’s still not yet safe enough to hold public events to celebrate Pride together this year.  

Nevertheless, our community has much to celebrate.  

On behalf of the entire CMG CBC Toronto location executive committee, I want to wish everyone a Happy Pride!

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